Monday, July 1, 2013

Making Connections

I'd like to say that I am social, but the truth is that I have very few actual friends.  Maybe if I had been born into a family that put down roots in one place, if I'd had a dad who had a regular 9-5 job someplace, then perhaps I'd have grown up more social.  Maybe I'd have become a cheerleader or the president of the senior class or something, and everyone would have been my friend.  I'd probably hang out with the same group of kids my entire life, from Pre-K to twelfth grade, and we'd all continue to hang out together after college, meeting up at games or for dinners once a week. 

But that's not what happened.  What happened was that I moved 17 times before I graduated from high school.  I'd make friends, get comfortable, then we'd move.  I would write, but out of sight, out of mind--very few people ever wrote back.  That got old, so I stopped trying.  My requirements for friendship are therefore probably a little different than most people's.  If I am going to the trouble of putting my heart out there, of opening myself up to another person, I need something in return.   Loyalty is what I value most in a friend--someone who is going to stick around, no matter how the dynamics of the relationship change.

Because all relationships go through change. The tide goes in and out.  I grow or don't, the other person grows or doesn't, but real friendships are never static.  Those relationships that are static, such as that with a coworker, may not continue after one person changes jobs, because the entire reason the relationship existed(work) is no longer there.  Many people don't seem to understand this, and there are feelings of abandonment.  As a child, I was all too familiar with these feelings.  I don't necessarily like it, but I understand that when a coworker leaves a job, they are not likely to continue calling or texting or meeting for lunch.  After a while I just forget about them.

The tide goes in and out. There has to be more to a relationship for it to become a friendship.  There has to be a give and a take established, where each person takes what they need and gives back.  A sharing of both joy and pain.  Not just in the good times, when the marriages are sound, and the children are happy, and everyone is healthy.  It is easy to be friends with people under those circumstances, but the tide goes in and out. Things change.

The true test comes in the bad times, when divorce is inevitable(hypothetically), or someone is dealing with illness.  That's when I tend to corral the wagons and take on a siege mentality.  I get downright cranky, snapping at everything. I am not easy to like. I am ready to fight.  That is just when I need someone to offer me a box of tissue, a bottle of wine, and a hug. Or just listen--that works, too. The very few brave people who have done that for me, well, those people are rare gems indeed.  Those people always have a direct connection to my heart, no matter how many times the tide goes in and out.

What do you cherish most in a friend?

NaBloPoMo July


  1. OMG you moved 17 times before you graduated from High School? We moved four times and I thought that THAT was bad! OMG!!
    I am with you, it is easy to be a friend when times are good, not so much when they aren't. I also can be moody and cranky when things aren't right and that is EXACTLY when I need someone the most!

  2. A lot of this resonated with me, not because I moved like you did, but more like I have lots of friends, but only 3 that I can tell you that have never left my side for any reason, over the lifetime I've known them.

    I love when my friends know that I am going through a rough patch and instead of ignoring it or letting me work it out myself they come and find me, they pull me out of bed (sometimes literally) and they make it okay for me to have the breakdown I need, they don't judge me, they don't coddle me either, they just LOVE ME.

    I am glad you have friends like that too, even if it's just one or two or three like me..they are so important to our mental health.

    you are a friend in cyberspace...hope you know I'm here if you need me. I'm good with hugs.

    1. I am getting better about hugs. I know that they come from the heart!

  3. I cannot imagine a childhood like that. I was born and bred and educated in pretty much the same place and apart from a ten year stint in the UK have lived in Dublin, Ireland for most if my life so far. I still have my childhood friends although the one I am closest too now lives in Scotland. I value loyalty and kindness in a friend and my friends have those qualities in abundance!

  4. Midway thru I felt terrible for being a half-ass at checking in blogging friend these days. Then I just wanted to give you a hug! xoxox

    1. You've got two teenagers--I am surprised that you have time to sit down, let alone blog! But I'll take the hug!


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