The Friendship Inventory - jenglantz

The Friendship Inventory

Life stories

October 4, 2022

Tomorrow night begins the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. It’s a time when you’re supposed to ask for forgiveness and think through for any wrongdoings that you did during the year prior.

I use the holiday as an opportunity to do something a little different.

I do a friendship inventory instead. 

Four years ago, after my best friend broke up with me, for reasons she never shared. 

Was I too self-absorbed? Did I not read between the lines and find ways to be there for her  without her having to ask? Was I too worried about being someone else’s  friend that I didn’t spend quality time nurturing my relationship with her? Was she just over me as a person? Had I become too annoying for her to put up with?

I’ll probably never know why she packed up and left my life and it’s taken me years to be okay with that. 

But during those years, I’ve started to be much more aware about how I treat the people I call my friends. I have become obsessed with figuring out how to become a better friend.

That’s why I do a friendship inventory once a year on Yom Kippur.

Here’s what I do:

  1. I write a list of everyone I consider a friend. These are people I feel I have a relationship with. People I care about and who have made an effort to show they care about me.
  2. I write a score next to the person’s name, from 1-5. This score represents how good of a friend I think I’ve been to them this year. Did I reach out to say hello? Did I make an effort to see them or talk to them? Did I go above and beyond for them? Did I make them feel loved, supported, respected, and heard? There aren’t a lot of 5’s…there are so many 3’s. 
  3. Then I give myself feedback. How could I have been better to that person? Do I want to continue to nurture this friendship? Is there anything I did wrong to them this year? And soooo much more. It’s usually 3-4 sentences per person.
  4. On the other side of the paper, I write down what kind of friend they’ve been to me in the past year. Did they make an effort? Did they show that they wanted to still be my friend? Then I also remember that everyone – every single person – has a myriad of internal struggles we don’t always know about. So before I get down about a person or our friendship, I think about that and I think about what I can do to reach out to them and show them love, make an effort, attempt to repair the friendship – etc.
  5. To close out the inventory, I write 1-2 actions I can take, per person, to be a better friend to them. 

I know this inventory might sound weird or odd – or even just a lot to do. But friendship doesn’t always have as clear of rules or boundaries like a romantic relationship often does. 

We don’t always express to our friends how much they mean to us. We don’t always know the right way to end a friendship, so we end it all wrong.

This inventory is my way of checking-in, of slowing down, of shinning perspective on the people in my life so that I never, ever, again take anyone for granted.

All my love,

Jen Glantz 

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Hey! I’m Jen Glantz

I’m a Brooklyn-based writer who turned a Craigslist ad into a viral business and a six-figure empire. I’m sharing all of my secrets so together, we can work on getting you started on that *thing* you’ve been daydreaming about for far too long.