I’m the youngest of four on my mother’s side and youngest of fourteen on my father’s side so I’ve heard. I kind of grew up as an only child because all of my siblings were much older than I was. The sister right above me I call her sister-mom because she cares for as a mother would their own precious child. I laugh because I am a go getter and initiator, so the roles sometimes switch. I sometimes act like I’m the older sibling. That didn’t change the fact that I was so far from everyone in age. Because I grew up this way I longed for friendship and closeness. Many times, feeling lonely and abandoned especially when the ones near me had lives of their own that didn’t involve me. Yes, I am the spoiled little sister.
So, as I got older, I began to form friendships with other women, and I learned a few things about me. Because I had felt feelings of loneliness and abandonment, I wanted to keep people around even if they were not consistent in being there for me and being a friend to me. It spilled over into romantic relationships as well but that’s not what we’re talking about. Me creating boundaries, showing people how to treat me, and not expecting things from people who didn’t have the capacity to give it to me was key. When I began to exercise those things, I began cultivating much better friendships and having less disappointments. I encourage you today to incorporate these three things into your life so that you too may have healthier friendships.
Boundaries help to hold the people around you accountable for the way they treat you. “When we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated. This is why we sometimes attack who they are, which is far more hurtful than addressing a behavior or a choice.” – Brené Brown. The way you allow people to treat you is the way they will treat you. Speak up for yourself and say something if someone does something that you don’t agree with within your friendship. Put your expectations into perspective. Instead of having expectations of people see where they are and meet them there. For example, if we can only chat and catch up once a month let’s do that. This is not your check in weekly friend. Understand that. Come to grips with it and act accordingly.