Starting new relationships causes many of us to feel uncomfortable – whether it is a significant other or a friend – can force us to have conversations we have never needed to have before (or at least in a very long time).
In the last year I had to walk away from a friend that had been my best friend for over 20 years. And while there was a grieving for the loss, it was something that had to be done. Unfortunately, I had intertwined work and friendship. One area created a loss in the other. For months I walked around with a hole in my heart and that constant feeling that something was missing.
I still have many wonderful friends, but even after 9 months I still think about our friendship. But most recently I have been thinking about how to create new, deeper friendships with friends I already have. It will never be the same but perhaps it can be the type of friendship I need for this stage of my life.
Thinking back to what I need … I found myself reflecting back on the results of taking Strenghtfinders 2.0. It indicated that my top two strengths were Empathy and being a Relator. As these two strengths have shaped me so strongly, I really feel that they have become part of my core personality.
Empathy has always served me well, as I can often relate to how a person is feeling and what it would feel like to walk in their shoes. This has been a big strength, as I have trained employees, talked to my children and listened to clients.
However, the idea of relator was new to me. Being an extrovert, I just assumed that I loved being around people. And I do. But what being a relator meant was being with a close circle of friends that I had strong bonds with. It meant having strong, regular contact with them in order to feel the closeness of our friendship. Whether it was a phone call, a drink after work or dinner, I needed to feel the connection.
Now, as I try to create that new intimate relationships, I reflect on how important having that connected feeling is. The only way to get it is to ask for it. And then to understand that not everyone feels that it is as important as I do.
What do you need to ask for?