You can be confident, and love the way you look and feel about yourself, but there will always be people that either say the wrong things, or have bad actions to hurt you that can cause an emotional toll on you mentally. I find that my confidence can result in me having high standards for what I “should” have between relationships and friendships, versus how I should appreciate what I am able to get out of them.
My emotional anxiety can cause me to be all in my head during dates and conversations with significant others where I keep overthinking what I’m saying, and stress about what they think about me. I get upset when friends leave me out, or when I text them, but they don’t reach out, and that makes me feel very alone. The more I think about it recently, is how I’m the problem when my relationships and friendships fail, and how frankly I need a major adjustment.
After a conversation with my mother, along with a few very insightful friends, they all pointed out my flaws when it comes to self-sabotaging relationships with others, and that was a major wake-up call. Obviously, you can self-realize what you do wrong, but hearing it from people you trust, and interact with on a day-to-day basis, they are able to pick up on a lot of things about you. I was able to take their feedback to make major changes in how I approach relationships and friendships, and hopefully they can inspire you too if you may be in a similar situation.
It’s okay to know what you want in a relationship – but be more open to different people.
Oftentimes, we can have very high standards when it comes to romantic relationships. For me along with many people, you may have made a sky long list of traits and qualities you look for in a significant other. Although, after years of dating, and trying to cross off the check boxes with different people, I finally realized how that is just NOT working. I started to really become honest with myself and decide what I really need out of a relationship to make me become a better person, versus what my definition of perfection was. I asked myself deep questions like, “why do past relationships fail?” “what are my faults?” “what would be a good complement to my traits?” and a bunch of others.
We can all obviously have a few ideas of our “type” we look for, but stop dwelling on the looks, and dive deeper into what you need out of a relationship. This has resulted in me really loving the dating process of emotionally becoming more connected to others through trial and error, and seeing what traits and qualities I really like in people, and who I can actually imagine spending my life with.
It’s okay to make the extra effort with people
I always was a social butterfly, but when college hit I realized all my friends were away and strong friendships were starting to weaken. Why were my best friends not texting as often anymore? Why did they hang out without me? I felt very lonely and left out of the equation, until I finally realized that I needed to put more effort into friendships and relationships and make a change of me personally being the one to reach out. I stopped waiting, and took action. I text my friends, old and new, all the time. I make the plans with friends instead of waiting for an invite. I found my social circle started to strengthen along with growing dramatically due to taking this step of making the extra effort.
Be in the moment with people
Ever go on a date or talk to someone you’re interested in, and be entirely in your head? Well, that is me. Despite being confident, I can be a little bit of a worry wart, and constantly think about what I could have said, or try to think of ways to come off better to appeal to the person I was with. This caused me to not be in the moment, and truthfully not be entirely myself. Why should I worry about what I say or what I do, or even what they think about me? I decided to make a pact with myself to be in the moment with everyone whether that be with friends, family, co-workers, or even on dates. I turned my phone off, stopped overthinking, and started to listen more carefully by appreciating the time I would spend with someone. This helped to connect better emotionally, and also strengthen those relationships due to being myself. It’s okay to be quirky and show your real personality because if you aren’t, then you aren’t being true to yourself.
Stop worrying about what you can’t control
Repeat after me: you are not able to turn someone into who you want them to be, it is okay if you and a friend stop being friends for some uncontrollable reason, and it is okay to feel upset about anything. A lot of things in our lives are something we have no power over, and we need to accept that. I can’t turn a boyfriend into who I want them to be by changing who they are, and I can’t get mad that a friend and I part ways. It’s entirely normal to feel lonely, sad, worry, stress, and upset because it is life. The more I put my energy into what I can control and stop worrying about what I can’t, I feel more empowered. It feels great to make a new friend, or meet someone new that I might be able to connect with on a deeper level, go be with friends that I haven’t seen in months, or even ace an interview or test that I prepped for. This is your life, and you are in the driver’s seat.
There are probably a million and one different pieces of relationship and friendship advice out there, but personally the ones I highlighted have greatly helped me over the past few months to make new relationships, strengthen friendships, and also grow to be a stronger, more confident person.
If you personally have any advice on this topic as well, I would love to hear them in the comment section. How do you navigate relationships?