How To Be More Mindful In Friendship
How strong are your friendships on a scale from zero to 10? If it’s less than 10, read on. Here’s how you can slow down, grow mindful and show up for your friend.
Friendships, like all relationships, require work. We all have friends who we could call more often, offer more support to and strengthen ties with. “Consistent communication, trust and confidence are important elements to cultivate a strong friendship,” says Dr Sandeep Vohra, psychiatrist, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, Delhi.
This friendship day, practice 6 mindful activities with your friend. Besides fun, it will open the doors of consciousness and new experiences.
Go for walking meditation
Find a peaceful spot, walk slowly with your companion while concentrating on the sensation of walking. Observe how your weight changes from the centre to the ball of your foot. “Walking together, away from distractions, can help you and your friend bond and communicate better, in a calmer state of mind,” says Dr Vohra.
Don’t just hear, listen
Active listening (listening with all senses, being fully present) has many benefits in friendship. Face your friend, maintain eye contact and ask for details and clarification by saying something like, Could you tell me a bit more about that? or Let’s make sure I am getting it correct. “It validates the counterpart and gives them confidence that they have been completely heard. “This mindful strategy prevents you from assuming things in friendship—which is the primary cause of misunderstandings in many friendships I see in day-to-day life,” adds Dr Vohra.
03 Take a step back and appreciate
Practicing gratitude with friends is a powerful mindful strategy. Besides increasing happiness, it promotes confidence and connectedness. “Think of instances in the past where your companion had supported you. Thank them. This communicates that you value their presence and role in your life,” says Vohra. You can do this physically or even on zoom call if your partner stays far away, says the doctor.
04 Create goals together
Goals are good. Shared goals are even better. When you work towards a goal alongside someone you are really connected to, you feel more motivated to work towards it. “We sometimes need someone’s hand to help achieve goals and that’s a perfect thing to do with your close friend,” says Dr Vohra.
05 Forgive a friend who wronged you
No matter how close you are, you or your friend may say or do something that can hurt the relationship. You can mend your friendship and move on from whatever has happened. Start over again. Remain compassionate, apologise or forgive, and move on. “Once you move past your bad experience, it will pave way for new levels of bonding and understanding,” says the expert.
06 Ask for feedback
Imagine your friend or partner had something important to share but simply couldn’t due to the fear of rejection. Gaps in communication between friends can create cracks in their emotional bonding. “Asking and sharing genuine feedback is a mindful approach one should often practice,” says Dr Vohra. He says to take feedback as an opportunity for growth and better understanding.