Image by John Hain from Pixabay
Leona Omotayo Frater offers great advice on what real friendship means
When you think of a healthy relationship, what comes to mind? For me, it is a special person in your life that you can depend on whenever you need.
It’s important to have these special people to experience the highs and lows of life with. How boring would it be to go through these periods alone?
Every relationship and friendship develops for different reasons but there are attributes that all healthy relationships share. The most important one for me is trust; trust in keeping your secrets, trust in being a good support and trust in being honest with each other.
Another important part of all relationships is space – I know we love to see our friends all the time, but invasion of personal space can be overbearing. It’s okay to have time to yourself too.
Always, always, always make sure you love yourself before you love others!
Social media can influence relationships since it is such a huge part of our lives now. It is a great tool to maintain relationships all around the world. I can keep in contact with friends and family that live 3,470 miles away – all the way in New York! It has also made it simple to unite those with similar interests: a new way of making friends online.
However, apps such as Instagram – that revolve around the need for validation – can mean that surface level bonds are disguised as true friendships. Gaining more followers and likes is used as a way for self-validation but how many of these could you really call a friend?
Some may have compared themselves to those with more followers, even viewed these people as ‘better’ or more popular. But the number of followers doesn’t define you, nor is it an accurate reflection of true friends that you have.
Dating apps such as Hinge or Tinder are growing in popularity, removing in-person interaction, and replacing it with virtual relationships. But can a virtual connection really compare to a true human-to-human connection?
If you find that you are holding back from being true to yourself then perhaps you should reflect on why this is
Not all relationships are smooth, and many will teach you about others and yourself. I have had friends that would be two-faced, by saying unpleasant things privately then acting ‘sincere’ around me.
Even if the things you have to say are not particularly pleasant, disingenuity is not the best option. Issues should be discussed without sneakiness or disrespect and it’s good to remember that everyone has feelings, so delivery is everything.
If a friend is not treating you as a friend should, it’s okay to say enough is enough!
That being said, my truest friends have been there for me on my lowest days; to be empathetic and provide a shoulder to lean on. It really makes you appreciate these people because they are someone you can cry to and also someone you can laugh your socks off with.
Any person who is in your life should add to it rather than take away from it. I’m not saying it must be 100% perfect, but the positives should outweigh the negatives. Balance and effort from both people is important, as a one-sided relationship is not likely to operate well.
Honesty is valued in all types of relationships, but you must also be honest with yourself to be so with others. If you find that you are holding back from being true to yourself then perhaps you should reflect on why this is.
In an online poll I conducted, 98% of respondents didn’t think enough is done to teach young people about healthy relationships
No one should make you feel as though your true self isn’t enough. Always, always, always make sure you love yourself before you love others!
In an online poll I conducted, 98% of respondents didn’t think enough is done to teach young people about healthy relationships which is shocking. The effects of negative relationships can be deep and long-lasting and education could prevent this.
Schools discuss the topic of relationships in a subject called PSHE (personal, social, health and economic education). Parents could introduce this to children at home to add to the school’s teaching. By providing an open and honest environment, a child should feel comfortable to discuss any relationship issues they may be experiencing.
TV soaps attempt to represent different types of relationships and indirectly give advice on what to do in varying situations. Usually, these episodes are followed by helplines for people who can relate to these situations.
Don’t forget that it is normal for friendships and relationships to have their ups and downs. As long as these qualities are present: trust, honesty, space, support, and genuineness.
Having a great relationship (whether that be a good mate or partner) is something you will cherish.
Leona is a BA Psychology graduate from Roehampton University. She is currently a teaching assistant in a primary school. She loves reading, cooking and music. She plans to write a children’s book one day.