SAF_LLAF_GrowBuds_404X404Did you ever notice that most women have friends, but few of us have been educated on how to grow and cultivate friendships that nourish, grow deeper over time and ultimately give more than they take? Even if we have friends we’ve known for years, or we have a lot of friends in number, most women lack – and crave – deeper soul sister connections. In my work with women around the world as a coach and relationship expert, I hear again and again how lonely women are for meaningful, truly supportive friendships, or how often they hang onto the wrong friendships, just like staying in the wrong romantic relationship, and so there is no space for new buds to come in.

The truth is that just like things in nature, like flowers and plants, there is a season for everything. Annuals come back year after year, while some only bloom once. And we are okay with that, because we know if we plant new buds in the ground, new flowers bloom. We could learn a lot about friendship from flowers. Every friendship has a season, some a lifetime, others years and some just a few months — and when we let one friendship go, another will bloom in its place. Some flowers go together better than others, just like people, and the best flower arrangements come from intention and creativity. Flowers do better when loved and cared for, and when they are planted or presented in bunches, or grow together in fields or gardens. 

If you were to take a look around your ‘friendship garden’ where do you lack the friendships you desire – is it deep ‘soul sisters’ you can share your heart with, more ‘good time girls’ who you can just hang out and have a good time, or women who share a common interest, passion or situation with you?

Use the five tips below to grow yourself a garden full of buds and blooms you love, and that love you back.

  1. Grow little buds into blooming buds.It’s easier to grow friendships with people you already know than to start fresh. Choose friends past or present who have the potential to grow deeper and stronger, and to make your life better. Put energy here. Be proactive at reaching out. If they live farther away, send them surprise flowers just because you are grateful to have them in your life. Think of it as helping your friendship bloom as a flower blooms—steadily and beautifully.
  2. Be honest about who you want in your friend bouquet. Be intentional with whom you want to surround yourself. Make a list of these buds (call it your friendship manifesto)—who they are, what they like to do, and how you feel when you are around them. Place the manifesto somewhere sacred (perhaps under a flowering plant to signify blooming friendships) and every so often take it out and read it, and keep your eyes out for new friends!
  3. Be inspired by others, not envious. If sunflowers spent all their time trying to be roses, they would be very unhappy sunflowers. Next time you find yourself comparing yourself to someone else, find what inspires you about that person, and tell them so! Watch how their heart opens because you’ve showered them with appreciation instead of judgment or envy, and you might just find a new friend.
  4. Look for new buds that feel like you. There is a universal relationship law that says like attracts like, which means people are attracted to energy on the outside that matches the energy on the inside. So if you want new friends that you resonate with and that feel good to be around, put your true self out to the world so others can see you. Think about what qualities you have to share with others and embrace this as part of your essence, so that your new buds will have an easier time finding you, and you them.
  5. Plant seeds in new fields. Put yourself out there to new people in new circles instead of just hanging out with the same people. If your new friends were flowers, what kind would they be? Do you want to grow fun friendships (think daisies or tulips), sophisticated ones (think lilies or orchids), or calming ones (think bamboo plants or succulents)? Surround yourself with these kinds of flowers or plants in your home to remind yourself of the new friends you are welcoming into your heart and life.

How have you enhanced your friendships? Try my tips and share your results and pictures with us at @flowerfactor #LLAF.

Want to find a local florist? Visit NationalFloristDirectory.com.

This is part of the Live Like a Flower series.

Christine Arylo is a transformational teacher, speaker and best-selling author.