Think about how you ended up with the friends you have. Maybe you sat next to each other in chemistry, or you happened to work together for a summer. You might have found out he plays the same video game or maybe she just laughed at all your jokes. Often times it happens pretty randomly, which is a bit scary considering that we end up taking on the attitudes and values of those we spend the most time with.
So the next time you start entering the friend-zone, here are a few ways to avoid picking someone who isn’t a good fit for you.
- Go beyond interests and hobbies
There are many people in the world that share the same interests with you. While those things help strengthen a friendship, they shouldn’t be the foundation for a relationship that will have such a meaningful impact on your life. Ask yourself, what else do I have in common with this person? And perhaps more importantly, how might this person challenge or support me in the future?
2. Don’t let the other person pick for you
We all enjoy the feeling of being liked. So if someone wants to be your friend, it might be tempting to say, “I’m in!” But you should also take the time to consider if it is a good fit for you. If someone is doing all the taking in the relationship while the other person does all the giving, that imbalance will eventually take its toll.
3. Don’t assume a friend of a friend is a friend for you
It may seem reasonable to think that if a good friend of yours introduces you to another friend, you are bond to be a good match. But we are attracted to different people for different reasons, and what works for a friend of yours in a meaningful friendship may not work for you. So it’s definitely worth exploring, but don’t forget to do your homework even if the person comes highly recommended.
4. It’s about quality…and quantity
Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too? Strong, meaningful relationships are what make life worth living. They bring joy, support, and encouragement. But knowing the right people at the right time can also be a great help. So while they don’t all have to be your best friend, maintaining a solid connection with lots of friends can also pay dividends.
5. Reassess regularly
As we know, people change. And that means that a friendship can change as well. Hopefully friends end up growing together, but when they don’t those relationships can be more of a burden then a benefit. So think to yourself, “Why did we start being friends and is that still a part of the relationship?” If it’s not that doesn’t mean it has to be over, but the beauty of friendships is that while they are deep and meaningful, they are also subject to change to ensure that you are getting what you need from those you are closest to.
It may seem like a lot to remember, and you don’t want to overthink it when it comes to relationships. Much of it will of course come from the heart. But knowing how important your friends will be in shaping who you are, it seems worth it to do a bit of homework and pick an all-star line-up, don’t you think?