It’s Important to Ask Questions
How do we get to know our own friends without asking questions? Simply put, you can’t. Yes, we can have conversations and yes, we can enjoy the very basics of who the other is. Without asking questions though, how much can we really know about others?
What Questions We Should Be Asking
Normally, a friendship starts with the most basic of questions. Where did you grow up? Do you have siblings? What are your parents like? Those types of questions. These really can enlighten us more than some may think. Did you know that even the birth order in which we fall has an effect on our behavior? It’s not exact, but it is pretty accurate.
Questions don’t have to be a big deal in the beginning. Start off easy. If you’ve been friends for a while though, maybe there’s something that’s holding you back. Know that real friends, should know where your heart lies so please don’t worry so much.
Some of us struggle to even make friends, which I can personally relate to. Sometimes I worry that I’m going to say the wrong thing, which I do rather often. Although I’m not the most popular girl in town, I still have people who love me and who know my heart.
Feeling Worried Over a New Friendship? Talk About It.
If you’re of the nervous variety, I hear you. Sometimes, even the simplest of questions can feel heavy. Anxiety can do that, but so can a general nervousness around even our closest people. Sometimes we have questions, but we don’t know how to ask them. First recommendation put a feeler out. Start with a question that may not be the exact question you want to ask, but something close to it. For example, if you want to talk to a friend about maybe a hard past that you know they had, instead of going in hot, think about ways to talk to them about it without just jumping in. We don’t normally just jump into cold water, well some might. Most of us like to warm up to it.
Sometimes it feels hard to relate to someone who may have had different struggles than you. In my opinion, a lot of people who have been through a lot can sympathize with any struggle rather well. It could be struggling as a child with alcoholic parents, or children of abuse. Most of them don’t even think they had it the worst out of everyone that they know. They’re rather humble like that. Also, they’re usually the most kind. People who have been through a lot, may have had their heart broken. They don’t usually act like it though.
Others who may have been blessed with a rather “uneventful” life may also sometimes be hard to relate to. That doesn’t mean impossible though. While they may not have been through what you have, usually a common ground and interest can be found. They’re also capable of sympathizing, if you’ve chosen a good friend. I think we can all agree that we don’t have to experience exactly what someone else has gone through in order to appreciate it. Love is what it comes down to. Are we capable of that ourselves? If so, others most likely are too.
You Can’t Have an Emotional Brick Wall Up and Still Make Friends.
I really don’t mean to keep talking about bad things, but we seem to run into a lot of that unfortunately. Thankfully though, a lot of us are blessed to be able to overcome a lot of hurdles. Being open as a friend really makes a difference though. I think we can all think of one fake friend that we either have now, and ought to get rid of, or one that we did have. You can smell the lies from a mile away. That’s not how we should treat our trustworthy friends though. We should be comfortable talking to them.
Being honest about who we are and what we may believe in, is the best way for your friends to really get to know who you are. If we’re not honest and open and approachable, how will they ever feel comfortable talking to us? It kind of falls in line with treating others the way you want to be treated. No one wants a fake friend, so we really should strive to always be transparent and honest.
Granted, friendship doesn’t need to be heavy. Some of us can really struggle with trust though so it’s important to touch base on that if you feel you should. If you happen to struggle with trust, please try and give someone a chance. Talk to someone that you feel has never really hurt you or that you feel is a good example and encouraging. Just a hint: people who are improving in life, are usually good folks. It’s true that eventually bad people get caught. It may not happen immediately, but it will. Not all people are bad though and treating the good ones like they’re not trusting worthy is not fair to them. We can do better than that, even if we have our own struggles, justified or not.
How Do We Handle the Hard Questions?
In order to keep this answer simple, let’s think about how we feel when hard questions come our way. When you get hit with a hard question, how do you respond? Think about how you would feel and what you think they also need in that moment. If you have a friend that can handle a blunt question, then you have little to worry about. Other souls, like me, are a bit more sensitive. Usually you can gauge someone’s sensitivity by just listening to how they respond to others. That’s why it’s nice to make friends in groups. That creates more opportunities to observe how they react to certain things.
Spending time with them has to be step one though. If we don’t take the time to nurture that friendship, how do we ever really get to know them? Spend time with their families. Which is another great way to get to know someone. You generally wouldn’t want to ask them the real hard questions, as they can’t really speak for your friend, but you could ask the small ones. Which give us more information than one may think.
Beyond the little ones though, the hard ones can sometimes be hard to simply put into words. Try to think about who you’re talking to when you have a problem to discuss. If you have friends, you’ve probably had drama, I mean problems… We’d all like to be able to honestly say that we’ve led a drama free life, men that means you too, but we haven’t. When we have a real issue, it needs to be discussed. Be sure to not make a mountain out of a mole hill though. Don’t create problems. Who needs that? Not a soul.
How to Handle it When Things Get Hard
We all run into problems in our friendships. We all make mistakes, and no one is innocent. Being friends with understanding and loving people is key, first of all. You’ll never get anywhere with a bad friend. I good friend though, they’re capable of forgiveness. Sometimes, we say things, we do things, we show things that we shouldn’t. Job number one as a friend is to find out exactly what you did to hurt them. Job number two is to apologize. Apologizing can be hard, but when we make mistakes we should buck up, grow some courage and do what we need to do. Treat others the way you want to be treated.
That last sentence speaks volumes. We should always think about how we would like to be talked to. We should think about how we would like to be confronted, even with the hard stuff. Remember, stay humble. If a friend has done you wrong, remember that you’re not perfect either. We all screw up and forgiveness matters.
Forgiveness is one thing, being a doormat is a whole other thing. We should never let people take advantage of us. Now, we all go through hard times. A friend may not always have time during the day to talk. They may not even have enough time to text. Being understanding is wonderful. If you have a friend that only talks to you when they want something, that’s wrong. We shouldn’t be friends with people who just take, take, take. We need to not only have givers in our lives, but we need to be givers ourselves. Sometimes that giving comes in the form of understanding.
Questions Lead to Understanding
When friends are going through hard times, we should be sure we’re checking on them. We all know what it feels like to be alone. Although being alone isn’t a bad thing, I really enjoy my alone time. When our friends are going through some hard times, we should be there. Asking how we can help. Asking what they need. Not only should we be asking questions, but we need to make sure that we’re following through on any offers we make for help.
Always be ready to ask your friends what kind of help they need. Sometimes, it could just be a moment for a busy mom to shower. It could be checking in on your college friends to see if they could use some help with anything. College is busy and most college students need to have a job in order to pay for that. See when they’re next day off is. Ask them if you can take them out. Gratis. We should all be working hard to be givers in our friendships. Sometimes the simple act of offering is enough. Just be kind to your friends and you will find friends who are willing to do the same for you.
It’s important to find friends who not only appreciate your offer to help but they should offer help as well. Example, we all have to move eventually. If we never help our friends move, why would they? If we have helped them move though, real friends should usually offer to help in some way. Don’t get me wrong, we can’t always do everything to help everyone. For our closest friends though, we should be there. If we can’t be there right on moving day, you could go and help them clean their old place or help them unpack in their new place. So, if you’ve been blessed with friends who have helped you move, think about returning the favor.
Let’s Get Lighthearted and Fun With it.
There is literally a game oriented around asking questions. In fact, more than one. Let’s focus on the game of 20 questions though. I wouldn’t doubt for one moment that there is an app out there for that. Usually, we all go through some big unique things. Some people don’t go through the same traumas as others. I feel like the little stuff is where we can find a lot of joy and shared experience. Ever done something dumb and got yourself in trouble? Yup! Find a way to talk about those things.
Also try to think about the kind of questions you like to be asked. Do you like to talk about your childhood? I do. I love talking about stories with my brothers and how being the only girl could sometimes be interesting to say the least. If they’re an only child, talk about what they did. How did they play? Or if you were an only child, ask the same questions. We may have friends who knew us when we were small, but that doesn’t mean they know all of the things. We all have funny stories somewhere in our lives, time to tell them. If you have kids, you know the weird things they’re capable of doing.
Some friends have kids, and some don’t. Sometimes it’s not a good thing to ask if someone is every going to have kids, so try to avoid that one. Asking all nonchalant like instead of with expectation can really help. Just don’t go in hot right off the bat. If both of you have kids though, make talking about them a thing. They don’t have to be the same ages or even be the same gender. Kids do some weird stuff and it can get rather hilarious. While a lot of us hang out with friends in order to get a break from our kids, we still tend to talk about them to each other, a lot.
The Only Foolish Question is One That Isn’t Asked
I think we all heard it in school, the only stupid question is one that isn’t asked. Or we hear that there’s no such thing as a stupid question. I definitely have days when I feel like that’s not true. My eight-year-old sure has a way with asking everything possible about nothing. Not kidding, kids are goobers. It’s how we learn though, so patience is key. Even with our adult friends. I’m the type of person that could live in a world of asking and learning. Not everyone’s like that though.
Try not to bombard your quiet friends. I’m not trying to say that you can’t talk to your quieter friends. They need people too sometimes. I think we’ve all heard the phrase, “opposites attract” which means it’s happened. Friendships that we normally wouldn’t see happen, seem to happen. My best friend, for instance, is the extrovert to end all extroverts. She’s with people all the time, never is bothered, all the things I adore about her. Myself, I am probably one of the biggest introverts I know. I do know some who are even more so than I, but not many to be honest.
Just remember, you’ll never get to know them, you’ll never let them get to know you, if you don’t start asking questions. Be creative. Listen. See what they like to talk about and run with it. I think we’re all capable in seeing patterns rather quickly. I, myself, am rather creative, so of course my best friend is always asking me what I’m making now. As a busy body, I always ask her what she’s doing today and how in the world she manages to do all that in one day. I’ll never be able to wrap my head around it.
Be courageous and be kind. That’s the type of people we need as well. Be the person you’ve needed in your life.