Last weekend the two of us got to have one of our amazing friendship weekends. For us, a friendship weekend means we spend almost all of our time together going on adventures. We had the chance to do a Boston harbor cruise, hit up a rooftop bar, swim for the first time in 2022, walk along the beach and eat lots of tasty food. The picture above is from the harbor cruise.
While we spend most of our time together laughing and joking around, we tend to have some serious discussions as well. Even the first day we ever spent together we had a long and deep conversation about how we view the world.
So, after spending all weekend together, here are the lessons that can be taken from our conversations with each other and with our other friends. We hope our readers enjoy learning from our reflections.
1. Most of the World is Small-Minded
We’re starting out with something big and bold. While sitting at a rooftop bar overlooking the city, a friend of ours made one of his snide comments about our close friendship. He didn’t mean anything hostile by it; he just doesn’t understand us sometimes. Another friend chimed in about how just because he doesn’t have the same type of friendship with someone, he shouldn’t judge us. That led us to discussing how small-minded people can be.
Most people tend to judge things they don’t understand. Instead, have a discussion and try to learn from other people. We learned that our friendship defies what most people believe a plutonic friendship should be, but we don’t let it change our behavior. Have an open mind when someone lives their life in a way you don’t understand. Our advice: Live the way you want to live and ignore people who make you feel uncomfortable for being yourself.
2. Don’t Let Other People Define You
The second lesson relates to the first. If we let other people define us, we’re not really living. People like to put others in boxes, making it difficult to be anything else. Everyone in your life will have a different perception of you. While that can’t be changed, letting it impact how you view yourself is in your control. This can be difficult to ignore, but once you’re able to let go, it feels freeing. If we let everyone else define Chren to us, our close bond would be a lot less fun.
3. Open Communication is the Backbone of Any Strong Relationship
It doesn’t matter if it’s family, friendships or romantic relationships, communication is everything. Having people you can be honest with and be yourself around is priceless. You can’t expect any relationship to grow if you can’t have an open dialogue. When we became friends, we decided that we would tell each other everything and always be honest. Suffice to say, it’s worked well over the last nine years.
One of our friends from this weekend tends to be blunt, which had us reflect on this portion of our friendship. When everything is out in the open, it’s just much easier to grow closer. While we don’t have this with everyone in our lives, it’s important to consider when deciding whether you can count on the people you surround yourself with.
4. Anything Can Be Fun If You’re with the Right People
You don’t always have to be doing something epic to have fun with your friends if you’re close enough. Some of the best memories of this weekend were sitting around together watching TV and drinking wine in the hotel room. If you have the right people in your life, just being together is a fun adventure.
5. Sometimes You Just Need to Sing in Public
It’s easy to get stressed and overwhelmed when juggling every life responsibility. Sometimes you need to find a fun and creative way to blow off steam. For us, blasting music in the streets of Boston while enjoying a sing-along made all of our stress disappear. Put on a song that makes you happy and belt it out for the whole world to hear.
6. An Amazing Weekend Can Challenge Your Worldview
I (Christy) had been feeling very unhappy lately. As a society, we’re told to go to school, get a good job and then work a nine to five for decades until we can afford a comfortable retirement. Is this really the “American Dream?” Shouldn’t we strive for more?
For some people, this might be enough for them. There’s nothing wrong with that. But for me, something has felt missing when I wake up for work each day. At first, I thought maybe the long commute drained me. Then, when I started working from home, I realized I felt the exact same way. It doesn’t mean I hate my job or that the people aren’t great, I just don’t get a strong sense of joy every day from a job well done.
I think about how I’d rather be writing, traveling, exploring or just making memories with close friends. That got me to the point that maybe a career that balances writing and entrepreneurship would better fit my desired lifestyle.
I had been feeling unhappy for a while and couldn’t figure out why. It took one amazing weekend for me to truly grasp what was missing in my life. It had me make some new goals about a change of scenery and lifestyle. While I can’t afford these changes instantly, it does give me a something to work toward.
7. Be Open to New Experiences
Whether it’s making new friends, starting a new career or trying something as simple as a new food, be open to trying something new. These experiences help us get away from the mundane day to day life tasks.
It’s easy to get into a routine and stick with it. But new adventures and challenges are what make life worth living. Even if you start out with simple tasks, such as trying a new restaurant this weekend or making time for new book, it can get you out of a rut.
8. Take Risks
One commonality between all of us this weekend is that none of us we’re doing exactly what we wanted to do in life. Some had good paying and steady jobs but didn’t feel passion. One member changed his mind about his goals every few months. Others had big dreams, but just didn’t know how to make them come true.
Unfortunately, for most of us, nothing will ever be handed to us. We have to get off our butts and make progress every day, no matter how small. For writers, write every day. For future entrepreneurs, read about successful self-made businesspeople. But the big thing is to just start acting upon your goals and adjust based on trial and error. The biggest barrier to success is a fear of failure. Start acting now, learn new skills, ask for help and most importantly, try!
9. Make Personal Happiness a Priority
Every day, do something simply for the joy of it. Take time for yourself and decide what you need today. Sometimes you might need to do a face mask while taking a hot bath, other days you really need a change of scenery.
In general, make a happiness plan on a bigger scale though. Where do you want to be in five years? If you don’t know, be open to new experiences to see what you like. Try a class online from Udemy, Master Class or a local community college. Inspiration and purpose can be found in unexpected places.
This weekend gave us time to discuss what exactly would make all of us happy. Sometimes a reflection based on a change of scenery can open you mind to new possibilities.
10. Surround Yourself with People Who Make Your Life Better
Think about all your close friendships and how they add value to your life. One friend is the best shoulder to cry on, another can always make you laugh, while one challenges you to be better. Surround yourself with people who enrich your life in different ways.
The opposite side of this is to cut out toxicity from your life. You don’t need people who make you feel worse about yourself or are just bad people in general. You’re allowed to set emotional boundaries to better your life. It may be hard at first, but start out with some distance and see how it goes.
Being around friends and family should always boost your mood, not hinder it. Besides, some people are meant to be in our lives long-term, while other simply make an appearance. Try to find the people who deserve to be in your life.