A Lifetime of Friendship

finalThanks to everyone for coming to March’s Super Soul.  Below is a summary.

We kicked off the night doing something many of us never thought would ever be uttered out of our mouths.

We went “speed-dating”!

How fun it was to learn more about each and every one of you.

We can spend days, months and even years with our friends and not know the simplest things about them.

  • So, do you snore?
  • How about a party trick?
  • Are you a night owl or an early bird?
  • What makes you laugh?
  • DIY or call an expert?
  • Exploring or lazing on the beach?

It was a refreshingly simple exercise where we each walked away feeling seen, heard and valued.

THE HUNGER FOR WHAT?

After doing these Super Souls for over four years now, the recurring pattern and theme in many of our lives is the hunger for more authentic connection and that loneliness can happen even when we seemingly “know” more people than we can possibly imagine through the power of social media.

Last night’s Super Soul was all about creating and building the strongest community possible.  The one that is “super glued”.  The one where we ALL feel like we belong, are supported, seen, loved and valued.  The one where we don’t have to go and interact with more people but dive into the people and friendships already in our lives.

LEARN

We are taught many things in life but rarely are we taught how to build and develop relationships.

True connection in friendship is where two people both feel seen in a safe and satisfying way.

We learned that three common denominators must be present for a deep friendship:

 

POSITIVITY

The first requirement is positivity.

We don’t wake up wishing we had more people in our lives who sit around complaining all the time.

What we want is to be around people who make us smile, laugh and feel good.

It’s not that we have to put on a “pollyanna” face all the time, we still get to vent with one another but here is what the research says:

Healthy relationships “must have a ratio of 5 positive interactions for every negative interaction”.  

So, for every time you complain or whine about something, you have to counterbalance it with at least 5 deposits of something good.”

Every friendship to withstand the test of time requires that a foundation of positivity first be set in place.

CONSISTENCY

The 2nd requirement of friendship is consistency

Consistency is the hours logged, the history built.

It’s the time spent together.  The rituals, the patterns created and an increase in interaction.

Church, work, school is automatic and consistent.  You aren’t friends with these people because you picked them out of a lineup.  Your friends because of regularity.

You might have the “feel good” moments and fun combined with regularity but until you have the final requirement, it is not a true friendship.  You must have all three requirements.

VULNERABILITY

The third and final requirement is vulnerability.

Where we share, reveal ourselves and let ourselves be seen.

What comes to mind when people hear this is the sharing of the skeletons, the insecurities or shame when it also means the very opposite.  It is also the sharing of what’s going great in our lives, the successes and the bragging rights.

It’s sharing our dreams and our hearts.

It’s being able to articulate what we are actually feeling and then turning around and asking for what we need from somebody else.

“At the end of the day, we all want to feel loved and we only feel loved if we feel seen and we can only feel seen if we actually share ourselves.


EXAMPLE  

We discussed many examples from some friendship research but here is one below that was mentioned and discussed throughout the evening.

She was hanging out with five of her closest friends.

Went around circle and each gave a little update on what life had looked like in the last month

When they got to the 4th person, the person right before the last person’s turn, the subject meandered and went off course.

They never got around to asking their friend what her life had looked like.

Her two-year old bratty self got in the car and said they don’t even want to hear what I have to say..you need better friends.

Her loneliness wasn’t from lack of friendships, her loneliness was because she didn’t feel seen.


slide hTHE KEY TO FRIENDSHIP

These three things of positivity, consistency and vulnerability are the basis of every single relationship you have ever built.

The key to getting better at friendship is how much we practice and reinforce these three requirements of friendship.

When we have high vulnerability, then we feel seen.

When we’ve high consistency, we feel safe.

When we have high positivity, it feels satisfying

To have friendship, it means that we have practiced being vulnerable, shown ourselves, shared our feelings and stories.  Built history together, survived life changes and even found new ways of being together.  And over time, we learned to love each other in meaningful and positive ways.

slide iOUR LIVES DEPEND ON IT

Do you know how important our friendships are?

Our LIVES literally depends on it.  Our very health depends on our connections.

It is why we cannot afford to let this area of our life fail.

       Longevity has been proven by friendships

Dr. Ornish says, “I am not aware of any other factor in medicine than intimacy and love, not that green smoothie in the morning, not smoking, not exercise, not genetics, not surgery,  that has a greater impact on the quality of life, the occurrence of illness and premature death”.

If we feel lonely, it is more harmful than not exercising and twice as harmful as obesity. It is associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, dementia, depression and anxiety.

Some are saying loneliness is becoming the number one public health issue of our time and is of epidemic proportion.

Why is that?

How connected and supported we feel matters to the length of our life.

Our relationships can literally save our lives.

slide jTHE ROOT CAUSE

What researchers are finding is that almost every single major problem has at its roots in the lack of relationships.

This means millions of people may be lacking in one of the 3 skills mentioned above.

For example, the research says that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, it is connectedness.

Look at politics, religion, even business as an example. No one wants to walk out of church feeling unseen or disconnected. What if the demise of businesses is actually a “people problem” because of broken down, unkept relationships.    

slide lWHAT WE NEED TO CHANGE THE WORLD

Before we can show up and make change in the world, we must first PRACTICE IT IN OUR OWN LIVES. 

It can’t be a “point the finger” mentality.

The example we mentioned about, the day the friend was driving home having the pity party of feeling left out, was an epiphany moment.  She realized that she could have handled the situation entirely differently.

Instead of making it someone else’s fault, she could have just as easily spoken up and said, hey before we talk about the next thing, I would love the chance to tell you about the month I’ve had.  Her friends would have, of course, listened.  They did not intentionally try and leave her out of the conversation.

All it would have taken that day if for her to speak up for her own needs and instead, she would have been driving home feeling a sense of connection instead of going home licking imaginary wounds and being mad at her friends.

Friends make mistakes all the time.  At the end of the day, somebody not asking about our life is not one of the three requirements of relationships.

What is one of the three requirements of a relationship is that both people feel seen.

We need to all practice building our “friendship muscles”.

The message of loneliness we receive in our heart, body and minds is a blessing of sorts. It’s our bodies first response, an indicator, that something’s “gotta give”/needs to change and it is up to us to change it.

No shame needed.  It just means a shift of some sort has to be made in our lives.

Guaranteed that any relationship in your life that is not fulfilling it is because at least one of these three requirements is lacking.

You can begin to start identifying exactly which one of these would make the biggest difference in your friendships and choose to make a change by taking responsibility for your own actions and not rely on the “wait for someone else to solve your problems/rescue you” mentality.

slide kTHE IMPORTANCE

Why is this topic of friendship so important to discuss?

The world needs this.

It’s not just for some, it is for ALL.

We need more people building, developing and strengthening their relationships by adding more positivity and vulnerability to each other’s lives on a regular basis. 

It’s for our children, our spouses, our families, our customers, our businesses, our teams, our leaders, our communities.  Every single person out there.

EVERY person deserves to feel seen and valued for who they are.

We are being called to “practice” these skills and build true community within and for each other.

If we do, we can move mountains together because the truth is…

We would do anything for a friend.

Much Love,

Elayne

www.sharingourlifeloveandfood.com

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