Spring cleaning means a fresh new start! You get to purge what’s holding you back and cluttering things up. You repair what’s broken and take stock of the things that you love and want to keep. You clean up old messes and really take a good, close look at what fresh, new things you can add to make life better.
You’ve probably read tons of articles about clearing out your closet or deep cleaning your bathroom, but the idea of spring cleaning can do good far beyond the tidiness of your home. Have you ever thought about spring cleaning your friendships?
This is our guide to doing it.
START WITH A VISION BOARD:
Get out a journal and answer complete these sentences …
- In a perfect world, my friends feel ____________ after hanging out with me. (what kind of friend are you?)
- In a perfect world, I’d see my friends ____________. (how often?)
- In a perfect world, I wouldn’t ________________ anymore. (bad friendship habit)
- In a perfect world, my friends and I would ____________. (stuff you’d love to do together)
TAKE STOCK OF WHAT YOU HAVE:
Write down the names of the first 5 friends who pop into your head. For each friend, answer these questions. If you answer more “no’s” than “yeses”, put that friendship in the “needs attention & mending pile.” Then set out to change those “no’s” to “yeses!”
- Do I know what ____________ is most excited about right now?
- Do I know what ____________’s biggest challenges are right now?
- Have I helped lift the burden at all?
- Do I spend enough time with / talking to ____________?
- Have I told _________ about the thing I’ve been thinking about constantly?
- Do _______ and I have anything we’re looking forward to together? (this can be anything from “going to the gym together on Wednesday” to “our weekly Skype hangout” to “a weekend road trip.”)
PURGE THE TOXIC, MESSY STUFF:
Sometimes you’ve had crazy fun times with a friend, but the net effect of your relationship is more draining than filling – or you find yourself being less of the person you hope to be when you hang out. Or maybe the friend’s just flaky, self absorbed or manipulative. Either way, I’m giving you permission to detox and step back from those bad friendships.
You’re already probably thinking about a person or two. Here are a few ways to get rid of bad friendships:
- First, try changing the tone. Sometimes our friends are just totally oblivious to the effect they’re having. Does this friend always encourage you to drink more than you’d like to? Invite them to do something outside of your normal “going out for a drink” wheelhouse – like seeing a play, thrift store shopping, taking trapeze lessons or trying out a cooking class. Maybe you’ll be the friend that helps make them a better, more awesome version of themselves. If they’re resistant to doing anything but their tried and true bad habits, you’re free to cut things off.
- Be a straight shooter. The next time that negative thing comes up again, tell them, “We’ve been friends for a while and I want to be able to be honest with you. I’ve noticed __________ come up / happen on a regular basis and that’s not the kind of friendship I’d hoped for … so even though we’ve had a lot of fun, I have to step away if things aren’t going to change.”
- Know that you can’t force a person to change and after you’ve mourned the friendship, let it go and make new friends!
DECIDE WHAT FRESH NEW THINGS TO ADD:
Do you want to be the friend who reaches out first to help celebrate when something awesome’s happened? Look for a chance THIS week to really freak out with a friend over a new job or haircut or for finishing the half marathon. Do you want to be the friend who gives incredibly thoughtful gifts? Create a new, secret Pinterest board to save gift ideas for your friends right when you first hear your friends gushing about them. Do you want to be the friend who lends a listening ear? Call a buddy and just ask questions – make it about them and make sure your friend has a chance to really vent.
Or maybe you realize that you’re lacking in the friend department. Maybe you need an entrepreneur friend who can sympathize with what you’re going through launching your own business. Join an entrepreneur MeetUp! Maybe you’d love a friend to work out with. Strike up a conversation with the lady at the gym who you’ve seen a million times but haven’t spoken to. Make the first move!
Spring cleaning your friendships might get nostalgic, and even a little messy, but you’ll thank yourself for taking the time to really take stock of one of the most important parts of your life: your beautiful relationships.
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