Can I Phone A Friend?

Friendship circle.

Back in high school, a wise friend once told me:

The older you get, you will start to realize that you only have five friends. And if you’re really lucky, you will have two really good friends.”

I thought that was crazy but man was he right.

My problem was never getting to that point though. All my life, I always had two really good friends. I was never the one who had the group of friends. My squad goals were two really close people I could always call and consistently life update or complain to. I always wondered how all those brides have all those bridesmaids. I could barely think of like 12 people total to invite to my birthday brunch last month.

As outgoing as I tend to be, I like to keep my friend circle small. In reality, I never needed many friends to make me feel popular or loved. My relationships always followed the quality over quantity rule and it worked really well.

Well…until I would start to feel waves of FOMO on the weekends or would think to myself: I don’t really have any girlfriends. But those thoughts and feelings were coming from a place where people tend broadcast their highlight reels.

Social friendships.

Social media doesn’t help when you’re thinking those things or feeling like you’re missing out on someone’s awesome brunch group, but it’s a part of our reality and sometimes it can make us feel worse about ourselves and our own friendships.

During my 40 days without social media cleanse, Facebook liked reminding me that I had a lot more friends on social media than in real life. I mean it counts them for me! How could I have missed out on my Outlook contacts from middle school!?

Wow Facebook. Thanks.

I’m going to be honest, there were days in my cleanse where I felt really lonely. There were days where I really wanted to connect to WiFi, just to connect with my friends by looking at their pictures and status updates. It’s like crack and I needed my scroll. It was bad. 

But, those were the relationships I was trying to get away from. I was looking for some real friends. Call me old school, but I wanted some phone calls on the ride home from work where I talked to my about my day. I wanted some face-to-face time instead of just FaceTime. I wanted real friendships, not surface level ones.

Reaching out.

But as much as I wanted friends, making new friends as an adult is hard. You know this. And of course being in your cloud of sadness can start to fill your mind with sappy thoughts. But you don’t have to make things so difficult for yourself. You don’t have to start from scratch to find friends. You have friends. You just have to reach out more.

One of the first weeks of my cleanse I was naturally feeling like I was missing out on life. But I knew that wasn’t true and that my true friends were just a phone call away. So one day I asked my cleanse if I could phone a friend, like on my phone. Yeah you can call people on your tiny computer you got at the Apple Store. Go figure.

My cleanse agreed that this was the whole point of this thing, so I called a friend and she came over that night. We ate donuts for dinner and drank Chardonnay. We talked about what was stressing us out that week, what was heavy on our hearts. Then we planned our cheese plate for our first ever book club meeting. Which includes her and I. I know how that sounds but according to club rules it’s 2 or more, emphasis on the 2.

It was such a great night and I didn’t even post about it on social media while it was happening. Breakthrough! But that night made me realize that real friendships exist and I was really lucky to have one as great as the one with the donuts and Chardonnay. So I made it a goal to keep that going even after my cleanse. We haven’t had donuts in a while, but we still catch up face to face. And now whenever I feel lonely or feel that I don’t have any friends, I reach out.

Earlier this year I was feeling like I needed some new friends so I decided to go look for some. I started this thing I called a girlfriends project, where I reached out and tried to get together with old friends I had lost touch with. I opened up my Rolodex on Facebook and started asking old friends if they wanted to get together for pizza, wine, movies, anything.

At first it was nerve-wrecking. I hadn’t seen some of these people in years and some were just friends I had from one class in college, but all of them responded and I made plans with nearly all of them. Some I continued to see, some I see every so often, some introduced me to more friends, but the exercise in reaching out reminded me that I had them. When you do this, not if, some will work out and some won’t, but you’ll never know unless you try! So reach out. Face to face. You got this.

Lovelee Lesson:

Reach out more. After you use your phone to call and make plans, put it away and have some face to face time with your lovely friends. You can take pictures of your awesome and delicious donuts but remember that you can post it later. Stay present.

If you’re feeling like you don’t have any friends, I’m going to stop you right there because you do. I tell myself the same thing, so I know what kind of defense you’re hiding behind. You’ll be surprised on how many people still live in the city you’re in after all those years. And if you’re in a new city, I’m sure a friend knows a friend that lives in the city you’re in, so ask! The whole point is to reach out and find your squad. Even if that’s just a 2 person book club. Every squad is #squadgoals because it’s your squad.

Loving Yourself In A Lonely World

Love yourself like a friend.

You’ve got a friend in you.

We always hear to treat others the way you want to be treated. Putting others first is something I have always kept as a priority. Being positive and encouraging to my friends when they need someone on their side? I’m there. But often times, we forget to see ourselves as a friend. And when everyone seems to be so far away, we tend to shoot down the one person who is always there for us, no matter what.

I’m talking about you, yourself, and you. 

There have been many times where I have not been the nicest person to myself. I have said things, to help me move on or distract me from what I’m really feeling—really mean things. Things I would never say to my friends or the people that I love.

I would beat myself up and pick myself apart.

I’m not pretty enough. He wouldn’t be interested in someone like me. I’m not good enough.”

Imagine me telling you:

You’re not pretty enough. He wouldn’t be interested in someone like you. You’re not good enough.”

Ouch. Now do you feel the daggers?

I learned to shut off that well and cured the toxins. I’m not saying it doesn’t leak every now and then, but I became aware of the words I was using to hurt myself, telling myself hurtful things I would never tell people I loved.

I know it’s not easy. Sometimes when I open the door to negative thoughts, they flood in and there is no going back—it’s hard to shut off that well. But, when things don’t go our way, or we feel as if there is no one on our side, we can’t be the first to defeat ourselves.

As we hold ourselves to the standards of others, comparing yourself to others is never the answer. You should always want to be the best you that you can be. Because the path you’re on was only written for you, no one else. Putting yourself down and telling yourself what you want doesn’t exist or that your imperfections are louder than the beautiful parts of you, only creates a lonelier world. Why would you want that?

Sometimes it’s a lonely world out there.

We get lonely.

We crave that validation of self-worth from others and put too much pressure on them to fulfill what we already know and have inside of us. And sometimes, that isn’t enough so we go searching for more. We try to find it in people, social media, dating apps, success in the work place, you name it—we’ve all searched for it in one form or another.

In people…

We meet people who treat us like an option that didn’t even have a chance. Or we meet people that are really great for us, they check off one big box off our checklist and we think it’s all that we need. We get caught up in the fulfillment that we forget to ask ourselves if we really are fulfilled. Then, sometimes we meet people that fulfill our voids for the time being and we forget to check-in and ask ourselves if we are happy, if we are okay, if this is what we want, if we are deserved to be treated this way…

We put pressure on people to give us things we need. We hold them on a perfect pedestal, always expecting them to be the perfect person, our hero. But no one is perfect. No one will ever check every box you need except you. The universe will always send you someone when you need to be reawakened, sometimes it’s not even a person—it can even be a dog. But people will not complete you, they will only help you complete you.

In places…

Sometimes we travel the world to sustain us. We leave and never want to come back. Life is easier when we aren’t dealing with ourselves or our problems back home. Don’t get me wrong, traveling is a good thing. Traveling teaches you things about yourself. You learn more about yourself when you travel. You receive signs and tools and experiences to help yourself grow. Just don’t forget to come home and use those experiences to work on yourself. Travel will always be there.

Connect the two and search for answers to questions you hide within yourself. That’s what places are for—to unveil things for you, to help you love yourself more. They are there to provide a different environment or prospective. Places help you see what you’ve been blinded from seeing in yourself.

In things…

Sometimes self-worth gets trapped in things like Instagram followers or Facebook likes. These things have grown to become an instant source of validation. We don’t need them, but they’re so addictive. They validate what we are looking for in an instant. It’s easy, quick, and doesn’t require you to work on yourself.

At the end of the day, it shouldn’t matter who liked your post. If you thought it was cleaver, witty, touching—all that matters is you thought and felt that. At the end of the day if you take a selfie and post it, it shouldn’t matter how many likes you get. The point is, in that moment you felt beautiful and you wanted to always remember that. The validation you have in yourself will start to fuel your self-love and worth.

Self-love is better than loneliness.

Because those things are easy, loving yourself—that’s hard.

We live in a world where society likes to put you in a box. Where social media and body standards constantly change. We live in a world where it’s easy to give up on yourself. Where it’s easy to give in and settle into something or someone that doesn’t fulfill you completely or even meet you halfway. And I wish it wasn’t this way. But you have the power to control that and channel it into self-love instead of validation from others.

What’s hard is using that energy for yourself. What’s hard is learning to love yourself. We need to put in the work to love ourselves the way we hope other people love us, the way we love our passions, the way we love to get a hit of instant validation. We need to water our own seeds if we ever want to see them grow. You need to make time for YOU.

Practice Self-Love.

So next time those mean thoughts emerge from the darkness, turn on the light. Say something positive instead. Even if it’s not about you. I know some of you find it hard to compliment yourself, I’ve been there. We can take baby steps. So even if the thought is complimenting someone else, that counts too. 

Positive thoughts are the only cure to toxic, negative ones. 

Give yourself some time to recognize those hurtful words, change them into positive ones, then do something to make you feel good about yourself. Buy yourself flowers, take yourself out on a date, start a bullet journal, sign up for that exercise class you’ve always wanted to try, do something you’ve always wanted to do. You’ll start to see yourself bloom and love will radiate within you.

Lovelee Lesson:

You have to remember that you should always be your number one fan, as best as you can be. At the end of the day, whatever it is you are struggling with, don’t shut yourself down so easily. Stop and thinking about the hurtful words that you are telling yourself and check yourself—is this something I would be telling my mom or my best friend if they were in this situation? I can guarantee you that the answer is no. Why would you? You love them too much to hurt them like that.

You are as important as those that you love. Don’t forget to treat yourself like a friend. Don’t look for what’s wrong with you. There’s nothing wrong with you. Look for the things that make you, you. And go fall in love with yourself. I for one, think you’re exquisitely lovely. And you are so loved. Even and especially by your truest, most loveliest friend: you.