Parent Life: The Importance of Healthy Grownup Friendships

Parent Life: The Importance of Healthy Grownup Friendships

- in 2023 Editions, February 2023, Magazine

Not long after my twins were born, I learned my friends had been gossiping behind my back about me being a single mom. I was already trying to process and heal from my twins’ father walking out, so the added pain of friend betrayal caused me to shut down and reject the idea of friendship. It was difficult to make and maintain friendships because it was hard to believe people were genuine and friendship didn’t hurt. After a couple of years with this approach, I began to feel lonely and isolated.

We aren’t meant to do life alone. People are created to be in a community for a reason. Just because I had a bad experience, didn’t mean that all people were bad and that all friendships would be painful. Instead of shutting down, I strengthened my discernment and paid more attention to red flags. For example, if you are around people who talk about other people, then chances are they talk about you when you’re not in the room.   

However, swearing off friendships not only robs you of the opportunity to build and experience the joy of community, it also robs your children of important lessons on what healthy friendships look like and how to be a good friend. These are essential skills they will need to learn to navigate school relationships, recognize and avoid “frenemies,” not participate in bullying, and build healthy relationships as an adult.

As I began to rebuild my self-worth, self-esteem, and self-confidence, I no longer wanted to hide from people and friendships because of fear. I wanted real, authentic friendships but how I approached friendship needed to change. I defined what a good friend was and also loved myself enough to walk away from toxic relationships and establish boundaries to protect my mental health. I also learned how to be a good friend while protecting my boundaries. Learning what real friendship looks like, what to look for in a friend, and how to be a good friend is also important so I can model and teach this to my children.  

Evaluate your current friendships and determine which ones need to stay, go, or change. If you’ve been running from friendships I challenge you to recognize good people exist and to equip yourself with the knowledge and skills to build healthy friendships.

Aisha Taylor is a mom of twins who equips single mothers to grow their faith, walk in purpose, and be financially free so they can reclaim their time and live in true freedom. She is a Northeast Ohio Parent Magazine blogger and the author of “Navigating the “Impossible”: A Survival Guide for Single Moms From Pregnancy Through the First Year of Motherhood”.

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