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I totally share and support your observation that stepping out of the mainstream tracks of living and implementing some authentic choices in your own life is hard. I´d like to share my experience regarding friendships. At one point I began to think about my friends and realized that I had not consciously chosen them and did not know which criteria would define a good friend for me. I came up with the following: I would need to be able to comfortably talk with any friend about how it feels to be with them. In other words, I wanted to be welcome being honest and authentic with my friends. Acting upon that resolution was quite scary. I got rid of one "friend" right away, and with the others I started to talk with them about the experience I had with them. Not everything went smooth, and it was scary, but it deepend all of the relationships. I am now much more conscious why I love spending time with them, and we do have a more intense time together. Which also shows that I unconsciously picked quite the right friends for me, but we had left some potential of our friendships unlived.
Thanks Heiko, that's a great criterion for defining good friends.