By: Michell Stanley, LICSW, ACC, RYT
A Guide to Healthy Attachment in Relationships
Love is a beautiful gift that comes in many forms. From parent-child to romantic partnership, relationships offer an opportunity for growth and connection at different stages of our lives. But friendship brings something special — a chance to relate to others with a a more secure attachment style; an opportunity that can be harder in more intimate partnerships.
Weaving through the tapestry of friendship can help us become more connected and understanding in our other relationships. Invest some time to reflect on these insights on friendship so you can discover more security in your relationships overall.
Friendship Lesson #1 — How to Balance Give and Take
Romantic partnerships can often be tricky when it comes to the balance of give and take. Fortunately, in friendships we don’t need to keep track of who does what — instead, they are a chance for us both to work together towards an equitable divide that works best for everyone involved. We may have initially expected something different from each other but our expectations should stay fluid; there is always room to adjust responsibilities or find new ways to show appreciation.
Friendship Lesson #2 — What secure attachment looks and feels like
As we get closer to someone special in our lives, it’s normal to feel a bit of fear that the relationship may not last. These worries can cause anxiety and make us question where we stand with them — but friends are an invaluable source of comfort. Friends give us validation on how great we truly are, remind us what makes our relationships so strong, and provide support when uncertainty arises.
Friendship Lesson #3 — The courage to be honest
In romantic partnerships, the truth can sometimes be hard to hear. Being honest may bring up issues that could cause tension and hurt feelings in the relationship. However, a fulfilling friendship is one where there is a more solid respect for each other, creating a space for trust and open communication — so your friends desire to tell you the truth may often trump any worry about causing harm or discomfort.
Friendship Lesson #4 — Compassionate Communication
As we get closer, it may become harder to communicate effectively due to an increase in unspoken expectations or assumptions. As we explore the depths of a friendship, we should begin by ensuring mutual understanding and respect. Both parties must work together in honing their abilities to speak openly with one another while practicing empathy when listening.
Friendship Lesson #5 — How to Compromise in Conflict
Conflict can be an opportunity for growth and understanding, especially in friendships. When two friends disagree or clash on a certain issue, they are presented with the chance to practice compromise without having high expectations or vulnerable emotions involved. This ability to find common ground serves as a valuable reminder of just how much trust is necessary between good companions — allowing them both to recognize each other’s perspectives equally.
Friendship Lesson #6 — How to Forgive and Let-Go
Forgiveness is rarely a straightforward task, and each individual’s ability to forgive depends on the relationship dynamic involved. When hurt by someone we love romantically, our perception of the damage can be intensified compared to when it comes from other friendships. Despite this difference in difficulty level, forgiveness invites the intention to cultivate patience and understanding without taking on unnecessary victimization.
Friendship Lesson #7 — How to Accept Differences
When it comes to friends, we likely have a different set of expectations than those for romantic partners. We’re more inclined to leave room for mistakes and accept flaws without judgment. This can create an airy atmosphere with minimal pressure that encourages us both to grow by exploring each other’s perspectives in search of understanding rather than defensiveness or criticism.
Friendship Lesson #8 — The courage to Play Full Out (i.e. Be authentic)
In a romantic relationship, there can be an underlying tension of fear in the air — that of being rejected or abandoned. A friendship however is like no other as it offers us comfort to express our genuine selves without risking rejection and abandonment; providing a safe place for dialogue, understanding and growth. Through healthy friendships we learn how to communicate authentically yet respectfully on our own terms while remaining open-minded towards others’ points of view.
Want to enhance your sense of security, self-worth and synergy in your relationships!? Join me in our upcoming 4-Week Intentional Relationship Workshop.
As a holistic psychotherapist and a life coach, I use life coaching and psychology to help you be more intentional in your life and relationships so you can evolve through obstacles and enhance fulfillment.