I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts lately, about relationships and how we succeed and fail at them. Not intimate relationships, but friendships, the family you choose. Here’s some of the many things I’ve learned. 

If you want to take your friendships to the next level and create a safe space for everyone to grow and thrive, you need to bring these qualities to the table:

1. Authenticity: Keeping it real. Being authentic means being your true, unfiltered self. Show your friends the real deal – the good, the bad, and also the wonderfully hilarious. Embrace your strengths, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities. Let your friends see the real you, fart in front of them, and give them permission to do the same. That’s how you create a space where acceptance and understanding can kick it. If you’ve spent ages pretending to be someone you’re not, or if the real you has got lost in the Instagram filter fakery we see, you may find it a huge relief just to be you. Try it and see. Remember most of what we see on social media is not real life. It’s a chosen version of you to put out to the world. If it’s filtered it’s not truly authentic.

2. Empathy: It’s all about feeling the feels, my friends. Empathy is like the secret sauce that makes friendships go from 0 – 60mph. It’s opening your ears, making it less about you, and giving the floor to someone else. Take the time to understand and share in your friends’ emotions and experiences. Put on your active listening ears, seek to understand, and give them the virtual high-five for their willingness to share. It might feel hard to begin with, but the investment and effort you put in will help that bond flourish. Show them that you care, and be there for them no matter what. No judgement. That’s how you build that deep connection and keep the friendship flame burning bright.

3. Vulnerability: Now, I know vulnerability sounds scary, wu wu and touch feely, but trust me on this one. It’s the key to building those real and intimate friendships. It’s all about being open and honest about your fears, insecurities, and struggles. When you let yourself be vulnerable with your friends, you create a safe space where trust and intimacy can thrive. It’s like a secret handshake that says, “I trust you, and I’m here for you.” So don’t be afraid to show your true self and let your friends do the same. That’s how you take your friendship to a whole new level. This sounds like authenticity. Authenticity requires practice. Vulnerability takes courage, it puts you open to being attacked or ridiculed—and courage feeds off of vulnerability. An authentic person shows vulnerability. The relationship between the two is inextricable.

If you feel your friendships are missing these ingredients then maybe it is not a real friendship at all, more of a situationship. These happen all the time, and we are sucked into the idea of the friendship but the reality is much more superficial. These are still truly valid connections and you will learn or teach something to that person. It just may not be a life long bond. Again that’s fine, and you’ll know when it has ended. 

So there you have it, my friends. My take on authenticity, empathy, and vulnerability. They are the qualities that can take your friendships to the next level and create a safe space for everyone to grow and thrive. So go out there, be your hilarious self, fart a bit, and watch your friendships become totally magic!

Lots of love