Let’s be honest: There is no such thing as ‘Just Friends’, in fact, the people who you choose to be your confidants and spend your time with are very important people.
They are the ones who you trust, who you share your victories and failures with and they are the ones who you fully expect to have your back at all times and its all mutual.
There is an inner scale of friendship, that we all adhere to whether we admit to it or not and it runs from acquaintances, friends, good friends, close friends, to best friends, which we use to establish the level of connectivity, and vulnerability we display around each respective friend label.
(Am I wrong? Didn’t think so)
You know how awesome your friends are, the decisions you both make to ensure your relationships grow happily, and the level of deep trust that you are consistently nurturing ( especially your BFF’s) so is it any surprise that these people who you have chosen to be in your inner sanctum highlight the standards to which you must hold your romantic partner?
Nope, that makes sense!
Afterall the people you have bestowed the honour of ‘good friends’ and ‘best friends’ are relationships that are near and dear to your heart always… so why wouldn’t the person you are having sex with and linking lives not have similar qualities and show signs of care?
There is absolutely no reason.
The following are the five ways in which your BFF’s are setting the standards for the kind of behaviours and beliefs your partner should embody!
Your close friends and best friends will support you through thick and thin, they do not put you down, nor do they criticize your efforts.
Your best friends love you for the good, bad and the ugly and this comes from both of you putting in mutual effort into your friendships.
This level of support is a product of making a decision to learn who each other are honestly, comes from lots of communication on silly and important things, it comes with building up trust and ‘vibing’ together.
Your BFF is the first to call you back from the brink of destruction, and be your biggest, loudest and fiercest cheerleader when it comes to you following your dreams and building the healthiest lifestyle for yourself.
He/she is also the person who knows your quirks, crazy habits and still loves you unconditionally. They are the people you can feel the love from and they fit easily into your life!
When it comes to expecting this kind of understanding from your partner, Kim Panganiban, LMFT, Certified Gottman Therapist, notes, “You want a partner who is interested in you, admires you, and supports you emotionally. Your partner should also honor your dreams and work toward creating a sense of shared meaning with you”.
Your friends are important in times of crisis, whether it be personal, financial or work related.
Real quick, how many times have you been having an awful day and the only person able to make you smile was your BFF?
Or he/she was the person who when you called, helped you through the crisis to the best of their ability? Your BFF is reliable, creative and tries for you.
The truth is your BFF will never leave you curled up on the couch in pain and suffering, unless it is to go buy you medicine.
Author of “Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder” Arlin Cuncic, MA, notes, “Friends are especially important during times of crisis and turbulence. If you find yourself going through a hard time, having a friend to help you through can make the transition easier”.
So when you think about it and you know that your friend would go to the end of the Earth to ensure you are taken care of and safe, then why would you accept anything less from your significant others?
“This person is supposed to be your better half, the one who you choose to spend your whole life with, and the one who you’re ready to be there for, through sickness and in health,” says Jan Magallon on Vocal.
Your partner just like your best friend will also have to be one of the people who you feel safe enough to call in a time of crisis and know that they have your back, and keep you safe.
Your best friends can be very positive influences in your life, and help you to boost your self esteem and your health.
Having at least one person you know you can rely on, will help build your confidence more.
Having a person, who genuinely wants you to be healthy, happy and make positive decisions, is a boost to your own health and lifestyle, because as we are highly social animals, that deep, genuine affectionate relationship will help you to be very healthy and live a much more positive life.
“If you make friends with people who are generous with their time, help others, ambitious, or family-oriented, you are more likely to develop those values yourself.Having positive relationships with these types of people will also improve your social functioning in general,” Arlin Cuncic, MA, notes.
“[…] if you have at least one friend, you will be more likely to get out and start doing things. That friend may also suggest activities that you would not have considered on your own—thus, pushing you outside your comfort zone to challenge your anxiety,” she continues.
When it comes to romantic partners, the case is very much the same.
You and your partner should have each other’s best interests at heart and demonstrate your love for each other frequently and naturally, so the bond continues to be reinforced.
Your close friends and especially your best friend all know and love your level of goofiness.
They are the ones who will have been exposed the most to your quirks, the things you absolutely nerd out over, know well your sense of humour and the reason they know these possibly embarrassing things about your personality is because they have earned your trust and you feel safe enough to let all of your true self be on full display.
There is no need to impress or hide who you are from your friends, because they whether consciously or subconsciously accept you as you are.
When it comes to your partner, we tend to try to hide many aspects of ourselves, thinking some of them may be too extreme or unattractive for him/her to discover.
However, if this person is really your person, the person who you want to share your life and love with, then wouldn’t it make sense for them to also love your goofiness and the aspects of you that are the foundation for who you essentially are?
Be yourself always and those who are supposed to be in your life will be.
Let us talk about sex.
Your BFF is a person you can change clothes with in the same room if you felt comfortable enough or if you don’t, will not be offended if you ask them to give you space to change.
This is a trait that is still very, very important in a romantic partner, regardless of if you are having sex with them or not.
The real concept I’m getting at here is consent and the respect for your personal boundaries.
Just as your BFF will not hesitate to respect your boundaries of comfort, personal space and preference, so too must your romantic partner.
Romantic relationships are not built on sex; instead they are actually built on the nurturing of similar value systems.
In spending time with friends, your bond grows through great conversation, heartfelt caring, support and having real fun with each other.
They are the ones who are smiling at your good fortune, and when we fall on hard times, they are the ones to put things in better perspective and offer genuine help.
Money, jealousy, and apathy are not things you fight with your best friend about, because you don’t have to question their motives, the same needs to be in place for the person who is supposed to be on a tier just above your BFF, your life partner.
The rule of thumb that I hope this article expresses is that if it’s not ok for a friend to do certain things, then it is definitely not ok for your romantic partner to do so either.
By the same token, if your friends are more supportive, more open to honest communication and seem to care about you and your interests more, then you need to seriously re-examine the relationship you are in right now and see if this person is really someone you want in your life.
“So next time your friends tell you that you can do better, ask what they mean exactly and evaluate for yourself if their concern is an area of high expectation (how you are being treated) or low expectation (differences that can create conflict) before deciding whether or not to end the relationship,” says, LMFT, Certified Gottman Therapist.
Your friends want you to be genuinely happy and so must you and your partner. Relationships are here to help us thrive, not wilt.
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