I’ve always had really high expectations for my friends. Sometimes, this leaves me disappointed. But the people with whom I develop real friendships are truly the most trustworthy, compassionate people in the world.
The other day, during a coaching class, the instructor asked a question that gave me pause. She said, “Would you be friends with you?”
Interesting idea, isn’t it? I thought about those high expectations I hold for my friends. And, disturbingly, I started wondering if I actually model those traits myself.
Would I be friends with me? Probably not.
Man, that’s really sad. But it’s also enlightening. That one question helped me pinpoint some specific things that I do to myself that I simply wouldn’t accept from others. If I want to embody the essence of what I love in others, I have some work to do.
I encourage you to ask yourself this same question and consider what it means to you. Below, I’ve outlined a few more questions to help you really “get” what I’m talking about here.
Do you keep promises to yourself?
I can’t stand it when a friend breaks a promise, even if it’s a small one. When we plan on meeting for lunch at 1 and you don’t show up, I’m absolutely livid. And yet, I do this to myself all the time. I tell myself that I’m going to do something—go to the gym, take a class, whatever—and then I don’t show up. What kind of friend would do that?
Do you play fair?
Remember playing board games as a kid and the weird rules some of your friends would try to make up? Around the age of 9, I stopped playing Monopoly with my sister because she made a rule that only she could buy Boardwalk and Park Place (I got to buy the purple ones and the railroads…the worst properties in the game).
No one wants a friend who makes up silly rules, or switches the goals posts halfway through the game. A friend is supposed to help you succeed and celebrate the small wins along the way. Do you do that for yourself? Or do you find ways to make the game harder or make winning less meaningful?
Do you truly have your best interests at heart?
A friend wants what’s best for you. She knows you deserve it. There’s nothing too hard, or too expensive, or too awesome for you. But sadly, many of us don’t think of ourselves with this same perspective. We don’t think we’re worth all that. Do you want what’s best for yourself, no matter what?
Do you treat yourself with compassion?
Do you beat yourself up for tiny mistakes? Do you blame yourself whenever something goes wrong? Do you dwell on “failures” and find all the ways you messed up? A real friend wouldn’t do that. A friend would listen with compassion and love. She would give you honest, thoughtful feedback to help you improve. She would hold you in her arms and remind you that you did your best.
You probably wouldn’t stand for someone else treating you the way you treat yourself. Take this as an opportunity to become a better friend to yourself. Maybe even take yourself out on a little date, just to say you’re sorry for the way you’ve been acting…It couldn’t hurt.
Photo Credit: Evilpeacock (Flickr)