Get ready for a long (and more serious-than-normal) post! You’ve been warned. But don’t worry, I put in some pictures of pretty people to make it seem much shorter.
I think that’s how this blogging thing works, anyways.
It’s all a mind game really.
Well, moving on!
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship.
Mainly because I’ve been spoiled by some wonderful friendships. But in thinking of these these awesome friendships has actually made me do some soul-searching about some more-unhealthy friendships I’ve been holding onto over the years.
I think there are two ways that I contribute to creating and holding onto less-than-ideal friendships:
- I over-share (TMI?! No such thing!)
- I overcompensate for people in terms of energy put into friendships (You need to talk?! I will drop everything in my life so that it’s convenient for you!)
I’ll admit that I don’t censor what I’m saying when it comes to personal details of my life. I’m trying to get better at this, but it’s hard. Brene Brown explained it best in her book (which happens to be one of my all-time favorite reads):
“Practice courage and reach out! We have to own our story and share it with someone who has earned the right to hear it, someone whom we can count on to respond with compassion. We need courage, compassion, and connection. ASAP.
…But here’s the tricky part about compassion and connecting: We can’t call just anyone. It’s not that simple. I have a lot of good friends, but there are only a handful of people whom I can count on to practice compassion when I’m in the dark shame place. If we share our shame story with the wrong person, they can easily become one more piece of flying debris in an already dangerous storm.”
And I know I do this. I entrust friends with details of my life that are shameful or not-so-positive and sometimes I get back judgement. Or I get disinterest. Both reactions hurt and I end up feeling worse after sharing.
I over-share intimate details to build connections. To blow past the ‘acquaintance’ status and reach a level of intimate friendship. I think certain friends feel closer to me because they know so much about me, and I feel closer to some friends because of the vast history we have and the stories we know about each other.
But the thing is, even though people know about me, they still don’t know the whole me. I still don’t tell people everything. Their perceptions of me are still different than my perceptions of myself or even the realities of who I am or what I’ve been through.
One of the things I get most frustrated and annoyed with in interactions with friends is when I hear ‘oh you’re always anxious/stressed/happy/doing things like this/crazy/etc.’ I don’t like it when people tell me who I am.
Does anyone enjoy being judged?!
It’s in these situations, when judgmental statements are made, that I realize that certain friends may really think they really know me, because they know a lot of information, so they think it’s alright for them to make statements about me. But, when judgement is placed it makes me wish I had told them much, much less about my thoughts, fears, dreams, and wants.
Post-college best friend. She hosts lovely dinner parties, hence the oh-so-sexy apron 🙂
Especially because a person can change.
What I said when I was 22 may no longer apply today. When I was a teenager I acted in ways that I would no longer love to be associated with.
But that’s normal, right?
So when friends who I’ve known for 10+ years make judgments about me in 2013, based on actions or ways I thought a decade ago, it’s frustrating. And it’s shown me time and time again that just because I was best friends with someone when I was a teenager does not mean that person is still someone I should be friends with in my late 20’s.
I also put a lot of effort into friendships, way more effort than a lot of people can or want to return. Not that I’m the perfect friend – because I’m definitely not, but I really love friendships, so I put a lot of time and energy into calling people, staying in touch, sometimes even sending birthday cards (albeit sometimes they are months late) and genuinely caring about what is going on in friends’ lives.
My best friends from college who continue to be some of my best friends today.
However, over the past year I’ve come to the painful realization that I value some friendships more than the other party values them. And how can I not take that personally?
So, I’ve distanced myself from the negative friendships, which has actually enabled me to build stronger relationships with other, more positive individuals.
I’ve come to the realization that some people are not at a point in their lives when they can be a ‘good friend’ to me.
These friends might be busy. (Although, I hate the term ‘busy’. In my opinion, if someone is too busy for something it means that it’s simply a low-priority to them. Obviously in the short-term people cannot fit everything they may like to in one day, but if someone’s too busy for months on end, it’s probably more about prioritization.) They might be going through a hard time that I don’t know about or understand. They could be unable to relate to me and the stage of life I’m in right now. They could be genuinely unhappy and so are not able to partake in others’ happiness. They could just not value our friendship enough to spend their energy on.
All I can do is distance myself from those types of friends and focus on friendships that are fulfilling and fun and mutual.
I hope and pray that in a few weeks/months/years that certain friends come back around and decide they would love to catch up. But if they don’t, I hope that I can move on and not feel guilty for falling out of touch with people.
I have some great, awesome, inspiring, generous, hilarious, and super-fun ladies (and men!) in my life that I adore beyond words. And for those friendships, I am thankful. Thanks friends, for being you! I hope that I have shown you true friendship, as well.
In closing (because this is a super-long and serious post and needs to be wrapped up, eventually!) I’m challenging myself, going forward, to consider aspects of various friendships and ensure that I’m pouring my valuable time, energy, and love into those that actually mean the most. To the people that I can share the good, the bad, and the shame with. To the people I can live life with – all of it.
*In case you’re wondering what got me started on all of this introspection, it was this video with two of my favorite people (When something shameful happens in your life, shame and vulnerability researcher Dr. Brené Brown says, there are six types of people with whom you shouldn’t share the story):
(But seriously, if you haven’t read this book, you should totally do so. It’s amazing.)
Thanks for bearing with this lengthy post, especially on a Wednesday!