Friendship: The Exhale

Kat Nicholls
By Kat Nicholls,
updated on Sep 27, 2023

Two friends talking and having coffee

In our latest podcast, we’re sharing questions to help deepen your friendships

Last week on our podcast, Finding What Works, we explored the topic of friendship with counselling psychologist Dr Rebecca O’Sullivan and Marketing Project Manager Zoe Lavender Stuart. From making friends to friend breakups and everything in between, we left no stone unturned. This week, we’re taking a moment to exhale and consider what we learned.

A key takeaway from the conversation was that friendship is an active process that requires us to be present and aware. Shining some awareness onto our friendships therefore feels like a good step to take.

To help with this, we’re sharing 10 questions to explore with a friend. If you can, set a date to listen to the episode together, pausing and chatting about your answers to each question. We can’t wait to hear how you get on.

Listen to the episode wherever you get your podcasts.


Kat: Hello everyone and welcome to the Exhale episode on friendship. Last week, I spoke to a good friend and a counselling psychotherapist to learn more about all things friendship. We talked about making new friends, overcoming that fear of rejection, why friendships are so important to us, how to navigate boundaries and maintain friendships, and also how to tell when it might be time to let go of a friendship.

If you haven't listened to that episode yet, I really recommend going back in your podcast app and giving it a listen. A key takeaway I got from that conversation was that friendship and connection are just so incredibly important. And not only that, but friendship is a really active process that requires care and attention. So, in today's Exhale episode, I'm going to be sharing 10 questions to help you deepen a friendship.

So, perhaps you could set a date and meet your friends so that you can listen to this podcast together, discussing and sharing your reflections on the questions as we go through them, putting me on pause. Or perhaps you could listen to the episode on your own, and then just think about which questions really resonate with you that you want to share with a friend, making a note of them for the next time you see them.

Either way, let's get into it with the first question. And that question is, what was your first impression of me? This is a really beautiful way of reminiscing about those early days of your friendship, whether or not that was decades ago or mere weeks. Have some fun here thinking about whether or not your impressions of each other were accurate, or if they've maybe changed and evolved over time.

The next question is, do you think we have similar values? Something we learned in the friendship conversation episode was that when our values are very different from our friends, it can lead to a disconnect. So this question can be a great way to better understand each other's values. Now, they don't need to be exactly the same for you to be compatible as friends, but exploring those differences that you have and the similarities you have in your values can be really worth exploring.

Next, we have, do you prefer socialising one to one or in a group? This is a good one just to remind us that we're all different and we all like different ways of socialising. Your answer might be a really definite one or the other, or it might be a bit of a mix of the two. Ask each other and see what your thoughts are on this.

The next question is, if you have a problem, how can I best help you? When we have a problem, sometimes we want something really specific from our friends, maybe comfort, compassion, or just the understanding that we're not alone. Sometimes we want ideas and solutions. Sometimes we just need a space to vent. Finding out what you and your friend typically want in these situations can be a bit like having a cheat code for friendship. This can also be a great question to check in with each other regularly. Maybe when your friend says that they're going through something difficult, you could ask, how can I best help you here? It's a really easy and simple way just to show that you're there to support them in the way that's going to be most helpful.

In a similar vein, the next question is, how do you most like to communicate? In our discussion last week, we talked about voice notes, and I mentioned it can be a bit of a love-hate thing. So this is just a really nice reminder to check in with yourself and your friends about the methods of communication you most like and see if you can find a compromise if there is a difference there.

Next, we have what's your favourite memory that we have together? This is a really great way to flick through those memory banks and think about the fun memories you have together as friends. Shared experiences can help us connect on a deeper level, so taking that time to think back to your shared experiences can make a real difference.

OK, our next question is, do you feel you can be vulnerable with me? Something that really struck me in our conversation last week was when Rebecca mentioned that feeling afraid to share something with a friend can be a sign that something's not right there in that friendship. So this question gently asks this - how comfortable do you feel being vulnerable with your friend? And how comfortable are they with you? And don't worry if either of you says no. This is a really great opportunity to talk more about that and what steps you could take together to help feel more comfortable being vulnerable with each other.

Next, we have where would you like to visit together? Another point that really stuck in my mind from last week's conversation was about making new memories together as friends and how that can really help, even if it's only once a year. So use this question to think about any adventures you might like to go on and maybe even see if you can get something in the diary.

Our penultimate question is, do you think I prioritise you enough? This is really all about ensuring that you're both getting what you need from the relationship and whether or not there are any boundaries that need to be created or talked about.

And finally, we have what do you think is the key to long-lasting friendship? This is a really fun way to think about all the different components that make a healthy friendship. And if you're stuck for ideas or need some inspiration, definitely go back and listen to last week's episode because we shared so many great ones there.

And, there we have it. Those 10 questions came from a longer list of 30 from an article that's on happiful.com. So if you want to explore the rest of those questions, I'll be sure to include a link to that in the show notes. Thank you so much for listening to this Exhale episode. I'll be back next week with a conversation about relaxation. So, if that's something you struggle with, definitely make sure you tune into that. But until then, take care.

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