The Secret to Navigating Friendships & Personal Growth

How to attract, release, & shift friendships during a period of reinvention

8 friends linking arms overlooking a view

Photo by Duy Pham on Unsplash

You’ve probably heard the adage that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Your friendships play a tremendously important role in how you get along and evolve as an individual.

While your friendships offer support and camaraderie, they can just as easily keep you stuck or cause you to unwittingly play small.

In my role as a mindset coach, I frequently work with clients who are in the midst of a personal uplevel or reinvention. Perhaps they’re pursuing a drastic career change like a shift to an entrepreneurial venture, a spiritual awakening, or a massive lifestyle change such as electing to go alcohol-free.

Whatever the case, they all come to me with one common block: the fear that they’ll become a social outcast if they make a move that suddenly makes them appear as “different” than their current friends.

Maybe you’ve been there. I know I have and I can attest to the level of anxiety I felt when I let the fear of rejection creep in. Let me share a bit of my story for context.

Nearly four years ago, I’d started to sense that my relationship with alcohol was no longer serving me. I was on the verge of a massive uplevel in many areas of my life. I was being nudged to step into a new career path which would require a lot of drive and attention. I was also feeling called to pursue a deeper spiritual connection and study. When I did the math, it seemed quite simple that my social life was holding me back from stepping into the life my soul was aching for.

While I felt the desire to make a shift deep in my core, I was also irrationally afraid to do so because I knew it would mean stepping away from a lifestyle that I’d built much of my identity around. My entire social life was built around happy hours, late nights, and boozy brunches. I could not fathom how I’d be able to maintain my friendships if I elected to become sober. Furthermore, I saw little hope of meeting new friends in a world where the only model of socialization I’d been shown involved alcohol.

My fear of becoming a social outcast caused me to avoid pursuing an alcohol-free lifestyle for longer than I’d like to admit. Finally, the whisper of my inner guide became a very loud roar. On January 1, 2017, I made the decision to take a break from alcohol. The break led to many breakthroughs, which led to what I now view as a permanent breakup from booze. This decision was the catalyst for a massive personal uplevel and reinvention which also caused me to completely reevaluate what I looked for in friendships.

I share this to say that I truly know what it’s like to shift your lifestyle so drastically that you have no choice but to reevaluate everything you’ve come to believe about friendship — including making friends and being a good friend. What follows are my personal frames for navigating friendships during your own personal uplevel or reinvention.

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

Get clear on what you desire.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume you don’t have a clear list of what you desire out of a friendship. Am I right? If so, let me lead you through one of my favorite exercises. I call it The Inventory™. This is a super-simple exercise that will help you get crystal clear on what you’d like to manifest into your friendship circle…as well as what you’d like to avoid.

To begin, grab a blank sheet of paper and something to write with. Yes, this needs to be done by hand, not digitally. Fold the paper in half vertically to create two columns. Label the first column, “More of This” and label the second column, “Less of That”. You’ll fill these columns with the characteristics you’d like to see more/less of in your friendships.

You’ll start by bringing to mind your most significant current friendships to use as models. Fill both columns with the characteristics from those friendships that you’d like to see more/less of in future friendships.

It’s likely that there will be some characteristics you’d like to manifest or avoid that aren’t present in your current friendships; add these to the list too.

The result will be a (mostly) comprehensive list of what you desire in your friendships.

Affirm your Deservingness.

Take a moment to review the “More of This” column of The Inventory™. Now, reflect on how you already embody those characteristics yourself. Even if you don’t see it immediately, I want to assure you that the light you see in others is light which exists in you. Perhaps you have not fully realized or embodied it yet, but we admire most in others what is also present in ourselves.

Hold in your heart that you have all the makings of what you would define as a great friend. With this in mind, I want you to also affirm that you are deserving of fulfilling friendships that contain these characteristics, too.

Use this list to create affirmations for yourself. Here are some examples of characteristics that might be on your “More of This” list and affirmations to go along with them:

  • Kind: I am kind and deserving of friends who show kindness.
  • Thoughtful: I am thoughtful and I attract thoughtful friends with ease.
  • Generous: I am generous and surrounded by generous friends.

Declaring and affirming what you desire is a quick way to communicate your desires out into the Universe and begin the process of calling congruent relationships in.

Heal your wounds and recognize your triggers.

Next, we’ll take some time to review the “Less of That” column of The Inventory™. Look at each negative characteristic you’ve listed and ask,

I’ll be honest, this part of the exercise is not for the faint of heart, but it’s incredibly important. You see, just as your “More of This” column contained characteristics that are within you, so does the “Less of That” column.

It’s important that you get clear on why certain characteristics trigger you so that you can learn from them and heal. Close relationships are always our mirror for learning more about ourselves. When a friend holds up a mirror to our shadow, it’s easy to look away and make them the villain who has done something wrong.

The more enlightened thing to do is say, “Why have I attracted someone with this characteristic into my life?” “What are they here to teach me?” “How can I use this trigger as an opportunity for healing?”

Often, you’ll find that you’ve attracted friends with a certain negative characteristic into your life several times. This is always a sign that you need to examine and heal. My teacher, Gabby Bernstein says, “Show up for what’s up, or it will keep coming up” meaning if you don’t address your wounds and triggers, the Universe will continue to present it to you in different forms until you learn the lesson.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Shift your perspective.

It’s likely that you’ve written off some of your current friendships or made the assumption that they will no longer jive once you begin your path to upleveling.

I’ll be honest, that’s quite possible and I’ll cover this possibility in my next point. For now, I want you to welcome in the opportunity to shift your perspective and allow your current friendships to shift form.

We don’t put enough value on our ability to energetically influence the outcome of our relationships. You see, when you shift your energy, you create a ripple effect that encourages others to follow suit. This might mean your current friends miraculously begin to shift their behavior without any effort or persuasion on your behalf. Or, it could mean their behavior stays the same and your differences simply cease to bother you. Allowing myself to be open to a shift in perspective was precisely what allowed many of my friendships to shift form organically when I was going through my personal reinvention.

If you’re open to this type of transformation, consider saying a prayer similar to this to welcome the shift:

Dear Universe, I am making big changes in my life and I need a strong network of friends to support this change. I am unclear as to how my current friends fit into this and I’m asking for your guidance. Please help me to know how to navigate this season of change. I am open to creative possibilities and welcome your guidance. Please help me to see my friendships through the eyes of possibility.

This simple request can be enough to assist you in re-framing friendships that can continue to contribute to your growth.

Release what no longer serves you.

Unfortunately, it is also likely that you’ll find you’ve outgrown some of your friendships. Worse, you may realize that a very small percentage of your friendships are actually distracting at best, or toxic at worst.

However, this realization doesn’t mean you need to experience a nasty falling out. Rather, you can choose to gracefully release friendships that no longer serve you. If you find yourself in this place, consider a prayer with this tone,

Dear Universe, Thank you for bringing [state your friend’s name] into my life. I am grateful for the lessons they have taught me and the experiences we have had. I have come to realize that our friendship is no longer serving me. Please help me to gracefully and lovingly release them so that we may both make space for new friendships that fulfill our individual needs.

A request of this nature can help you to dissolve or release friendships that you have outgrown without having to experience confrontation.

Photo by Matheus Ferrero on Unsplash

Call in new friendships with ease.

I want you to try on a concept for me, even if it seems like a stretch: You can attract new, fulfilling friendships with ease. You don’t have to obsess over when or where you will meet new friends. Once you start to uplevel you will begin to attract and be drawn to new friends who are a match with little effort.

Now, this doesn’t mean you can simply sit at home and expect new friends to come to you, but it can be nearly that easy.

You see, when you increase your sense of self-worth by stepping into the next-level version of you, you also begin to vibrate at a higher energetic frequency. When this happens, you unlock an invisible door of sorts that gives you access to a different caliber of friends.

Watch as you are introduced to new people who “get you” or as you spark up conversations with people who you’ve crossed paths with hundreds of times, but never connected with before.

If you’re digging having a prayer for each step of this process, try on something like this to assist you in attracting new, like-minded friends:

Dear Universe,

I am ready to be introduced to new, like-minded friends with whom I can connect with deeply. Guide me to friendships that will offer mutual fulfillment and opportunities for growth. Show me where to find them and how to recognize them. I am open to creative possibilities for meeting these new friends and trust I will be guided.

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Most importantly, I want you to hear this message: If you sense you are meant for something more, you are. Please do not let your fear of social rejection or having to find new friends hold you back from becoming the most self-expressed, authentic version of you.

Please do not waste time dimming your light in order to conform to a mold that has been deemed socially acceptable, appropriate, or normal by your contemporaries.

Reject the notion that “fitting in” will make you more lovable or good. Throw out the fear that you are undeserving or incapable of shining bright. Stop telling the story that you must dull yourself down in order to keep others from feeling uncomfortable.

You were meant to shine. Surround yourself with people who are champions of your light. The best friends will not want you to stay stuck or play small. The right friends will encourage you to rise to the occasion. They will blaze trails for you and invite you along, or they will gladly walk by your side, or eagerly follow in your footsteps on a path which you have bravely forged.

These are the types of friendships I know you deserve. If you haven’t quite yet found them, let me promise, they are available to you now. It only takes a bit of effort. I invite you to explore the personal uplevel or reinvention that is calling you and follow the steps I outline above.

I cannot wait to hear how new friends begin to show up in your life as you complete this step. Based on my own experience and stories from my clients, it will be nothing short of miraculous.

If you’re interested in learning more about alcohol-free living, self-actualization, and pursuing your authentic truth, connect with me on Instagram + download my Guide to Finding Your Authentic Self here.

Seeker. Writer. Elective Sobriety. A 30-something sharing my journey of personal development, spiritual growth, & authenticity. IG: @authenticallyamanda.

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