The misconceptions we hold about others can often put strain on all relationships. The same is true about friendship. It has been noted that people’s expectations of friendship change drastically over time and context. What is expected of a friend as a child or teenager is often vastly different from that of an adult!
Friendships, like any other form of relationships, experience their ups and downs. It’s unrealistic to expect the dynamic of a friendship to remain the same over time, as humans are social beings which change dynamically all the time. You need to ask yourself: do my friend and I hold the same expectations about our friendship? If not, how do they differ?
It’s crucial to be open about what you want out of a friendship. Often, we are open about our expectations within other relationships, so why shouldn’t this be the same case with friends? At the same time, one must maintain a degree of flexibility. Consider rephrasing your “they have to…” statements into “I would prefer if they…” statements. Be mindful of your self-imposed rules or beliefs about friendships.
Being overly critical about yourself and others is counterproductive. By contrast, holding honest and open expectations is key to maintaining close, genuine friendships. We recognise that it can be difficult to seek help regarding challenges to friendships, as key support people in our lives may not have access to knowledge about said friendships. This is why the key to lasting friendships lies in yourself.
Remember: Be upfront, be honest, hold realistic expectations, and be considerate of everyone’s needs!