Why You Don’t Have to Be Popular to Have a Lot of Friends

•September 26, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Want a lot of friends? Of course you do! We let you in on a little secret – you don’t have to be popular to have a lot of friends. But here’s what you do need…Watch!

How To Not Let Your Friend’s Differences Drive You Crazy

•August 8, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Kathy: Your friend is not you, and you are not your friend. Duh! It seems that more often than not opposites attract. Who knows why that is? One theory is that the strengths evident in one person compliment the weaknesses in the other (if they don’t drive you nuts first!).

I am sooooo different from Linda. She is so strong in the areas I’m not: she’s neat, scheduled, and logical just to name a few. She knows how to stand her ground with rationale and accuracy. While I admire all of those amazing characteristics about her, at times they try to drive me crazy. Understandably, feeling irritated about the things that are her strengths is not very wise on my part.

I, on the other hand, am a little (maybe a lot) freer in these areas. I’m more sensing and feeling and easier to let things get a little messy. Flexibility is important to me, I’m people smart, and at times the way I function in life may not look or seem all that logical to her. That can drive her crazy, especially when it comes to working together on writing projects.

Through the help of many different assessment tools, we have both come to know each other and ourselves so much better. Understanding one another and why we behave the way we do has helped us deal with each others differences rather than drive us crazy (most of the time).

We purpose to negotiate through the difference so they don’t drive us apart. For example, I am so grateful when something that has been scheduled can be changed without it becoming such a big deal to her. For her, she appreciates it when I keep the planned schedules and not make last minute changes. How in the world do two worlds come together without colliding?

1. Understanding that neither one of us is trying to be hurtful to the other.

2. Understand what feels like a weakness could actually be your friend’s strength.

Don’t try to fix your friend or change them to be more like you. Let them be fully who they are and enjoy the differences each friend brings to the friendship.

Do You Let “Sickness” Stop You From Friendship?

•July 29, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Linda: Picture this: It’s Friday morning. The alarm goes off. It’s the day we play tennis. Today’s challenge: I feel like I’ve been hit by a train and my body is not in the mood for tennis. It aches, my head is spinning, and my nose is running. I’m gonna drag myself out of bed anyway. Envisioning my friend greeting me at the court with her bed-head that matches mine is all the inspiration I need! We both throw on hats to hide the mess, don our shades and get to it. In sickness or health, we play. Why? Because we try to not let anything keep us from our Friday morning tennis match. It’s worth it because it’s a blast!

Sickness can be a friend stopper, if you let it.

Kathy: Just like physical “sickness” tries to keep us from our game of tennis, psychological issues try to disrupt our friendship. Growing up, I struggled with low self-esteem, feelings of inadequacy, and feeling like I could not be a good friend. I let that stop me from having a friend because I did not think I was capable. Those things don’t go away quickly and can rob you of fun and fruitful relationships. I had to do some surgery deep down inside to bring health to myself and to my friendship with Linda.

Don’t wait till you are “all that” to become someone’s friend.

Linda: I too, had some “sickness” that I had to work through, because let’s face it; we are all messed up to some degree or another. But we encourage you to go ahead and jump into friendship, even if you are not “all that”! If you wait until you are perfect, can love at ALL times, be patient in ALL times, forgive at ALL times, etc, etc, you will never experience friendship. Go ahead and start engaging, just like we do when we play tennis. We play when we are sick and we play when we are healthy. Otherwise, we would miss out on precious times together.

Don’t let sickness stop you, keep playing while you are taking your relationship medicine. 🙂

We have compiled a short list of resources and helps that can bring health to you and ultimately your friendship.

Medicine for Your Friendship:

This is one of our all time favorite books on friendship. It covers all of the basics from deepening your friendship to cultivating it. A classic and an easy read:

The Friendship Factor: How to Get Closer to the People You Care for by Alan Loy McGinnis 

If you are stuck in a conflict with your friend and can’t find your way out, this book will show you how to lay out what is bugging you in a productive way:

How to Have That Difficult Conversation You’ve Been Avoiding: With Your Spouse, Adult Child, Boss, Coworker, Best Friend, Parent, or Someone You’re Dating by Henry Cloud and John Townsend

When you need to apologize but need help with the “how”:

The Five Languages of Apology: How to Experience Healing in all Your Relationships by Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas

This book can be applied to any relationship that needs a fix. Dr. Phil really delivers:

Relationship Rescue: A Seven-Step Strategy for Reconnecting with Your Partner by Phillip C. McGraw

You are so different from your friend; learn why the two of you may see and do things so uniquely:

The Four Elements of Success: A Simple Personality Profile that will Transform Your Team by Laurie Beth Jones

Everyone needs good boundaries in friendship; this will give you an edge in knowing what is a healthy boundary and when you have blown it:

Boundaries: When to Say YES, When to Say NO, To Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud and John Townsend

So, please don’t wait till you are in total psychological health before you engage in friendship, or you’ll never have friends! Even if you’re not in total “health”, you can still enjoy friendship with someone. We play tennis to the extent that our sickness will allow. Same in friendship. We will be friends to the extent that the sickness will allow. If you don’t, you will miss out!

How You Can Stay With a Friend Who Acts Stupid

•July 8, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Kathy: Have you ever been with a friend and all of a sudden they turn “stupid”? I have! Everything is going just fine, at least that’s how it seems, and you’re having a fun time. Then wham! Somebody does something that messes everything up. It reminds me of when Linda and I are playing tennis. Volleying back and forth without any mistakes is fun to the max. But then when one of us misses, it interrupts the play. Sometimes it’s me and sometimes it’s her who hits the ball into the net or out of bounds. No one wants to miss. We want to keep the game going strong.

Linda: Kathy taught me how to play tennis years ago (well, she sorta taught me how to play ;). In my “beginner days” I had no control of the ball. Whacking it hard and blasting it over the fence was a normal occurrence. We wasted a lot of time retrieving balls. She spent more time running after balls than she did volleying with me because I didn’t know how to play. I’m so glad she didn’t give up on me. It would have been easier for her to find a more experienced player than to patiently hang in there till I learned how to volley.

Friendship seems similar to the game of tennis. You want to stay in the game, keep the ball in motion and better yet win. But when you’re with “Stupid” it’s hard to keep the ball in play; both in tennis and in friendship. (Because you probably want to just give up and quit.) Longer volleys on the court and in friendship require two valuable things.

Let us show you two ways you can deal with a friend who acts “Stupid” and still keep your friendship going.

1. Staying in the game.

Kathy: It was worth it; worth chasing the balls to play the game with my friend. If I had given up, we probably wouldn’t be playing tennis as regularly as we do today. The more we stay in the game, the more volleying, the more fun. Better yet, the volleying gets longer and longer.

Staying in the friendship is a must if you want to win at friendship. The more you play, the better you get at the game of friendship. The very idea of sticking together gives you opportunity to work through the stupid stuff. So have a heart to stay in the game.

2. Sharpening your skills.

Linda: Now that I have been playing tennis for over 10 years, I sometimes beat her little hind end! Not always, but sometimes! And that’s because I have learned new skills. I no longer whack the ball over the fence (unless I’m ticked off). I can even serve on the first try! 😉 But here’s the thing, you HAVE to KEEP playing in order to sharpen your skills.

Tennis pros don’t quit when they mess up. They keep at it so they can sharpen their skills and learn new ones that make them even better. They practice, practice, practice! This is true in the game of friendship as well. You must practice the skills that make you a good friend.

If you need to learn some new skills that will help you win in your friendship, check out some of these resources.

If you need help communicating, We recommend Dr. Phil McGraw’s book, Relationship Rescue: A Seven-Step Strategy for Reconnecting with Your Partner

If you need new skills in handling anger, this is a great read, by Gary Chapman, Anger: Handling a Powerful Emotion in a Healthy Way

If you need help crafting an apology, we suggest, The Five Languages of Apology: How to Experience Healing in all Your Relationships, by Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas.

If you need help working through forgiveness, consider this book, Forgiveness…the Ultimate Miracle (Fortune, Family & Faith Series) by Paul J. Meyer.

If you need help in handling conflict, this is a classic by Henry Cloud and John Townsend, Boundaries Face to Face: How to Have That Difficult Conversation You’ve Been Avoiding

When your friend suddenly turns “stupid” on you, remember these two things:

Staying in the game and learning new skills will give you a friendship that lasts like a long volley.

Do You Let the Tough Stuff of Life Drain You Dry?

•January 21, 2011 • 1 Comment

Tired, drained, sapped, oh my! Oh yeah, life can be tough. Well then, we have a solution for you. Laughter is the jolt you need! Forget Redbull or your favorite energy drink. This fix is even cheaper than coffee or therapy. Have a belly laugh with a friend.

We are still recovering from the tightness in our abdomens after 30 minutes of non stop laughter last week. There we were, sitting on the front row of a middle school montage performance. You know, kids trying to dance, act, sing – but what it really was, was comic relief at its best! We felt like rolling on the floor laughing hysterically. We almost did. Walking away we discovered, “Wow, we needed that!” Stress and anxiety from the day melted away.

Laugh at Yourself

Kathy: There have been so many times we have found ourselves laughing over the craziest things. They weren’t really that funny, but maybe they were. Usually we get a kick over the nutty things we each do. Mostly Linda is laughing at my ridicules antics. That makes me laugh. It’s a good thing to be able to laugh at yourself over the eccentric things you do.

Every day in the type of work we do, we have the opportunity to care for people who are dealing with difficulties. As professional counselors, we walk along side people who are dealing with some type of loss. Such as death, sudden sickness, terminal illness, disappointment, and marriage struggles just to name a few. It can be quite taxing. So if we are not careful, all this tough stuff can drain us dry.

I’m sure you have tough days as well…It seems when it rains it pours. Has it been pouring on you lately? Buckets you say?

Because of this, many times at the end of the day we don’t even have energy left for our families and one another. Drained to the max. That’s not the best way to run our lives.

A Cheerful Heart is Good For You

Here’s what we purpose to do – not let the tough stuff of life drain us dry. How? “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” We want strength and we are sure you do too. So a cheerful heart it is. In the midst of rain let the sun shine in. Laugh a little or better yet, laugh a lot.

Ways to add laughter to your life:

  1. Be willing to laugh at your self and the silly things you do.
  2. Don’t take yourself too too seriously. Lighten up!
  3. Search You Tube for videos of people laughing. It’s contagious! Watch this one:  DxGri1IDBL8
  4. Find some good clean comedy on TV (or at your local middle school!).
  5. Read something that will crack you up! (comics, jokes, your own memoirs!)
  6. Watch reruns of America’s Funniest Home Videos. Check this clip out: i479N2ei8Us
  7. Go to a fun movie.
  8. Spend time with a 2 year old. 😉
  9. Find something, anything to laugh about!

Coaching Tip:

When it seems like the tough stuff is draining you dry, get laughing. It can be the sun to your rain shower.

Got a Friend who’s a taker not a giver?

•December 9, 2010 • 2 Comments

Here’s how to handle a friend who takes more than they give…

Messing with Your Definition of “Friendship”

•November 6, 2010 • 2 Comments

It’s amazing how we toss the word friend around and use it so freely. Even in the movies the good guy says to the bad guy, “Listen friend, your days are numbered!” Not so sure that was really a friend he was talking to, right?! Why do we use “friend” so often to describe relationships that really aren’t friendships?

Let us rock your world for a bit as we mess with what might be your definition of the word, “friend”.

First off, here’s what the dictionary says: “Friend: a person one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection…” But we have discovered that the term “friend” is often used to describe a variety of relationships like neighbors, classmates, teammates, coworkers, even family members. We could scream: “LIAR!” What?! Are they neighbors or friends? They may be classmates but does that automatically make them your friends? Or, they might play on your team, but is that enough to qualify them as your friend?

Linda: I asked my daughter the other day who she was hanging out with at basketball camp. She mentioned a girl’s name, and I asked her if she was her friend. My daughter responded, “No, just someone I know on the team.” In other words, she is just a fellow basketball camper. My daughter was wise enough to differentiate between a friend and another type of relationship.

Why do we feel so compelled to define most of our relationships as friendships? It’s probably because we are hard pressed to define the relationship. We reach for the word friendship because we don’t know what else to call it. Or, is friendship so desirable that we attach it to all types of relationships that aren’t necessarily friendships?

What are people really saying when they say things like: “My sister is my best friend.”, “My husband is my best friend.”, or “My mother is my best friend.”? What does that mean to people? Can you really be best buddies with your sister? Husband? Mother? If you think so, we challenge you to think again.

Here’s our thought – whatever dynamic in the relationship is bigger than the rest that is what defines it. For example, two sisters can have a close bond and enjoy doing all kinds of stuff together but that doesn’t make them best friends. Yes, their relationship can have elements of friendship within it, but the fact that they are sisters holds a unique significance beyond friendship. True, a spouse could be your closest companion but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are your best friend. A parent may still be a friend to their child, but the parent/child relationship is the primary focus even though it can have an element of friendship.

When the friendship dynamic is bigger than the other dynamics of the relationship, that’s when it can be defined as a “friendship”.

Tell us what you think.