Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Are You A Good Friend?

Taking care of ourselves is difficult enough. Half the time we don’t even know what we want. Yet somehow we expect ourselves to be good sons and daughters, friends, partners, and even parents. 

It’s a tall order. And as we know from experience, we often get it wrong.

That’s why so many people freak out during birthdays. It’s one of the few times a year when a room full of people can see exactly how well you know the guest of honour. It’s the closest we get to measuring love.

A gift is obviously not an accurate estimation of someone’s affection. And neither is a poem for that matter. 

If romantic love hinged on how well we could express our feelings through sonnets and limericks, most of us would die a horny virgin.

So what does give us an indication we’re doing okay in this love and friendship business?

Well, it’s not perfection. We’ll never be everything that our loved ones want us to be. Disappointment is a constant we can’t shake. Plenty of times we’ll say and do things that we wish we could take back. 

So if not a flawless track record, what does give us the reassurance that we’re good companions?

Effort.

No matter how shoddy our attempt at love might be, if our heart is in the right place and we do our best to make things right, we have no reason to feel bad about ourselves.

Yes, sometimes our best might not be enough to keep the bond intact. A friend, sibling or child might choose to cut us off, no matter how much effort we put into the relationship.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean we were being a bad person.

It just means that we didn’t have the tools to love someone the way they needed. 

And that’s one of the hardest realisations in life: loving someone the best that you can isn’t always enough. Rather than beating yourself up for having failed, look at it as a chance to grow.

If you’re always striving to understand and love better, then you’re doing great.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach