Friends are important for lots of reasons. They make sure we don't drink alone, they send us motivational GIFs when we have bad days and they make sure we get the perfect Instagram photos at brunch. But, there's a way to make our friendships more meaningful.
What if we gave our friends the authority to honestly speak on our lives? Here are three steps to creating feedback-friendly relationships in our lives:
1. Think about the people in your circle.
Who is living a life you are impressed by? Whose opinion do you value? Whose life is honorable and whose character is strong? Because being asked to honestly speak into someone's life is a privilege. This type of authority should be carefully given to those who have earned it. A few weeks ago, a friend and I were having a conversation about asking friend's feedback on significant others.
She asked, “If your close friend said she didn't think he was right for you, would that really change your mind?” Without hesitation, I agreed and further explained that because I choose my friends so carefully, I trust their opinions and characters immensely. It would almost feel disrespectful not to consider their opinions.
2. Ask for it.
Instead of a New Year's resolution, my friend Amanda asked the five people closest to her for honest feedback about areas of her life that need improvement. As I've said, be selective about who is on that list, but make sure the selected people know you want and value their input. Be intentional and specific about asking for feedback.
You could say, “Guys keep ghosting me. Do you have any honest feedback on what I might be doing wrong?” Or, “My relationship with my dad is strained. From the details I've told you, do you see any areas where I need to improve my attitude or my actions?” These conversations might be awkward at first, but you get better with time and they can drastically improve your awareness and your character.
3. Be gracious in your response.
Even if you don't necessarily agree, don't argue. Accept the feedback, process it and try to view your life through that lens to see if you might be missing something. Don't forget my first point, and realize that the people you ask feedback from should know you very well and have your best interests at heart. By keeping those two things in mind, it's easier to accept feedback as a positive gift rather than a personal attack. Prepare yourself to not take things personally, but to objectively discern and apply their feedback to your life.
We're all figuring it out as we go, and we're trying to grow along the way. Surrounding yourself with people you respect and giving them the authority to speak on your life might be tough, but it's one of the best ways to grow into the best person you can be.
This article was originally published on AliMotroni.com.