There's a phrase that's becoming increasingly popular on social media: low-maintenance friend.
It's used to describe someone who is stress-free to be around, doesn't require a lot of effort, and is generally just an easy person to pal around with. And it's a nice sentiment-- the idea of someone with whom you can be yourself with.
But is there really such a thing as a low-maintenance friendship?
We often forget that friendship is a relationship, and any relationship of importance requires effort. Just like a romantic relationship or a family bond, friendship requires time, effort, and investment.
But since we often view friendship as a fun, problem-free, source of refuge and recreation, we don't know how to respond when conflict arises or when things become challenging.
The idea of the "low-maintenance" friend seems to vary slightly from person to person, but a few staples include:
-someone you don't speak to every day
-someone who doesn't expect to hang out often
-someone with whom you never have disagreements
-someone who is easy to pleas
On the surface, these traits do sound like the recipe for a hassle-free friendship. But-- and yes, we're aware of how cliche this will sound-- you tend to get from friendships what you put into them.
Before adopting the "low-maintenance" philosophy, ask yourself this question:
Is there any part of you that is claiming "low-maintenance" friendship as a way of 1. absolving yourself from having any responsibility or 2. avoiding being perceived as clingy or demanding for wanting more than you're actually getting in your friendships?
It's human to want effortless relationships. But it's important to remember that those types of relationships don't exist in the way we often think they do.
In fact, there's a research study that involved asking participants if they believed that making friends should be easy and organic or if it might require work. Five years after initially asking participants this question, researches discovered that those who said that "friendship should be easy" were experiencing greater loneliness than those who acknowledged that it might take work.
The "low-maintenance" friendship might sound great in theory, but it's not always the best way to cultivate lasting, meaningful relationships. So before you write off effort as something that shouldn't be associated with your friendships, think about what you might be missing out on.
Any friendship worth having will require some effort on your part.
If this content is inspiring and you want to learn how friendship can impact your health and wellbeing, watch the video below.
While there are many different factors that contribute to our happiness—from career success to financial stability—our relationships often have the most impact on our wellbeing overall. If any of these signs sound familiar, consider booking a session with resident friendship coach Danielle Bayard Jackson, friendship expert and educator who specializes in helping women create healthier connections with those around them so that their lives feel more balanced and fulfilled as a result!