The importance of seeing the perspective of your friend

Over the last few months, a key thing I have learnt about friendships is the importance of seeing things from the perspective of your friend. In this blog post, I will talk more about this, and discuss why it is important.

In short, seeing things from your friends perspective is essentially putting yourself in the other persons shoes. This means that in some cases, you need to think about why they are communicating with you in a certain way, or why they have said what they have said to you. I will highlight 2 examples that illustrate the point here. The first example is someone chasing you on something several times a week. Thinking about it from their perspective, this could be because they need your response on something urgently, such as whether you are attending a particular event so that they can plan accordingly. Another example is someone being angry at you for not being a reliable friend. Thinking about from their perspective, they could be feeling that way because there have been multiple occasions where you have said you would do things and then not done it.

Seeing things from your friends perspective is important so that you don’t come to quick and misleading conclusions in certain situations. I have seen cases where conclusions have been made without even thinking about the perspective of the other person. It can be the case where seeing the persons perspective would lead you to make a different conclusion compared to if you didn’t see their perspective at all. An example is someone saying they need to step away from the friendship. Your first thought might be to think that they aren’t interested in the friendship anymore. This can make you come to the conclusion of needing to cut contact with the friend. However, from their perspective, they might need some time for themselves to deal with some stressful situations in their life. Therefore, they need to temporarily step back from friendships as a result. Having that discussion with them can allow you to see their perspective so that you can give them the space they need.

The previous paragraph mentioned why it’s important to see things from the perspective of your friend. However, in cases where you want your friend to see your perspective, you need to clearly communicate your perspective to them. Personally, one thing that frustrates me the most about friends not clearly communicating their perspective is that I am effectively being left in the dark, and then there isn’t much I can do. At the end of the day, your friend can’t guess why you are feeling the way you do on something if you don’t tell them. Furthermore, not communicating clearly can lead to misunderstanding later on in the line. For example, if you don’t want to be friends with someone, you should tell them that and explain clearly why. That way, you give the chance for the other person to see your perspective on things, and whether they agree with it or not is up to then.

Another thing that I want to emphasise is that just because you see the perspective of another person doesn’t mean you have to agree with it. Moreover, your friend doesn’t have to agree with your perspective even if you communicate it clearly to them. One example of this is if your friend is regularly cancelling plans in the last minute because they are mentally drained. You may see where they are coming from if they have communicated this with you in the past. However, you may feel that they are mentally drained because they are taking on more than what they have capacity for, and that this is having a knock-on effect on plans with friends. It is important to first understand someone else’s perspective and where they are coming from. Then you can determine whether you agree with it, and you can have that discussion with them if you don’t agree with it.

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