One of the biggest impacts that we have in our lives are the friendships that we make. Each friend represents a different part of us which challenges us to become a better person. All friendships vary; some friendships last for a lifetime. However, some are only in our lives for certain periods of time. Relationships teach us things about ourselves, both good and bad, and make us realize what we look for in a friendship that enables us to grow. By choosing to become friends with someone voluntarily, we allow ourselves to be surrounded with people who will encourage us to develop as a person. Three main qualities that people look for when building a friendship are having someone to talk to, depend on, and to enjoy. Friendship is about growth and, in addition to developing as an individual, having relationships with others who can help you through the hardships you face in life. Friendship is something no one should ever take for granted. In some of the principles Living Full Out teaches, you can learn to know what to look for and how to find positive influence from people in your every-day life.

When thinking about friendships, we need to surround ourselves with people who are compatible and comfortable with how we are. Focusing on the principle of reading the road signs, we learn how it is important to have a good judge of character. When focusing on discernment, we try to find the people we surround ourselves with those who will encourage us to grow. We want to try and find friends that will be a positive influence in our lives, but we also need to be able to read one another. Learning the characteristics of a friend, knowing if they are more quiet or chatty at certain times, contributes to how compatible of a relationship you and a friend share. Knowing specific traits, we would be able to HELP our friends open up when they are lost and can encourage them to be themselves as we hope they would do for us. In order to share a strong bond with someone, we have to gain as well as portray the amount of trust you are willing to put into a relationship.

When choosing your friends, try to pick ones that will inspire you and will make a positive difference in your life. Being a great person and finding other encouraging people to surround yourself with is crucial when creating new opportunities in your life. You want to be surrounded by people who support you and who you can rely on when needed. Experiencing success and being able to share it with others is freeing. Looking beyond your own needs will bring you closer to your community and will give you the opportunity to be a leader to them. When making a positive impact on someone, it is usually while sharing a couple of laughs while also integrating some serious conversations so that you have the best of both worlds. Friends are meant to challenge you and help you grow as a person. They are also there for advice. Having the support of a friend in any life decision you make will help you feel more comfortable and stable with your decisions. We tend to overlook making the right choices for ourselves, but our friends can be the ones who lead us from making flawed decisions.

Another principle that we should try to incorporate into our lives is letting life layer. We are uncertain about what is going to come across our paths, but whatever the instance, we have to let it happen. There may be times where we argue with our friends, either over a little or significant topic, and we can learn from the situation by avoiding or preventing it. Sometimes the arguments we have can show us that we can be, and it is alright to be, in the wrong in given situations. By accepting that you can be mistaken, you learn something new about yourself in order to teach yourself a lesson. Every friendship we have will challenge us differently and the ones that challenges us most best encourage our growth.
Another way that we let life layer is how certain relationships are maintained in our lives. We could have an amazing relationship with someone, but maybe at a certain point, we need to let them exit our lives when their impact is no longer positive. Learning from experience is what will aid us when working towards friendship growth, and we will learn to let life layer and thank the friends we have lost for allowing us to better understand ourselves and others. We constantly have the freedom to choose to be independent or dependent on others; it is up to us to choose which people are worth being reliant on.

As time goes on, we have to try and continue to celebrate life even under the circumstances of losing the life of a friend or even a loss of a friend from our lives. One thing we should try to do is celebrate all of the memories that were once shared and think of all of the positive times that you experienced together. There may be some memorable moments that we try to forget for the better, so try and let them go with the person you lost. Surround yourself with positive memories, as well as people, to encourage you that life is worth celebrating. Even though you may have lost someone who you cared about, there are so many new possibilities out there and people for you to meet. Trying to replace someone is too extreme and unnecessary, but share with others how that person made you feel and carry on the life that they once had.

Try to avoid letting the loss of one friend ruin your relationships with others, but learn to go to them when you need support. What tends to make a friendship strong is communication, and by always having someone to fall back on, it will help you become less stressed by being able to express yourself without any boundaries. Be grateful for the connection you had with a lost friend and be at peace with how things are planning out in your life right now. Life is full of ups and downs, we just have to learn to face them and see who will be there when they happen.
What we need to also realize is how grateful we are for each friendship that we make. Our relationships can be both healthy and unhealthy, but those who stick around to see you improve in life are the friendships you need to hold close to. We learn a lot from the people that we choose to surround ourselves with and it is always beneficial to see things happen both the right and the wrong way. There are many different outcomes when forming friendships, but we always learn something new which we shouldn’t take for granted. Be grateful simply because you can and by doing so, your outlook on life will be more positive when you realize how many wonderful things you are living for.

Friendships are made up in all different ways. It is a privilege to have people that we can trust with all of our thoughts and emotions when needed. We may think that we know what is always best for us, but really, sometimes it is better to have the opinion from the outside looking in. Some things that make relationships fragile are also characteristics that make them flexible. You have to be willing to alter any friendship when you think it needs changing and you have to be willing to accept change. Keep recreating friendships and you will have bonds that will last you lifetimes.

By embracing each moment, you need to learn to live here in the present. Create friendships that will let you grow and that will help you live. Every opportunity in life should be taken advantage of; we need to learn to put our happiness first and embrace change. If the change we face is the friend group you spend your Saturday nights with or the friends you go to lunch with on your break at work, at least you are trying to have a diverse community surrounding you. We may have a couple of friends that are our go-to people, but it is always a pleasure to find ourselves in new company. Embrace what is happening in the present and learn how to be a better person from the people you surround yourself with. Everyone in your life exists right now, so take advantage of every moment that comes your way.

Friendship means being able to have people that you can easily rely on. Having friends that are trustworthy and will be able to be there for you always is a must. Friends may fluctuate throughout your lifetime, but having one by your side when you are in need really makes a difference. You may disagree with your friend’s decisions, but your choices might be overlooked as well. It may even go unrealized that we are going through a hard time until a friend confronts us on how we are feeling. We can also think that we are always in control of our lives, but there is always a curveball that can hit us and is unexpected. As we develop both on our own and with friendships, try to find the people who will constantly encourage you to Live Full Out.

Contributing Author: Danielle Abram