Friends maybe more important than family. This is the conclusion Amanda Macmillan reached in Time. I tend to agree with her and with Jess C. Scott, who, in The Other Side of Life, wrote that: “Friends are the family you choose.”
They are the people you:
• Share your thoughts and plans with
• Rely on to help you in need and help them when they need it
• Have fun with
• Talk about your problems with
They get into your inner circle with time, as you get to know them and confide in them. No matter what determines you to trust them, there are certain things you cannot and should not negotiate. If you do not pay attention to them and impose them from, the start, they could end up ruining your friendship.
Things You Should Not Negotiate When Allowing Others Into Your Inner Circle
If you’re going to share sensitive information, you need to know it will not be shared with anyone else or used against you. For that, you have to make sure your friends see you the way you see them, and they care about you the way you do about them. This takes time, observation, and even tests.
However, it is worth it. Just imagine what would happen if you poured your soul to someone and they went and talked about it with someone else. Imagine entering a room joyful and seeing people look at you with compassion, content, or sheer curiosity.
“A true friend stabs you in the front.”(Oscar Wilde)
Make sure the people you allow in your inner circle are loyal and make it clear to them that you do not tolerate betrayal. If they think they can get away with anything, they may actually betray you when it’s convenient for them, or the opportunity arises.
There are probably some things you want to keep secret or share on your own terms. A good friend will understand that and will not invade your privacy. They will wait for you to find the confidence and courage to share, to choose the right time and place to do it.
They will hold your hand and reassure you of their willingness to listen and help, but they will not force you to disclose anything or dig into your private matters to find out by themselves. True friends will not ask uncomfortable questions or rush confessions you are not ready to make.
Friendship reveals secrets and opens doors with patience and confidence, not by force.
However, just to be sure, when allowing people into your inner circle, let them know you care about your privacy and they should respect it. When they touch a sensitive subject, let them know you are not ready to discuss it. Don’t play mysterious and don’t try to change the subject. Just be honest.
Friendships should be based on communication in all its form. Just because you like the way someone looks, talks, or behaves, does not mean they are fit to be your friends. Just because someone praises the things you say or do, does not mean they are or want to be your friend.
Your decision to allow someone into your inner circle should be attributed to how well you and that person communicate. You should be able to do it using words, looks, and gestures, without doubting even for a second that the other person did not understand the message.
Friends talk without words and get messages before you send them!
If you’re not on the same page, try to make it there. If you can’t, perhaps that person does not belong in your inner circle. Lack of communication at this relationship level can cause trouble. It may be better to take things slow, build trust and bridges, and only invite people in when all communication issues are solved.
4. Friends and Family
No matter how much you love your friends, you should never have to choose between them and your family or other friends. True friends will never try to push you away from your loved ones. On the contrary, they will try to bring you even closer.
True friends enlarge and consolidate families; they don’t tear them apart.
To avoid situations in which your new friends interfere between you and your loved ones, make your priorities clear from the start. Remember your duties and responsibilities, and do not neglect them. Real friends will understand and support you. Those who don’t probably don’t belong in your inner circle.
Just remember that friendship takes regular face to face contact. You can’t expect people to be there when you need them or have nothing to do, and simply disappear when you have other things planned. You have to invest in your friendship, and provide the support and care you expect.
Respect is something we earn and may lose. It should be a prerequisite in our relationship with anyone entering our inner circle. If you have doubts, just imagine what happens if you put your life in the hands of someone who doesn’t respect you. You surely don’t see people you don’t respect as friends, do you?
Respect among friends means more than politeness or admiration. It means accepting decisions and supporting actions you don’t agree with. It means encouraging dreams you don’t share and wiping tears you would not shed. It means embracing without judging.
When you respect someone, you don’t hold them back. You trust they will succeed and still back them up!
In other words, only allow people you respect in your inner circle, and, when you do, make sure they respect you and your decisions. You don’t need people telling you what to do or making decisions in your place. You need people who will support you or, when they disagree with your actions, express their disagreement without raising obstacles.
Final Words about Negotiating Access to Your Inner Circle
The people you let into your heart or life should be special and should see you as such.
• Love you and accept you for who you are, criticize you when you make mistakes, and congratulate you when you succeed, without trying to change you or going behind your back.
• Talk and listen with an open heart and no ulterior motives.
• Give you freedom, time, and space, and hold your secrets without prying.
• Want to see you happy with your loved ones, not alone and miserable, be part of your life, not take it altogether.
• Help you turn your dreams into reality and move forward, even when forward means far from them.
Have you discussed these non-negotiables with your friends? If you haven’t, perhaps sharing this post with them will help draw their attention. If there are any other non-negotiables you’d like to add to the list, don’t hesitate to share them in a comment!
Until then, I hope the above lines will help you confirm and consolidate your friendships and bring a smile on your lips for knowing your inner circle is formed of true friends, people worthy of your time, respect, and care.
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