All too often, people associate relationships with only romantic pairings. But connection can come in many forms, and good friendships are invaluable. To strengthen your existing ones—or to release those that are no longer thriving—turn to advice from spiritual empowerment coach and Well+Good Council member Kelsey Patel. Her thought-provoking questions will help you make your inner circle as strong and meaningful as possible.
Have you ever heard the phrase “there are friendships for a reason, a season, or a lifetime?” It’s true. Some come and they go, and others really stick around.
Every one of us has likely had a “BFF” that wasn’t quite the forever friend we anticipated them being. But there is a beauty in letting go of the ones we loved and appreciating the time and moments they were there for us.
There is a beauty in letting go of the ones we loved and appreciating the time and moments they were there for us.
If you’re open to trusting that the right people come into your life at just the right time, then you may also be willing to explore where you are in your life and what types of people you’d like to attract towards you. The next friendships you form might be with acquaintances whose energy you like—or with people you haven’t yet met. If you’re someone who has a few friends around and you are questioning how much effort to continue to put into the relationships, answer these questions below:
- When you get a text message from them, do you cringe or feel a little anxious (without noticing!) before opening?
- If something comes up and you have to cancel pre-made plans with this friend, do they get annoyed? Or worse yet, do you feel scared to tell them?
- Do they ever give gifts, even buying you dinner, and make you feel somehow obliged or indebted to them?
- Who initiates hanging out—you or them?
- When was the last time you hung out and they didn’t complain about something in the first 15 minutes?
- Are they a giver or a taker?
- Are you a giver or a taker?
- How do they make you feel about yourself?
- How do you feel when you leave a dinner with this friend? Drained or energized?
- What would be one word you might use to describe your friend?
As you look at your answers, take a moment to see what energy this friend represents to you. Often times, we see a reflection of ourselves in our friendships. If the friend is clingy, it’s good to check in and see why you have such a deep desire to be needed by others. If your friend tends to take you for granted or monopolize the conversation, perhaps it’s a sign that you haven’t been respecting yourself and your needs. Use your friend as a mirror to show you how to make yourself your own number-one priority.
All of the people we surround ourselves with are by choice. If someone doesn’t feel right in your life, it’s up to you to shift it.
For those open to exploring new friendships and being around people who make you feel uplifted, inspired, seen, respected, valued, and loved for exactly who you are, it’s time to get clear on what matters most to you and the type of people you want to start attracting to your life. Remember, some of your most amazing friendships may be ahead of you—but if you’re focused on meeting people because of their job, influence, or material riches, then you’re missing the true, authentic, and real human being in front of you.
For this exercise, pretend you’re already hanging out with these new, fun, inspiring, incredible, and supportive human beings. Make a list of the following:
- How do you feel around these friends?
- What activities are you doing together?
- What qualities do they possess that you are grateful for?
- Does this friend make you feel supported and seen?
- Do they inspire you? How so?
- What matters most to you in these new friendships?
- Do these friends challenge you to be a better and more self-loving version of you?
- What do these friends mirror to you?
Keep in mind: Your vibe attracts your tribe! There will be no friendship that can do self-love for you. If you’re seeking friendship to help you deal with your inner fears, wounds, pains, or sadness, it may be time to do some serious inner work. Friends are there to support, love, and remind us of who we really are. But if you don’t yet know who you are, then your first friendship should be with yourself.
Kelsey Patel is a sought-after spiritual empowerment coach, yoga teacher, reiki healer, and meditation teacher. She is also the creator and founder of Magik Vibes, a soul-enhancing lifestyle brand, the resident reiki instructor for Soho House, and a head teacher at The DEN Meditation and Unplug Meditation in Los Angeles. Kelsey has been featured in publications such as US Weekly, Harper’s Bazaar, and The New York Times.
Make 2018 your healthiest, happiest, and richest yet—with a little help from Well+Good’s (Re)New Year program!