Forming & Maintaining Healthy Friendships & Relationships

We all have a desire to connect with others. Taking initiative and overcoming fears is one of the key steps at learning to form relationships. While learning to let your friend or partner be free to be happy on their own is a key to maintaining healthy relationships.

—CHAPTERS—
2:41 – Forming Relationships
8:58 – My Experience

Table of Contents

    Introduction

    Hi everyone! This video is going to be about how you can form and maintain healthy friendships and relationships, as well as a bit of my own personal experience. Now, many of us don’t understand how friendships of any kind or relationship in general form, and thus many cannot make any friends, keep people in their life, or the friends and relationships are dysfunctional, abusive, and/or destructive. Many others may shy away or block out, resist, any sort of connection with another person. Or even many of us feel distant from one another, like there is no one to relate to, no one that understands us, no one that will be there for us to help us through the difficult times. But the truth is, each and every one of us has a need to feel loved, accepted, and have people in our lives that can help us better ourselves and those people do exist. We are here to connect with others to help us grow and better ourselves. But the unfortunate truth is, many are not in tune with themselves and their emotions, not true to themselves, which in turn leads to repression and misunderstandings of emotions and a lack of interest and apathy which turns to attracting people into one’s life that simply cannot relate or even worse, not letting anyone in at all.

    Being able to have people in your life that can be there for you, that you can learn from, that you can better yourself from and can mutually grow from one another is not only natural, but an amazing thing since there is always something to learn and grow from with each person you have encountered in your life. When it comes to forming relationships, there is no one rule that applies to all relationships since every relationship is different, including various levels of closeness and comfortability amongst the people involved. You may have people that are friends, close friends, best friends, even others that are romantic relationships to all sorts of degrees. So, there is no one specific way of forming relationships since it’ll be different for each person. You may meet someone at a random place, online, or in some other way entirely. So, we each will have different stories and ways of meeting people. Discover the best methods for you.

    But, how can you manage to meet these people and form healthy, meaningful relationships? I’ll discuss that now.


    Forming Relationships

    The first thing to forming relationships is that you have to take initiative. In other words, don’t expect the other person to make an attempt to get to know you if you are not willing to get to know them and be yourself. You cannot sit around waiting for the right people to come into your life because it will never happen. You have to take that step, that initiative, at bettering yourself and meet people that you will have a meaningful connection with. So, if you are shy, anxious, then that is a sign that you need to work on yourself a bit more to be able to take initiative and not wait around for something that will not happen to happen. Because ultimately, the people you will attract in your life is how you view yourself. So, if you are shy and want to be left alone, yet crave closeness with another person, you will then attract people that are the same. And since none of you take initiative, you will not even know one another. So definitely learn to reach out and connect with others no matter how difficult it is since that is what will help you overcome the problems you are facing and form meaningful connections with people. When you realize you are holding back and trying to resist, rationalize those thoughts and learn to accept and allow people into your life. It takes time so don’t expect an immediate turn around.

    Relatedly, take things at an appropriate pace that is best for both of you. In other words, do not rush into things. If things were meant to happen, then it will in time and happen on their own accord and when the time is right. There is no need to rush into something with your eyes covered just because you found a friend or someone you can relate to. Rushing into things is a major obstacle that ends up hurting a lot of people because they get too close too fast and end up disliking one another. By taking it slowly however, you will discover that the relationship will not only be more meaningful, but also serve you more and align with where you are headed. Again, this applies to platonic friendships and romantic relationships since it takes a very long time to get to know someone.

    Next, learn something from each relationship, including past ones. Even if a friend was only in your life for a short amount of time, there is something to learn and grow from. Perhaps the person allowed you to understand things about yourself and grow to be a better person, or perhaps they helped you through a difficult time and taught you to cope with certain negative situations easier. Whatever it is, there is something to learn and grow from. Understand why they are in your life at that time, and what you did and they did that helped the relationships, or even destroyed it. Even past relationships that ended badly are a chance for you to learn and grow to meet new, better people and to overcome the problems you may have had in the past.

    Which leads me to my next point, friendships and relationships are about compromise, freedom, and mutual benefits. In other words, all the people involved are helping and benefiting one another, are making compromises, and not controlling one another. Control is one of the major reasons why relationships are dysfunctional. Likewise, you cannot force anyone to be in your life or do things you want. Let’s look at an example. Let’s say you and a friend are in the car together listening to music and you two get in a fight over what song to listen to. By doing this, you are not making compromises but instead trying to control what is going on. They say you control everything, because you want it to be all about you. It makes you happy that your friend does things you like because it’s more about you then it is the both of you. As a result, your friend will seem more like a possession than a friend. They do not see you as much as a friend as they do a controller that has to control them to do things you want to be happy. So learn to compromise and most importantly, understand that freedom is key since if you love someone, platonic or romantic, being able to let them, as well as yourself, be happy on their own is the key to successful relationships.

    And lastly, you have to recognize unhealthy relationships and that not all relationships are successful. There are times when arguments will happen, disagreements, conflicts, fights, it’s normal for any relationship really since we all have things we disagree on and have different perspectives on. But, is this something that is frequent, are you two fighting endlessly, abusing one another? Learn to recognize when a relationship becomes dysfunctional, unhealthy, and unsatisfying, and then get to the core as to why you feel that way and why your friend or partner feels that way.

    There comes a time when no matter how much you try to get a friendship or romantic relationship to work, the two of you are simply no longer able to get it to work in a healthy manner. Perhaps it’s that your perspectives no longer align, meaning that you no longer are compatible. But what you can do then is see it as a sign of growth and that you have learned so much from the experience, and that you are stronger and can connect better with others. Because the truth is, not all relationships last. Even the most compatible people can drift apart. But, it’s nothing to fear, but a chance to learn and grow.

    When it comes to romantic relationships, perhaps this means that you two will break up, get divorced, and it may be possible to still remain friends. Whatever the case, end it in a healthy manner and have a serious conversation about it and get to the core as to what the real emotions are and reasons for breaking off the relationship.


    My Experience

    Speaking from personal experience, I was never able to make any meaningful connections with others when I was sitting around doing nothing, or when I was terrified of meeting others. I was so shy, anxious, and worst of all, hated myself. It was only when I started to work on myself, learn to love and accept myself, and take that initiative to communicate with others, get to know others, and most importantly, be open and honest about myself, is when people started coming into my life that I started to have a meaningful connection with.

    At first, there were periods where I came off as narcissistic because I was so use to being isolated and only talking about myself. So when talking with others, I would talk about myself since myself is all I knew. I didn’t know how to get to know someone because it was new to me. But, over the course of several years, I got better and actually learned to care about others and get to know and understand them.

    Each person that has entered into my life has served a specific purpose. Many times you will recognize that it is to heal you and to help you grow, and even more so, the feelings can be mutual in that you help them and they help you. For example, there have been many people that have been in contact with me about abuse they have been through in the past. They feel like I was the only one that would listen, hear them out, and not judge them. After being through that myself, I was able to give the person advice on how to overcome the problem, and as a result, I learned from them as well. Perhaps I learned some of their ways of coping, perhaps some of what they were saying applied to me and I was able to realize it within myself. Regardless of what it was, we both benefitted from one another and learned and grew from the experience. Even if it was just two or three messages, there was something positive to come of it. Relatedly, if they never took that initiative to put aside their fears, then we would have never had any kind of conversation. So, that’s why learning about someone is not a one way thing, but mutual.

    Now, I have not had many friends in my lifetime. I currently have three friends in my life that I speak with regularly. And the thing is, that is how I like it. I no longer beat myself up saying, “I don’t have any friends. No one likes me.” Because I know that it is simply not the truth. I only wish to have a few close people in my life. Furthermore, the friends I have been able to have in my life have all been supportive. I’ve never really lost much of any close friendships, but there are people I don’t really communicate with as much anymore.

    My longest friendship is with a male that I became friends with in the fifth grade. So, as of 2015 it’s been about 15 years. He is the longest lasting friendship. We use to hang out all the time, go over to each other’s houses every weekend, and watch television shows and play games. All sorts of things. And the thing is, we’ve really never had a fight or argument. I personally wouldn’t consider him my best friend as there are plenty of things he simply cannot relate to or understand about me. But regardless, he is a great friend and stuck by me when I transitioned from male to female. That is difficult for any relationship, but he was accepting and supportive and as a result, I feel our relationship is better and we are closer.

    After I became friends with him, it was impossible for me to make any other friends since that is when all my mental health issues started to come into play. I shut people out, was paranoid of them, and saw them as a threat. But, this all changed when I transitioned in 2012 when I met my first friend online. It was using an online dating site, but we talked and wrote long messages to one another. She was accepting of me but I was having issues with myself which lead to the friendship being lost and abandoned. What is surprising though is she actually contacted me at the end of 2014, but I couldn’t really associate with her anymore due to my mind immediately associating her with another person online that I simply didn’t want anything to do with. I am simply not going back to that since I choose people to be in my life that are not associated with negative past experiences. But, I realized in my very brief conversation with her that I was still working on myself and have since then improved.

    Anyway, in late 2013, after I started making YouTube videos, I was contacted by a girl that I almost immediately became great friends with. I had never felt that type of connection and we would talk on and on throughout the day and it was so much fun. We ending up video chatting a few times for hours and it was amazing to finally have a friend I could share so much with. She was even there to help me with a lot of difficult times as well. There were destructive moments too where I would send her these ridiculous messages that just were not me. I said how I am not friends with her and that the person she was supposedly friends with, me, was being controlled and what not and just wasn’t her friend. It was scary, but that level of acceptance was amazing and I’m glad to have her in my life.

    And lastly, just in late 2014, early 2015, I became friends with another girl that I immediately became very close with. We talked about so many things that neither one of us had been able to share with another person before. We video chatted for hours and hours. Just the first time of video chatting was longer than the longest time I’ve video chatted with the other two friends I have. We talk about pretty much everything and are comfortable enough with one another that we don’t feel as though we will judge one another and have a connection that neither one of us has experience before. I even got a chance to met this girl and…I simply cannot put into words the level of connection that I felt with her.

    So, I see all this as how far I have come from not really having any friends, or ones that I couldn’t relate to or were destructive for me, to having very meaningful connection that are life-changing. Ultimately it comes back to myself. I started making improvements with myself in 2012 and had rapid personal growth. In 2013 I grew past my shyness and anxiety and started connecting with people. In 2014 I grew past many other issues I’ve had that were holding me back, including self-hatred. And so far, just two and a half months into 2015, my life has completely changed because I have been able to develop even more meaningful relationships and connect on a deeper level with people that truly matter and should be in my life. All this versus how I was where the people I was attracting were simply not the right people. And I know, as time progress, my relationships and connections will only grow stronger since I am allowing myself to experience friendships and relationships and grow from them instead of seeing them as a threat and trying to eliminate them from my life.


    Conclusion

    So in conclusion, we all have a desire to connect with others. This is perfectly natural and nothing to be ashamed of. However, many are too shy and anxious to get to know another person or simply do not want to take the time to get to know someone else and share their own life. But, the truth is that taking that initiative and overcoming your fears is one of the key steps at learning to form relationships. While learning to let your friend or partner be free to be happy on their own, as well as your own happiness and freedom, is a key to maintaining healthy relationships. I hope this video was informative and helpful. Thanks for watching!

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    Notes

    I lost interest in making friends when I started to go through puberty, which was also the time my life took a turn for the worst as my mental health problems started to come into play. I didn’t know how to make any friends since I always kept to myself past this point. I saw everyone as a threat, was paranoid, delusional, and was not really able to make any meaningful connections with people. From that point, it took about ten years before I was able to address many of the issues and get to a more stable place where the right people started coming into my life. Since then, I’ve managed to form very meaningful connections on all sorts of levels and I know as time progresses, my ability to interact with others will only get better.