There’s a lot of stuff you can say about friends on what they mean to you, but mostly, friends are your go-to support systems for anything and everything. They say you’re a sum total of the people you hang out with. Which means, your traits, personalities and basically who you are gets defined by the people you associate with. We love our friends but there are certain responsibilities that we often shy away from or don’t take notice of that can be the cause of a detrimental relationship. Here’s a few things to take notes on:
CALLING OUT TOXIC TRAITS
When you’re in a group it’s obvious that you’ll joke about a lot of things. Things that you would probably not joke about or hold lightly in any other social context. Which is why, more often than not, the lines between right and wrong get a little blurry. While light-hearted humour is crucial to take a bit of the load off, it’s also necessary to ensure that some lines are never crossed. Let’s put it into a bit of context. Your friend just experienced a break up. The person’s sad and straight up starts disclosing personal details that their significant other shared with trust. In situations like these it’s your responsibility to point out that your friend is breaching trust and sharing details without consent. A simple calling out in this context, helps your friend understand consent better but also helps them be more sensible in interactions. Other circumstances in this line would be – joking about sexual assault or being sexist to come across as funny, bullying, leaking or sharing privately shared content. You have the responsibility to call out each and every one of these actions as a friend.
Checking up on friends is often a strenuous task amidst busy schedules. However, this is a key responsibility. Notice changes in the patterns of your friend’s behaviour. More often than not, when friends go through mental health issues, they typically aren’t upfront about it in the fear of seeming weak or unable to fit in with the crowd. Slowly, they start opting out from plans and meet ups. Address these issues. A proper approach here would be to not confront but squeeze out details through casual conversations in a personal setting. Set-up stayovers, chill on their rooftop BUT have the talk. Remember to empathise with their situation first and then provide solutions.
ENCOURAGE GOOD HABITS
Adopting good habits is difficult and having a good support system aids a person in their goals faster. Say your friend is trying to cut their nicotine intake or trying to lose weight. In this context, you hold a key goal to ensure that their cravings are cut off. How? It’s hard to break out of herd mentality. It’s likely that if five people in a circle stick to their habits, the person who’s trying to change to adapt to a new habit won’t be able to get rid of it. Now this doesn’t mean you have to cut your habits off just because your friend decided to change. But what you can do is suggest alternatives. Have a hangout at a healthier place to show your support or remind your friend that they have a goal to achieve. This is the easiest way to assure your friend that you’re supportive of their healthy habits.
Yep, just like they show in the sitcoms. This is an effective tool to address a situation as well as show your friend that you love and support them. Where does this apply? Typically when you see your friend has a particular habit or has been acting different in a way that’s detrimental to them and people around them. It’s important to remember that the conversation needs to be honest. You can’t be the saviour and the corrector. Make sure the conversation here is pragmatic, extensive and mostly, non-confrontational.