Have you ever had a group of friends with whom you were very close and over the years became distant? Maybe you had a friend who was your best friend and with certain arguments, events, or others involved, it resulted in trust being lost. Did you ask yourself, “what happened or how did this happen to us?” We have friends we have known for a very long time and some a short amount of time. We find friends in all aspects of our life from work, to those we go out with, in school or an organization, and chance meetings when connections are made. Yet, the bigger question lies not in WHERE to find friends or how do friendships last, but what to do once friendships begin to shift and change? The common themes of trust, connection and commonality, communication, and care are some pieces of the puzzle.
I took time this week to go back, watch the very first episode of Season 3 to see where we came from in all the friendships and changes we witnessed at the end. Let me enlighten you in the dramatic shift. You will be as shocked as I am in what transpired. The highlights are below.
Stephanie and Brandi continue to heal their ongoing friendship throughout the season, even though they may be seen as friends with others.
D’Andra and LeeAnne began as friends with some challenges brewing. As we know, the drastic opposite has resulted.
Brandi and LeeAnne started with no positive relationship and actually functioned best by avoiding each other. By the end of the season, they have become aggressive and revengeful with each other.
Stephanie and LeeAnne began with a lack of trust or communication. As they moved forward in the season, they bonded over their pasts with depression and familiarity with suicide. They continued toward a friendship and supportive conversations. Stephanie doesn’t condone LeeAnne’s behavior and actually will keep her accountable for her words and actions, if you notice.
D’Andra and Brandi were arguing as the season opens from blog stories written by D’Andra which were shared about Brandi’s alleged “drug misuse” of Adderall and other negative things. The relationship changed dramatically to that of great friends. Interesting how connection and commonality can alter things. It doesn’t even matter what they had in common, but we all know it was FUN!
D’Andra and her mom, Dee, moved dramatically in their relationship from severely negative to overwhelmingly positive once trust and appreciation is openly shared. The loving exchange of needs in the relationship and the forgiveness was overwhelmingly felt by all who watched. I am very happy for them both as they set off on new journeys of life.
Why is this important to discuss insights on this week? All relationships change regardless of the length of time you have known someone or how close you were together. It can take a little or as much difficulty to destroy as it can enhance, too. As we have heard at part one of the reunion show, some “housewives” have known each other for a very long time. All relationships need nurturing during the negative times and even in the positive ones.
One strategy I find supportive of others in their relationships is to realize you will not move the challenges from negative to positive, so quit expecting that to occur. You will want to focus on creating a shift from negative to neutral, then from neutral to positive if possible. You also will not be able to have the same type of relationship you did previously, it will be different, sometimes even better and healthier. As you watch in Stephanie and Brandi’s relationship, it isn’t the same and neither are they. But their relationship is so much better and closer.
How do you begin to heal and move past the hurt and anger? Here are a few steps on the path.
Listen more than you share your own side. Listen with your heart more than your mind. Our minds are always creating answers more than hearing the feelings and emotions behind the actions.
Find a commonality connection you still have together and design a “one step” intention on the direction you can walk together.
Communicate with positive language only to each other and about each other. When you begin to use a negative statement, have a code word the other person uses to bring a reminder of positives only. Keep others out of the conversation. This is about you both, not what others think about it. Less “she said, she said” happening and gossip resulting.
Allow your actions to speak louder than your words is a powerful adage. Your behavior and theirs will be the proof as you move from negative to neutral. You want to be trusted, show how you can be trusted. You want to have a great friend or relationship, BE ONE.
Keep expectations at a pace you can feel comfortable as you bring trust back into the relationship. Spotlight and create the small trust-building actions along the way instead of the overall big ones which will take time. If you move too quickly, you may create a fear reaction when things don’t appear “perfect”.
Will this work for any relationship? No. Sometimes relationships will move from negative to neutral and not move forward to positive. This is ok. Acknowledge the value of the person in your life. Other relationships will not be able to make the shift. Celebrate each of the positive steps forward for both of you and the transition will be part of your “story” forever.
Now back to our “housewives” this week as they finish up the red hot reunion. We will be watching to the stopping point for these relationships, at least for this season!
Until then...Stay Tuned!
Want to talk about relationships with someone who understands and can “walk” with you? Reach out and get started on your own journey! Let’s get you from negative to neutral and possibly on to positive!
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