Cultivating Healthy Friendships

Cultivating Healthy Friendships

Life is infinitely more beautiful when you go through it with people you love and respect by your side. My friendships are one of the most important aspect of my life, and I am grateful every single day for the amazing friends I have. If you don’t know by now, relationships take work, even the best ones do. You can’t expect that it’s all just going to be a walk in the park. Maintaining healthy relationships takes dedication. It’s just like anything, the more you put into your relationships the more you will inevitably get out of them.

Lee and I first started talking via Instagram in early 2016. I always admired Lee’s work and got a feeling we would vibe well together. Over the next year, we kept in touch and started talking about the potential of working together. We wanted to do some sort of event together and would have FaceTime dates to catch up and chat through ideas. Over the months, we talked several times, and we would always talk about how crazy it was that we still had never met. Finally in February of 2017, I decided enough was enough, and I was just going to fly down to LA in early March so Lee and I could finally meet in person. It was actually kind of hilarious because we would always joke that we were in a LDR (long-distance relationship), and I remember in the hours leading up to our meeting I felt nervous like I was going on a first date. We met at the Whole Foods 365 store in east LA, and when we saw each other from across the produce, we ran screaming with our arms flung wide towards each other. I’ll never forget it.

It’s only been a year since then, but it honestly feels like Lee and I have been friends for a lifetime. We always say that we must’ve been friends in another life. Our connection felt very real and authentic right off the bat. This past year, we were lucky enough to work together, but we also made a solid effort to stay close. The first 6 months after we met, we saw each other almost every month. Like with all friendships, Lee and I have had our share of problems. No relationship is perfect. But through open communication, vulnerability, honesty and unwavering support, we’ve been able to work through the conflicts that have arisen, ultimately coming out feeling stronger and more connected together. It’s so important to be able to talk to the people you love and even though it is difficult to bring up conflict and be willing to talk through it and see another perspective. Lee and I decided to collaborate on this blog post when we were on a recent trip to Joshua Tree. We wanted to share about our friendship and 8 qualities that we think help cultivate healthy friendships. Check out the other 4 over in Lee’s post.

Honesty
Being able to talk to one another and be open about feelings and situations that arise is so important. Without honesty, a friendship weakens. Feeling like you can’t tell your friend what’s on your mind ultimately leads to a lack of desire to want to spend time with them or be close with them. Often times, the hardest part is getting up the courage to say what you’re feeling out loud to the other person. I find that usually the reaction I think someone is going to have ends up being totally made up in my head.

Sense of Humor // Fun
What’s friendship without fun?! I feel so grateful that Lee and I have had so many fun adventures together already, and some more exciting ones on the horizon(!!!). I definitely feel like Lee and I have a similar sense of humor. As friends, I think it’s so important to be able to laugh at the same things. To feel like you’re on the same frequency in terms of humor is a really, really good feeling.

Values // Shared Interest 
Sharing similar values and ideas about life is super helpful in cultivating a strong friendship. Although not entirely necessary, sharing similar values with a friend allows you to connect over common interest and mutual understanding. Lee and I value many of the same things in life and in our relationships. We share common interests which gives us ways we can interact together and strengthen and deepen our connection. This past year, we’ve participated in moon circles together, discussed the future and what our dreams are, took yoga classes together, made delicious healthy meals together and talked about political turmoil and social injustices. It’s inspiring and comforting to be able to connect with a friend over shared values and interest.

Support
Support is at the core of every thriving relationship. To have each other’s backs and to be there to encourage one another. Whether you’re making big life decisions or just need some extra attention, having a friend’s support can help so much. Being in the same industry, Lee and I have definitely had to deal with feelings of competition and comparing ourselves to one another. Ultimately, we’ve both found that collaboration and support trump competition and insecurity. When we are able to lift each other up and fully support what the other is doing, we ultimately stand more fully in our own power.

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5 comments

Cailee March 7, 2018 - 5:38 pm

i loved this post alison! my best friend from high school is coming to portland to visit me for a week this summer and i was kind of freaking out because our lifestyles are pretty different. i’m super into healthy living and i was self-conscious of her seeing some of the weird supplements / practices i do for my health out of fear she wouldn’t “get it.” this post kind of calmed that fear and made me realize that the only way to create a lasting friendship is by being open, honest, and vulnerable.

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alison wu March 10, 2018 - 2:03 am

Yes! You should be proud of who you are! Especially for living a healthy life. Any true friend will recognize that.

XO

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Monica Mulhern March 9, 2018 - 10:12 pm

Great input on female friendships and you both figured out in a short period of time what takes women years to figure out. Really enjoyed it. A quick question? Cute pants on both of you? Brown and white wide legs, who makes them, please? Thank you and keep sharing, Monica

Reply
alison wu March 10, 2018 - 2:02 am

Hi Monica!

They’re from Jesse Kamm.

XO

Reply
Wøle´ March 18, 2018 - 3:26 pm

Alison,
This is such a beautiful post, it speaks to me on many levels. it reminds me of the friendships that I continue to enjoy, it also tells me to keep working at these relationships because when all said an done, I see relationships as an extension of family and equally as important.
I love so much what you and Lee have .
I share the love of food with you both and I will continue to lean from what you are both doing and sharing with the world.
Thanks again, Wøle´

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