Throughout life, we interact with people who share similar interests with of whom we can identify with. Many of us rarely ask the question or even consider the purpose of a particular friendship or relationship. Do we actually give any thought as to why we are interacting with a person and how this relationship may impact our lives.
While we shouldn't spend too much time analyzing the motives of people, you should; however, take careful thought before allowing someone into your life. Friendships and relationships are an investment of our time, energy and often our emotions. Therefore, it only makes sense to do your research to get a better understanding of whether or not the relationship is worth developing. Ask yourself the following questions:
Does this person have my best interest at heart?
Do we share similar values?
Do I have to pretend to be something I'm not when we're together?
Is it a healthy friendship?
Is it balanced?
This list of questions can go on forever, but I'll stop here. Now I know some of you are saying "it's not that deep." But ask yourself this question; have you ever allowed yourself to become friends with someone who was a negative influence over your life? Did you find yourself in a relationship with a complete stranger only because you didn't do your research.
As you meet new people and establish new relationships, it is important to use wisdom. Enter in the relationship with an understanding that it will be an investment of your time and energy. Would you accept a job offer without having some knowledge about your employer? Well, it's the same with a relationship - get to know your potential mate. Develop a friendship first through effective communication, and fun activities. Observe their behavior and ponder it in your heart. Take mental notes and most importantly be honest with yourself. The most common warning people receive is "don't ignore the red flags;" however, many of us ignore them anyway. If you're not sure exactly what I mean by red flags, below are some examples:
Do you catch them in small lies?
Do they lie by omission?
Are you have things in common?
Do you constantly have to pretend to be something you're not
Do you share the same values
Does he/she drink/smoke/party and you don't?
This is an abbreviated list but it's something to consider. Create your own list with your own questions. The most important thing is, before you engage in any relationship, you should make sure you know your own likes and dislikes. Create a list for yourself and make sure that you are comfortable with who you are as a person. If you don't know who you are.. if you don't know your likes and dislikes and most importantly if you don't create standards for yourself, there is absolutely no way you will create effective guidelines and standards for others.
Dating and developing friendships is a process of elimination. You don't have to settle for anyone. You must be proactive in eliminating negativity from your life. This is a process and this process can often be frustrating, but don't give up. Enjoy the process and don't be afraid to say good-bye.