Self-Esteem and Friendships: How Self-Esteem Influences the Kinds of Friends We Have & the Kind of Friend We Are

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I just finished reading this article about the different kinds of friendships and friendship break-ups. I related to so many of the examples of both the friendships and the breakup’s and it got me reflecting on the role self-esteem and self-worth play in our friendships.

Self-Worth and The Kind of Friend We Are

There is a direct connection between the kind of friend we are, and our self-worth.

In Brené Brown’s work, she speaks about how feeling “worth-it” influences on our ability to have fulfilling relationships. While self-worth definitely relates to what we get out of our relationships, it addresses what we are able to give to our friendships as well.

I like to picture friendships, and all relationships,  as a game of catch. They involve give and take, back and forth, talking and listening to keep the ball in play; the rally is what makes the game enjoyable.  Just like in a game of catch, if one person hog’s the ball, never throws it back, drops it often, or steals the ball and sits on it- the game, or friendship, becomes boring and falls apart. Our ability to play the game, get a rally going, give and receive comes from our self-worth.

When we feel worth-it we

  • Become genuinely curious about our friends lives
  • Participate in the friendship because we want to, not because we have to, or because we need something from it
  • Are able to notice what our friends bring to the friendship, instead of focusing on what they don’t
  • Are more able to open up, be vulnerable, and share our authentic selves with our friends which creates a deeper connection
  • Enjoy the “game of catch” instead of needing to control it or fix it
  • Welcome other “players” or people into our game without hesitation
  • Want to see our friends win & celebrate their victories without jealousy
  • Add to the conversation, and relationship, instead of sitting on the sidelines or steamrolling it

Self-Esteem and the Kinds of Friends We Have

Self-Esteem also directly relates to the friends we have in our live in numerous ways.

My mentor likes to say, “The only people that will be annoyed that you can’t be manipulated, are people trying to manipulate you.” I love the simplicity of this statement, and the truth behind it! Have you ever noticed, as we become stronger in who we are, the people we are friends with change too?

When we know ourselves better and pay attention to our intuition we…

  • Are better able to tell if someone is interested in getting a rally going or not
  • Are more skilled at detecting one-sided, needy, or untrustworthy people
  • Put up with less negative treatment from others
  • Are aware of, and able to say up front, what we want/need in a friendship
  • Expect better treatment from others
  • Communicate better and more clearly
  • Notice when/if they do treat us poorly & stand up for ourselves
  • Attract people who are in a more positive place

The Moral?

These list could go on and on, but both boil down to one thing- working on ourselves, developing our core-self, and uncovering our self-worth benefits our relationships and ourselves!

The next time you are feeling down about a friendship(s), considering a friendship breakup, or being dumped by a friend turn your focus inward.  Don’t get caught up in the panic, fighting, or telling the story over and over an over.  Instead, use it as an opportunity for growth by asking yourself these questions.

  1. How do I physically feel when I am with this person?
  2. Do I like how I physically feel when I am with this person?
  3. What attracted me to this friendship in the first place?
  4. Am I getting that from this friendship?
  5. Does my friend know what I want, need, hope for from this relationship?
  6. What do they want, need, hope for in a relationship

It doesn’t matter what the answers are to these questions.  The act of asking them, and finding the answers is already strengthening your self-esteem!