A Friendly Focus

5 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

I have never quite been able to get the hang of friendships.  At 48 years old, I have been through the gamut..from acquaintances to deeply personal and enduring friendships that are the things of chick flix. But for some reason, things just never quite seem to add up for me, and I just don't get how people have these friends that are like their "twin soul" who have stood with them through thick and thin, whose friendship is undying and loyal.

I thought I understood that after a 20 year friendship, but apparently I was wrong.

My "best friend" who I have known since we were pregnant with our first children, recently has seen fit to slowly work her way out of my life. And I am not sure why or what I could have done differently to prevent it from happening.

The groups of people I consider my friends  have always changed dramatically over  the years, and very few have remained since childhood if any. In the days of facebook and other social media, it has become increasingly easy to keep in touch without ever even hearing the sound of another person's voice. So for the most part I rarely see, or even talk to, the friends I knew in high school except for an occasional post on facebook, and a lame "let's get together soon." Which inevitably never happens if I have anything to do with it. There are those friends, though, for whom I am eternally grateful, that continually badger me if I don't call them back. They make a real pain in the ass of themselves until they finally reach me and while I'm telling myself they are "stalkers" , they really just are women that put more effort into maintaining a friendship than I do.

True, I am terrible at keeping in touch. It's not that I don't like people, I just tend to be lazy about communication, and am really not a big phone talker. Sometimes I just don't feel like picking up my phone if I am not in the mood to talk, even if I know it is going to be someone I haven't talked to in a while. That  usually turns into "Yeah, I'll give them a call back tomorrow," followed by feeling really uncomfortable after a week has gone by since their phone call to return the phone call.

As a person who  hates confrontation, if I am angry at someone, instead of clearing the air and having a conversation about it, I tend to just angrily write that person off, mainly because they have done something that I myself would never do if I was a "real" friend. Because I know myself and knowing that if I try to talk about what has bothered me, my ever present, lurking-just-under-the-surface temper will flair up and I will lose control of what is coming out of my mouth, thereby destroying the friendship anyway. I think that also, I don't want the other person to see any vulnerability on my part. That is one thing I hate. I would so much rather be seen as a bitch than as a wimp, and if  I tell someone they have hurt me, it proves that I am vulnerable, thereby giving up control over the friendship to the other person.

Of course I know that all of this reasoning doesn't really make sense, nor does it make for very good stable friendships. But the fact is that I have been burned so badly so many times in the past, (not that everyone hasn't) that I just can't stand to take the chance of that happening again. So I distance myself from people. No connection = no pain. And yet I crave the connection so badly. It is something that I see other people have and I wonder why I am unable to connect like that.

I guess it's all just so complicated that even in writing about it here, I am unable to fully comprehend the nature of friendship, and why so many people seem to be so much better at it than I.

I do know that when I put energy into something, and truly focus myself on that thing, something good usually materializes. And I suppose it is the same for friendships. Never take anything or anyone for granted, and be grateful for the things you do have, as the universe attracts more of the same.

So even though I'll be 50 in a few years, I guess it's time to start refocusing on what's important and where to spend that energy. At least I have to give it a try.

 

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