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Friendship: The Need for Change

By Andrew Burgon / phoenix@projectfellowship.com
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October 23, 2013

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Image credit: kwest19 / 123RF Stock Photo

Poor Habits, Bad Attitudes and Undesirable Characteristics

 
I recognized a need for change in my life and I made some adjustments accordingly. My friendship situation has changed because I have changed. Be yourself is good, sound advice. I only want to be around people who can accept me the way I am. However, I think many people would benefit if they took the time to be a little more introspective and to consider if there is anything hindering them in their pursuit of friends.

Some people unknowingly are being buried by their own social inadequacy. If you feel frustrated in your search for friends ask yourself this question, “How am I responsible for my lack of good friends?” Dwell on it for a while and ponder your lifestyle, habits, beliefs and attitudes. Below are a dozen things to consider.

Socializing With Too Few People

This is one thing in particular that couples may have a problem with. They may end up doing a lot of things by themselves. Get into the habit now and then of inviting some friends to see a movie, go to a restaurant or some other activity. If you really want a decent group of friends you need to position yourself right smack dab in a stream of humanity.

Limited Boundaries

Some people do not go outside the immediate circle of people they work with or do some kind of activity with. As I will point out later the search for good friends is a numbers game. By limiting yourself to a small group of people you are probably greatly hampering your goal to find better friendships.

Make an effort to look for friends beyond these boundaries. Think about what your hobbies and interests are and join a club or group of people who regularly meet together.

Dead End Socializing

Dead end socializing is when you continually socialize with people who are just not responding well to you. You may feel like you don’t fit in and are overlooked. That no one cares. I have done way too much of this in my life. Provided you’ve made a decent effort to befriend these people whom you like I believe that if it’s just not working out it’s time to set sail and move on in your friendship search.

I think in terms of opportunity cost. Am I really going to spend quality time with these people when I could be using that time meeting up with new people some of whom I may become good friends with?

Characteristics

Think about all your negative interactions you’ve had with people over the course of your life. Does it reveal anything about you? Is there anything you can conclude about yourself?

When I was going through my “What’s wrong with me?” phase I came to the conclusion that I was a bit of an odd ball and perhaps a dork, a social misfit. At times I would say or do things that were a little odd. I made a mental note of this and was able to reduce the occurrences of these odd actions of mine.

Odd Behavior & Speech

One thing I’ve noticed is that people who exhibit odd speech and behavior are not tolerated so well in this world. A grating laugh, strange body language and voice and the habit of talking too loud with someone in the presence of other people. Excessive talking sprinkled with weird statements and overly expressive faces can put people off as well.

If you suspect you are odd make a mental note of it so that you become more aware of it. When it happens try to neutralize it by correcting yourself right away in the presence of those people who heard you or saw you do something odd. “That was silly. What was I thinking! I mean …” .

Check out some videos that you are in. Anything odd? I use to run my fingers through my hair but I noticed the way I did it seemed to be a little effeminate and this only confirmed what someone once said to me.

Uptight People

Do you find yourself getting angry or upset a lot in a wide range of situations? Are negative remarks often coming out of your mouth? Do you often react to others around you instead of responding calmly? If so, you are in danger of annoying people to the point where they will make a negative mental note concerning you. Don’t put yourself into situations that are going to cause you to be this way.

Overly Opinionated & Critical

Several years ago I knew a co-worker who was very opinionated and critical. She stepped on a number of toes while she was working with us. It got so bad that some of my co-workers would avoid her as much as possible. In fact, when I went around one day to have them sign a get well card for her people were reluctant to sign it!

Someone else I know is very critical of movies. So much so that a mutual friend of ours made a mental note not to go see movies with this person. Being overly opinionated or critical can drive people away from you. If you are like this monitor what you say. Is it overly negative and critical? Stop it!

Frustrated & Impatient

With some people it’s their frustration and impatience that can cause them friendship problems. It can cause them to say rude things or act rashly. If you’re like this wait at least 24 hours before you respond to someone who made you angry. You might like to talk about what’s bothering you with another friend or two beforehand. This can help reduce the negative emotions you feel. Double scan anything you write to someone you feel angry at. Be firm if need be but be careful with the tone of your written communication and avoid writing anything inflammable. Ask yourself, “Am I going to regret this later?”

Making Fun of Someone’s Shortcomings

Some people seem to enjoy rubbing someone’s nose into something odd they’ve done or said. This will also cause people to make a mental note concerning you.

Sloppy Social Habits

Being unreliable socially by being constantly late or having a reputation for cancelling at the last minute may effect the number or kinds of invitations you get. If you are usually late 30 to 60 minutes you may find friends not inviting you to events that require people to be on time like dinners and movies.

Excessive Talkers

Excessive talking can be annoying, tiring and overwhelming to the listener especially if they are trying to concentrate. Few things are worse in the office than someone who constantly rants and raves while you are trying to do work. Even worse is playing a 4 hour board game with people who feel they must fill up every moment with endless banter about their personal life, a running commentary of the game and even thinking aloud! Please, give me a break!

Without realizing it when you leave people may be breathing a collective sigh of relief. They may have second thoughts about including you in certain kinds of activities. It’s funny that people who are excessive talkers often know they are and openly admit to it but do nothing about it.

I Give Up

Having the wrong belief or attitude can be crippling. Are there any that are holding you back from having the kind of friendships you want? There is one particular attitude you should abandon quick smart. It’s I give up on trying to find decent friends.

One of the problems with harboring a poor attitude is that you give off the wrong vibes. People are easily discouraged and you will seal your fate.

The Loner

When I was growing up I was sometimes a loner. I’m not sure why I had such low-self esteem. It may have been partly due to the stammer I had back then which crippled my speech till my mid-twenties. I remember at times being reluctant to say anything knowing full well my stammer would make me sound like a bumbling idiot. I also remember looking at other people and the friends they had and feeling envious.

In year 10 I would sit by myself in the playground because I thought no one would be interested in being with me. Thankfully, my new classmates made me feel welcome and accepted.

If my son ever becomes a loner I will take him to the park that has lots of children playing and say to him, “Wouldn’t you love to have a group of friends that you belong to? Who like you, accept you as you are and desire your company. Are you willing to do what it takes to have those kind of friends? All you need is to have courage, take the initiative with people and let go once and for all the belief that no one will be interested in you. It’s stinking thinking! A lie. A LIE. Look at all those kids out there. You are just as deserving of friends as they are. Some of them would welcome your attempt at befriending them.”
 
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