Who Are Your Real Friends? The Difference Between Friends and Associates
Last year, I burned myself out from cultivating (so many) new relationships at once. Although I enjoy connecting with others, I found myself drained trying to keep up with new and reoccurring relationships.
Because my love language is quality time, I wanted to show people I was building with that I support them. I wanted to be there for them. I recieve and give love through my dominant lovw languages; quality time and words of affirmation. This means that all I need is qualty conversations and undivided attention, dats it! This looked different from person to person. But after trying to sit and talk with so many people, I was drained. Not only was it an unrealistic expectation, it was unfair to me.
Steve Harvey inspired me to make an inventory of the important people in my life. In conjunction with the life cleanse Tumblr post. I went on to delete contacts from my phone.
For me, declutter means to clear my physical and mental space which has been something I did before minimalism was thing. But whhen it came to making an inventory of the people in my life, I raveled in clearing my phone’s contact list, I made two lists to help me to do that:
List 1 Includes. Blood Relatives, my partner, and friends
List 2 Includes: Folks who are in my academic, professional network (who I communicate with regularly) and new associates whom I want to become my friend.
The critearia for who was on list 1 helped me be clear on who I'm dedicating my time and energy to. When deciding what a friend was, I asked myself a few questions:
Do I speak regularly or consistently with this person?
Are they among my last 10-20 text message conversations?
If I needed help would/can I call them?
If I needed someone to talk to, would I call them?
Am I comfortable being vulnerable with them?
Do they consider me a friend?
Do we spend time communicating off social media platforms? (in person, text message, phone call, etc)
Do they meet me half way?
Do they make feel happy, safe, comfortable?
Do I enjoy their company?
How long have I known them for? Is our relationship consistent from that date?
The first 5 questions were the MOST helpful in deciphering between a friend and an associate. It was a no brainer and streamlined the process. The first 5 questions helped me to shape my definition of a friend. It became complicated when I thought of the potential of a relationship verse the reality. And when I wanted the person to be my friend although they weren’t acting like they wanted to be a friend. It became complicated, identifying those people who I once called friends, what they were, associates.
In my journey through decluttering my phone’s contacts and un-syncing my email contacts from my phone. I discovered that I have more associates than friends. I was also able to recognize new friends that I considered associates, even though I checked everything off the list.
In the process, I became more clear on who I wanted to continue to build with. I felt the heavy expectation lift. I became clear that associates have the potential to become a friend but they should not recieve the same benefits as a friend. Also, that potential does not equate to reality. I also found it liberating to do this FOR ME. I’m writing about it not to identify whose on my inventory list but to share the liberating journey I had from simply deleting contacts from my phone.
I also asked myself hard questions that I wanted to share with you all. But identifying whose a friend, I've been able to preserve my energy becuase my time is designated to the people on my list. That is Self-Care 101. My long winded, but practical list for identifying friends leads to the journey of decluttering your phone contact list. There's nothing cute about having 100s of numbers in your phone that you cannot call for help. All of this translates into setting healthy boundaries for myself and checking in with my needs, first.
I hope this was helpful in some way shape or form. Have you ever decluttered your phone? Deleted apps, text messages, voicemails? What do you think of decluttering? Do you think its important to clear your mental and physical space? Do you have other practical ways to declutter, share in the comments below.