23 January 2014

Friendships.

I've never been a very good friend.  I've always kept most people at arms length & tried to pretend I don't care that much.  It was my defense mechanism.  If I didn't care, then they couldn't hurt me, right?

Except not.

Doing those things hurt both of us.

And when those friends decided to hang with other people who would actually put themselves out there, I was back to the drawing board.  It became easier to just not have friends.  When I did have them, I pushed them away in one way or another.

Now, if you know me in real life, that may sound really weird-- I am always around people.  But those deep, real, lasting friendships... I've just never been good at them.

My little girl has no problem putting herself out there to new friends.
Three years ago when we moved here Josh begged me to make friends.  He had (& has) a zillion friends-- good friends.  People that he could call at 2am?  Practically his entire phone book.

I told him I would try.

And I have.

It's taken me awhile, but I feel like I'm finally getting there.  I've had really great examples, and have taken note.  People around here are crazy good at friendships.  There's a few people I know that keep freezer meals on hand to take to someone in need at the drop of a hat.  Sure, they feed their family with them, too, but they always have extra & they're always the first to offer when a need arises, even if they don't know the person!


Am I great at this whole friendship thing?  Ha!  Not really.  I'm getting better, though.  I'm not a super attentive person.  I make a point not to pry in other people's business.  But sometimes being a friend means prying.  It makes me uncomfortable, but I'm working on it.  It is not in my nature to go running to the hospital as soon as the baby is born. I'm a 3 week later type of person-- let you get settled in-- wait until it's convenient for you-- bring frozen pizza so you have something easy to cook whenever you're hungry.  But you know what?  If no one visits at the hospital, that's pretty lonely!  If I'm constantly waiting for it to be convenient for everyone, then it's likely to never happen.

A few weeks ago I was chatting with some friends & we realized how fragile we all really are.  If we're not invited to something that our friends are, we start wondering why.  What's wrong with me?  Why don't they like me?  Why are they trying to exclude me? I thought we were friends?  But the fact of the matter is, everyone can't get invited all the time.  You can't invite all of our friends out every time you want to go to dinner.  It's unreasonable.  You can't invite everyone to a birthday party, or movie night, or vacation.  Does it hurt?  Yeah, it can really hurt.  But one common thing seems to keep popping up.  Do you invite everyone to everything?  When was the last time you invited that person to something?  How can you expect them to invite you when you don't make the same effort?

Put yourself out there.  Yes, you will get hurt.  But you'll also experience all the great benefits of friendship.  If you're going to feel hurt either way, at least experience some great joy & fun times!

I should end with a disclaimer.  I'm not perfect.  I've been a terrible friend to many, and I'm sure I'll make many more mistakes in the future.  In the meantime, I'm going to continue to put myself out there & try.

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