I sometimes wonder if it is hard to be my friend. I sometimes wonder how some of the people I meet have any friends. I often envy people who seem to have tons of friends. I wonder if you have a close-knit family if you really need friends. When I’m in crisis, I ask myself, “Who can I trust with this?” That usually tells me the depth of my friendships. Brené Brown, researcher and best-selling author, says that people have to earn our friendships. I like that. Some of my friends have proven repeatedly that they will be there for me to cheer me on and to pick me up and dust me off. I want to be that kind of friend; the one that cheers you on and dusts you off. I believe I do that most of the time, but I am not perfect;
We were out with friends for dinner last night, and my friend introduced us to a friend of theirs who “talks non-stop.” I have acquaintances who do that. I cannot be their friends. I cannot listen that much. I’ve tried, and I find that I get hostile after the first 20 minute monologue. This is not friendship. People like this reduce me to “audience,” and they aren’t even paid performers. How do such people have friends? Are they different with others than they are with me? Am I different with different people? Maybe so.
Maybe this is a confidence/ego thing. When I am out with people who I believe to be “equal,” I am relaxed and totally myself. When I’m around people who talk a lot or who posture and brag, I sometimes find myself intimidated or defensive. I’m still the same “me” I was with the other friends, but I’m more guarded, and I am tense and uncomfortable. I no longer frequent these people. It’s too much work and no fun, so I have given up being polite and accepted fewer friends and enjoyed more laughter and “oh, yeah”s. Mr. Wonderful and I have decided that being too polite might be enabling such people to continue boring and intimidating others. He says, “Just interrupt, interject and take the floor.” I say, “Why should I have to be forced into Trump behavior when I’m a respectful, kind person. I won’t give these bullies any more power than they have selfishly taken.
A dear friend of mine told me the other day that she feels lonely since I have moved and that she misses me. I miss her too. Our phone conversation only took seconds to feel the emotional bond that we share. We can talk honestly about feelings and disappointments because we trust each other, and we know the other one truly cares. We have earned each other’s trust, and it is a wonderful thing. I treasure the friends who fall into this category. Those friends are precious jewels whose presence in my heart boosts my confidence, makes me feel safe and loved and whose humility humbles me.
Are you that kind of friend? Are you too sometimes too polite and find yourself exhausted after encounters with certain people? Have you earned the trust of your friends by being there for them? You don’t have to be there to be there.
Thank you, my wonderful friends. I love you.