I had to borrow one of my high school/college friend’s most recent FB statuses. I laughed when I saw it, but later on it made me think about my friendships (past and current), and if I, too, needed some new friends. (Here is my disclaimer, I am going to say “she” but this also applies to friends that are male)
We’ve all had that friend in our lives that has only been around for a short period of time. Even though (in hindsight) her purpose was seasonal, I have wondered, “what happened? I thought we were cool.”
We also have had that friend who, as soon as the caca hits the fan, she’s ghost. But, on the opposite end, perhaps she was there or came into your life to help you clean the caca off the walls, but once the mess was cleaned up and your life smelled like Pine-Sol again, she was nowhere to be found. In this instance, I would wonder, were you really there for me or were you just around so you could fulfill this selfish desire to feel needed?
Then you have that girl, your bestie, your ride-or-die, that because of some event or series of events, the friendship declined. And even though fences were mended, or apologies made and forgiveness extended, the friendship has never been what it once was.
Then, there is the friend that you are trying (sometimes subconsciously) so hard to show to them that you are that awesome friend, only to be met with rejection or even ridicule. Sometimes the rejection is subtle, sometimes blatantly obvious. And sometimes you know that she isn’t really cool with you, but still you try. Because dammit, you rock. You are THAT kick-ass friend. And although you have been a stellar friend, when that sentiment is not returned, it stings.
I write about strong friendships. It is a fairly consistent theme in my writing, that sister-girl bond between women. Those relationships are important, just like love relationships and familial relationships.
However, I have found that in my life, I’ve had some not so strong friendships, and some people on my contact list where the term “friend” is used pretty loosely.
As I considered the status of my friendships, I had to check myself. What has been my role in why the friendship is the way it is? Have I been part of the reason some of these relationships have weakened or have not grown? I have to admit I’ve got work to do on my end as well. Example: I spoke with my aunt a few days ago and she told me she wanted me and my cousin (her daughter of course) to talk to each other more frequently. No texting, no FB, picking up the phone, dialing a number and talking. We are only a few months apart in age and are each other’s first BFFs. There are absolutely no issues between us and when we see each other its all love, however we live in different states now and life happens and we just don’t communicate like we used to. So, I get that lack of communication can weaken a friendship. Or perhaps a fear of being vulnerable. You don’t want to let her know that you are JUST as insane as she is. Or that you’ve been the one faking the funk and you really have issues and insecurity and stuff that you’re dealing with that is painful, confusing, or you want to open up, but you’ve been taught to not talk about those kinds of things.
However, there are people who just don’t need to be around. One of my favorite quotes is from Oprah Winfrey: “Surround yourself only with people are going to lift you higher.” Let’s be real, you know who is not lifting you up. I’ll give you a few examples:
- She’s the one throwing the shade. Maybe it’s a little shade, like the size of the little umbrellas in the fruity drinks. Or maybe she’s a doctoral candidate in shadeology, and you, my dear, are her thesis.
- She’s the one who has no damns in her purse to give you, but you keep coming around because she’s so cool/popular/fashionable/connected/etc.
- She’s a “Chicken Little” — now this chick is the one where the sky is always falling in her world and you’re constantly encouraging, cheering her on, or talking her off the ledge of crazy only for her to do it over and over. And then you do what you do over and over. It’s a vicious cycle. Really. It needs to stop.
However, when it’s you that finds chunks of clouds dropping on your head, you get crickets and sometimes this:
Or worse, she minimizes your cloud (“Girl, please. You’ll be alright,” she says quickly with a suck of her teeth and a wave of her hand) and/or has to let you know her cloud is larger AND heavier than yours. (“Oh, that’s nothing. At least you fill in the blank...”)
It’s safe to say that reflecting on my friendships put me in an evaluation mode, however it’s really of myself. Is there something I’m NOT doing that’s causing this relationship to weaken? (The pastor at a church I went to recently put it perfectly: relationships either grow or die.) What can I do to strengthen it? Maybe I need to talk more (I’m calling you soon, cuz!) Maybe I just need to let my guard down. Or am I allowing a person to be around who is exhibiting behavior that is unbecoming of a friend? And if so, why am I allowing it? Is it my own insecurity? (SN: funny how that insecurity thing can cause you to be both a bad friend AND attract bad friends) What do I need to do to change the dynamic? End the relationship? Or just change my expectations?
I don’t have any answers yet, but I do believe we deserve and need good, solid friendships. And perhaps, getting some new friends is needed. Or, it just may be intentionally working on cultivating the already existing ones.