Do you do friendship well?

Recently, I was at an alumni event hosted by Stanford Business School.  The subject matter of friendships was one of the main discussion topics for the evening.  I was very intrigued by the material covered and couldn’t wait to share some of it with you all. Here’s some of what was shared at our event: 

  • Research done by psychologist Dr. Debra Oswald of Marquette University, identified four keys to forming friendships at any age:
    • Self-disclosure
    • Supportiveness
    • Purposeful interaction
    • Being positive
  • Anne Litwin, leadership consultant, summarized the most commonly reported friendship rules, the above and below especially for women:
    • Exhibiting unswerving loyalty
    • Showing trustworthiness
    • Keeping confidences
    • Listening well
    • Airing problems
    • Displaying self-disclosure
    • Practicing equality and acceptance

The above is quite different than the casual lunches and conversations we often have.  Does the above feel overwhelming? Researcher Brene Brown states that it is a myth that you should have more than 2 or so truly authentic friends in life.  Check her out speaking about this in minute 2 and 10 seconds of the second video of this post.

As I processed the Stanford event, I asked myself: Who do I show up with in life, today, as a true friend? Who do I want to show up with in this way?  How is my bandwidth stretched, and in what relationships do I have to be aware of this reality and thus the limitations and the lack of potential for true, authentic friendship?

What can YOU do TODAY:

  • Identify one person you consider a friend
  • Reflect on how you have shown up in the relationship with the following: self-disclosure, supportiveness, purposeful interaction (do you make time for this person?), positivity, loyalty, trustworthiness, listening and acceptance. 
  • Call this person right now.  If you can’t call, then text them or email them right now.  Yes, right now as you are reading this email.  It will take anywhere from 30 seconds (text) to 10 minutes (call).  You know you can make the time.
  • There’s a range of what you can do.  Maybe it’s as simple as just asking them how they are.  Maybe it’s a bit more involved such as suggesting a date for coffee.   

Let me know how it goes!  I would love to hear from you, so please leave a comment or question below.  If you enjoyed this post, I would be honored if you share it with your friends, family, and community.

Lots of love,