The year 2016 has come and gone. But I want you to expect a couple of write ups related to last year. I have a few more to write.
Have you read the four lessons that I learned from my friends in 2015? If you have, then you should know that I pay attention to my interactions with friends. These “lessons from friends” were not taught to me directly. I picked these lessons from my friends by interacting with them.
So without wasting your time, here are the seven lessons that I learned from my friends in the year 2016.
1. About Being Yourself
I know I am weird, and people who know me, know this too. But I have this friend who is weird in a weird way. lol. She is weird in a way that makes me not feel like a weirdo at all.
After visiting her a couple of times at home, I started to notice something around her place. I cannot tell you what it was, but she needed new ones because most of the one I saw were old and/or worn out. It would be a nice gesture to get her some new ones, especially with valentine around the corner. Then I will have an excuse to give a gift, rather than out of the blue. Or At least I thought it was a nice gesture.
So I went out an bought her some new stuff. I was out of town, so I had a mutual friend deliver the gift to my friend. For reference purpose, let us call our mutual friend Eon.
There was a gap in communication between Eon and I about the delivery. Eon thought that my friend was expecting the gift, so she did not explain that they were from me. Unknown to Eon, my friend had no idea about the gift!
After dropping off the gift, Eon told me that my friend was so thankful for the gifts. Eon did not say anything about me, and gave the impression that the gifts were from Eon. lol. So my friend wondered how Eon could they have known that she needed them, because she really needed them. Being mutual friends, it was not so out of place for Eon to get her those gifts.
Well, I decided not to say anything about the gift until I was back in town. When I returned, I asked my friend if she liked the things I got for her. And her response? Her response shocked me!
“What is wrong with you? she asked. “Why will you buy stuff like this for me?”
Whaat?! No “oh thanks, I liked them” or something similar? Wow!
She made me feel like I had committed an abominable and unspeakable act! Why? Because she thought it was weird for me to gift her such items!
I was shocked!
I told Eon about her reaction, and she too was shocked! Then I remember that I have also gotten similar gifts for other people in the past… they were were thankful! And some of them were not even as close as I was with this weird friend of mine.
Even so, Eon was honest with me when she said there was nothing wrong with what I did, and that it was “normal”. And then I realized that…
There are abnormal people in life, but that should not stop us from doing what is normal
2. About Communication
I saw this photo in January 2016, and it summarizes this lesson about communication:
One thing I realized last year was that the word “friendship” means different things to different people. So when someone says “let us just be friends“, you both can have different things in mind. And it is the same with everything we say to others. Different words simply mean different things to different people.
The problem with this is that when you say one thing to someone, they could read a different meaning from it.
When you I say “I have a new date”, some people understand that I just started a new committed relationship. Some others understand that I met a new girl who I am still getting to know if we could have a future relationship.
So after several clashes with a friend who usually is not explicit with me, I came to realize something.
Sometimes we assume that people understand what we mean when we talk. But it is not always this way.
Often times, it is better to be clear in stating exactly what we mean. It is better to be explicit, to avoid the miscommunication of our ideas and intentions. And as a listener it is wise to ask questions rather than make assumptions. It is even worse to draw conclusions based on those assumptions. So…
Be explicit when communicating; do not assume the other person will understand what you mean
3. About One’s Self
As funny as this may sound, some people do not actually know themselves!
By default, I take my time to study everyone that I interact with. It helps me relate better with people I have interests in, unless I have no interest in you.
As a result, I tend to know some of my friends better than they know themselves. And after a while, I can predict their behaviors in certain situations. And I can often predict their reactions to certain things.
But how can one not actually know themselves?
At first, I thought it was because they were not mindful enough. That could be true for some people, but I do not think so about most people. Bu I came to understand that being mindful is one of the keys to knowing one’s self.
To know yourself, be aware of yourself, be honest with yourself
Many years ago, we had this discussion about people telling lies to themselves. I do not remember what we concluded, but people can sometimes not be honest with themselves. That is, they lie to themselves, or choose to believe false things about themselves.
Someone who lies to themselves and is not mindful, probably does not know themselves.
So to know yourself truly, you first must be mindful (aware of yourself). Then you have to be honest with yourself… to thy self be true.
4. About Regrets
They say that experience is the best teacher. Again, I do not agree with this statement. But there are always lessons to learn from every experience we go through. I mean, this entire article is about lessons from experiences with friends.
But I always observe something whenever I ask people “What did you learn from this experience?”. Often times, people will tell me about the things that they regret from the experience.
One day a friend told me about how her previous relationship ended. Thereafter I asked her “so what did you learn from that experience?”. Before she answered, I added “tell me the lessons learned, and not your regrets”. She said “yea, I know the difference” and then went on to count the lessons she had learned.
Although I asked that question unconsciously, her answer made me realize what I asked. Then I became more aware of the question, and the lesson here…
Do not confuse regrets, with lessons learned… They are not the same
5. About Relationships
“No relationship is perfect” is one cliche that we are all used to hearing. Again, I do not agree with this statement. I just feel that people have the wrong idea of what a “perfect” relationship is (or is not).
It seems that some people think a “perfect” relationship is one that is void of issues, or ups and downs. Some people seem to think that relationships are a bed of roses.
Actually, relationships are a bed of roses. And roses have thorns too, remember? And I could not have agreed more with my friend when she said…
No relationship is just champagne and roses… you have got to taste the hangover and the thorns as well
This makes a lot of sense. Even if you think relationships are champagne and roses, you still have to experience the hangover thereafter. And let us not forget the thorns that come with rose flowers.
There is the loneliness that comes after the companion is gone. There is the cold that comes after the warmth felt is over. There is the noise that comes after the silence is gone. The is pain that comes after the pleasure stops.
It is not all ups and no downs. That is the deal when you buy the whole package called a “relationship”.
6. About Love
This is one important lesson about love, and relationships. The first time my friend made this statement, I did not understand. I did not agree until she gave me this illustration (as I remember it).
Imagine that love is coffee, and you like your coffee in a certain way… strong and black, with no cream or sugar. Then imagine that to win your love, a partner has to get you coffee just the way you like it.
Now someone comes along, and tries to win your love. What do they do? They put the effort in to boil some water, get some good coffee and try to make you a cup… just the way you like it.
But while their water is yet to boil, someone else comes along with an already made cup of coffee… just the way you like it! And what happens? You go with the person who already has coffee the way you like it!
Love is not by effort
While this illustration may not properly explain what she meant, I understood the message.
What it means is that there is someone who will love and accept you just as you are. You need not put extra effort to become someone or something else, so that someone else can love and accept you.
You may think that a guy or girl you like will not love you because you talk a lot (for example). So you try to talk less. And even though you feel like a fraud, you do so just to win their love.
Whereas there is someone who will love you as talkative. Then while you are trying to downplay your talking, they come across someone who does not talk as much as you. And what happens? They go with that person, and all your effort will be for nothing!
Love, is not by effort. Be yourself, be authentic, be original, and someone will love you for you. It is either they love you as you are, or they do not.
7. About Self-worth
This was a statement that I could not wrap my head around. This was from the same person who said that love is not by effort.
Never give discounts to people who can not afford your worth
At first I thought she said to never give discounts to people who cannot afford your love. And when you think of it that way, is more difficult to understand.
But when I replaced “love” with “worth”, it became easier to understand why you should not give discounts to people who cannot afford your love. Now let me explain about the worth, then think of it as love instead.
Some people do not know what they are worth. I too was guilty of this in a few areas of my life. For example, I often sold myself short in relationships. And I thought of myself as less competent at work. Thankfully, I learned that the opposites was true of myself and I now know what I am worth.
Kudos to those who know their worth… not over-priced, not under-priced.
When you know your worth, any one who wants you can either afford you or they can not.
Giving discounts to people who cannot afford your worth is a lesson about standards. And you know what happens when you lower your standards because of others. It lowers your worth because you have valued yourself less than what you are worth.
A discount off what you are worth means that the person paid a price less than what you are worth. They will always value you at what it cost them, and not at what you are truly worth.
Giving a discount says “I am not actually worth this, so you can have me for less”. I am sure you get the lesson here. And no, I do not mean selling yourself literally. lol. Now think about it all in terms of love. Do you get it now?
So there you have it; the seven life lessons that I learned from my friends in 2016.
What about you? What lessons did you learn from your friends in 2016?
Please share in the comments section below. Thanks!