Happy Month of Love! Welcome to week 2 of the 3 Week Love Challenge!
Last week we talked about demonstrating love for one family member. This week, we’ll be focusing on forming a deeper relationship with one friend. Think about a friend who you are not close to but would like to develop a more meaningful relationship with. I am not talking about romance here but about a true and authentic friendship. Once you have your friend in mind, continue reading the rest of this post.
We are now focusing on friendship because when we need advice, many of us turn to our friends. It’s important to cultivate deep and meaningful relationships with our friends, not only so that they are there for us, but so that they know that they count on us no matter what. Therefore, I’d like you to spend this week demonstrating genuine love toward your friend.
While there are so many ways that you can do this, I find that most of the time we tend to talk and rarely actively listen to them. So, let’s develop our communication skills in regards to our friends.
How can you do this? Focus on conversation using my Affinities of the Heart technique.
1. Have An Affinity For Love
Active listening is not easy with all of the distractions that surround us. When you call your friend this week, I’d like to you find a space where you can be fully present in this conversation. So that means no multitasking or daydreaming but being fully engaged in the conversation. Affirm what they are saying and reply back accordingly.
2. Have An Affinity For Empathy
When I mentioned affirming what you’re friend is saying, I don’t mean randomly saying “yes” to everything they say. You should, however, attempt to demonstrate empathy. What do I mean by that? Take a moment to put yourself in their shoes. Try to understand what they’re saying and where they are coming from. Often times our experiences blind us to what other’s are going through because we may not have experienced it, but learning to leave our feelings at the door and being present with them provides them with a sense of security.
3. Have An Affinity For Emotion
Emotions and empathy go hand-in-hand. It is important to be able to read your friend’s emotions to determine how they are feeling. Understanding this will enable you to respond to them accordingly. In order to read your friend’s emotions you’ll need to listen to what they’re saying, the tone in their voice, and if you meet in person, watch for their body language. Are they clenching their jaw or do they sound like they have a heavy tone? Perhaps, based on the context, they might be angry or upset. This requires active listening that comes from a place of love and genuine interest.
4. Have An Affinity For Patience
All too often, many of us want to rush in with our opinions or have a need to make the other person feel better. However, it’s important to patiently listen so that we learn the full story instead of rushing to either judgement or to give unwanted advice. Your friend may just want to talk or vent without any opinions. If an opinion is asked of you, then go ahead and answer. Otherwise, just be there for your friend.
So there you have it, my friends. These are my top 4 tips for cultivating a more meaningful friendship through conversation. Do you see how all four steps connect with each other? To be an active listener, you need to find a space where you can listen with love. When you’re in that space, you want listen with empathy and for emotion so that you can respond accordingly. When you respond, it’s with patience, so it’s to affirm but not to provide advice unless it’s asked for. You don’t need to practice this all in one sitting. Focus on one step at a time, and in time, this will become second nature to you.
As with the previous challenge, in Four Simple Ways To Show Love To Your Family Members, I’ll be joining you on this journey as well. As of late, I find myself getting easily distracted with either work, chores, or my baby, that I don’t find enough time to spend with friends, let alone actually listen to them without multitasking. Therefore, this week, I’m going to call a friend who I feel I’ve been neglecting, and will actively listen. I am choosing to focus on step number four because I have a need to rush in and fix everything.
For additional ideas, please check out my post on Building and Maintaining Strong Relationships. Be as creative as you can. In the comments below, I would love to hear about how you chose to follow through with this week’s challenge.
Remember to join me next week for week 2 of 3 of the 3 Week Love Challenge.
Remember to join me next week for week 1 of 3 of the 3 Week Love Challenge. For now, grab your Free Self-Care Strategies.
For additional Self-Love reflection guides, like the one below, click HERE!
Take care and Happy Month Of Love,