Why We Close Ourselves Off to Friendships and How to Open Up

Written by on March 23, 2019 in Conscious Evolution, Conscious Living, Thrive with 0 Comments

Image Credit: Tiny Buddha

By Kelly Pietrangeli | Tiny Buddha

“If you accept a limiting belief, then it will become a truth for you.” ~Louise Hay

Picking the flimsy gold lock on my groovy denim-covered childhood diary, I’m instantly transported back to my ten-year-old life.

Each page duly describes what I what I ate for dinner that day as well as what my two best friends and I got up to. It was 1976 and we were obsessed with Charlie’s Angels, cruising around “undercover” on our bikes, solving fresh crimes around the neighborhood.

Every couple of weeks I’d report the latest drama amongst the three of us. Either my two friends had inexplicably turned against me, or one of them had coerced me into siding with them in a never-ending series of turmoil.

By the time we were teenagers, we’d drifted apart and I’d started struggling to form female friendships that weren’t fraught with gossip or backstabbing

When I got to university I’d firmly made up my mind that girls weren’t to be trusted and I only wanted guy friends. I made an exception for one girlfriend who felt the same, and we went on to be roommates, priding ourselves on our fun circle of male-only friends.

It’s fascinating to reflect on how belief systems are formed. The more I told myself this story of females being intrinsically bad news, the more I avoided getting close to any. As I grew into an adult, my theory was again proven as I got sucked into more dramas and gossip.

Once I got married, my husband became my best friend. He was never jealous of my male friends, and we enjoyed a great social life with other couples. However, after we started a family I found myself navigating fresh female waters: the mothers at the school gates!

I immediately sensed a minefield of gossip and competitiveness. It would have been easier to drop my kids off and go, but I had their social lives to think about too.

Thankfully, I got back into journaling around this time, and I used it as a way to get to know myself better. I explored my struggles on paper and tapped into my wiser, all-knowing self to discover that, for me, the secret to having great female friendships was to see special ones individually, never forming a group.

I turned down all invitations for ‘Girls Nights Out’ or weekends away, as that dynamic wasn’t appealing. I now had a small handful of genuinely lovely girlfriends whose company I cherished and who shared my values of trust and openness. I made a point of seeing them one-to-one and never introduced them to each other, treasuring our meaningful conversations.

One day I heard about a series of life coaching workshops and felt immediately drawn to sign up. I invited a dear friend to join me, but she couldn’t make it, so I invited another special friend who eagerly accepted. How fun to have a once-a-week date together to focus on our lives. But then something ‘terrible’ happened. The first friend I’d invited called back and said she’d rearranged her schedule and was excited to now be able to join me after all!

This sent my head into a spin. I decided my only choice was go with them both.

Although we all lived on the same street, I’d deliberately never introduced them to each other because of my flashbacks to the three-way friendship dramas of my childhood. “One-to-one friendships only” had become my rule.

Together in the car on our way to the first workshop, I endured small talk and introductions, rather than delving into meaningful subjects as I normally did with each of them. But by the time we left the workshop venue, we were all riding on a high of inspiration, so we headed straight to a restaurant to download our insights over lunch.

We did the same thing again every week and by the time the course ended, we’d agreed to form a monthly meet-up for the ‘soul’ purpose of working on our lives together.

That was in 2008, and we’ve met every month since.

Our Power Posse is based on absolute openness and deep mutual trust. Having our monthly check-in to share on how each area of our life is going helps us clarify our intentions and goals. It gives us accountability and motivation to live our best lives.

We’ve even run retreats together, inviting other women with a growth-mindset to join us. I’d have never imagined this back when I was still telling myself the false story that females aren’t to be trusted.

In my case, I held myself back with the limiting belief that group dynamics among women were dangerous. Perhaps you hold a different belief that prevents you from forming and maintaining friendships…..



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