June 26, 2013

Friendship

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This is about to get real, people.  So if you can't handle it, skip over to something slightly more interesting;)  I'm about ramble my head off about friendship.  I want to preface this to say this is not for anyone or towards anyone! It really is just a ramble of my heart today;)  That is partly what this bliggity blog is for!

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about friendship.  It's a tricky business.  One that I thought I had figured out, but I don't know anymore.  I'm not so sure I do know what friendship is all about.

All my life, I've been blessed to have great friends.  Some are new, some are old, some lifelong.  I've had really amazing, whirlwind friendships that have fizzled out too.  Lately, it feels hard for me to enter into new friendships.  I question it.  I question myself and my ability to make friends, to be a friend, and to sustain a friendship.

I find myself questioning these things.  One, whether I am a good friend or not.  Two, if I expect too much out of my friends.  Three, why isn't friendship so easy and carefree anymore?

One.  If I were to define friendship, without looking up any official definitions, I would describe it as this:  two or more people that have similar interests, enjoy spending time together, can easily laugh, cry or be serious together, are loyal to one another, and try to make time for one another while always making each other feel welcome.  I am just not sure if I fit those qualities anymore.  What has happened to me that I feel inadequate in this area?  I have never felt more socially weird or awkward then I do right now.  I'm soul searching and praying about it...but I am just not sure.  Am I too weird?  Too selfish?  Too busy?  Too crazy?  Am I thinking waaaaay too hard about it all?  WHY do I care??!?  Am I the only one with this issue?

Two.  Here is where I am afraid I expect too much from friends.  I want to add to that already-long-definition.  I would say that friends are also: not concerned with being better then the other, are never purposefully hurtful or excluding, able to drop in and out of our lives and even our homes but always feel welcome and ready to start right where we left off (I say this because life is busy, and way too short, to get mad at someone for not being able to hang out constantly, all the time, it's not realistic!), don't talk meanly or gossip about one another to someone else (solidarity is so important to me, but I'm not sure it's so important to everyone else?  The "middle school" like drama in some friendships really turns me off, but is that the new normal?!?) I'm sure I could go on but those are the friendship qualities that I believe are important.

Pretty hefty, right?  Well, another important part of friendship is forgiveness.  Obviously, we are all going to mess up, hurt one another, make bad choices, etc.  I get that.  How many times do we forgive?  EVERY time actually, because that is what we should do (at least I feel as someone who loves Jesus, that is the case!) it's thing right thing; THAT is what friends do.   But how many times is too many times before it's too tiring? That brings me to...

Three.  I find myself with only a few close friends at this point in life, some are close by and I see them as often as possible, others are far and I see rarely.  I also find that it is so increasingly hard to make new friends.  I think because I really don't feel that I fit in anywhere anymore, which is ok with me.  I also feel that I have been burned by friends, that it scares me to venture out again to make new ones.  Friendship has always been easy and carefree for me, but I've been told by many people that I am attracted to the "whirlwind" type friend.  The friend that is so fun and adventurous but doesn't know what it is to be a friend outside of the crazy adventure.

I've had quite a few whirlwind friends, actually.  That's called a pattern.  What has happened to those crazy, fun friends and friendships whom I loved dearly?  They fizzle out.  I think everyone has these friends though, and as you grow up you decide who to spend your time with and who not too - sometimes these friends are the ones we grow out of...

Maybe I am the fizzled friend.  Maybe I have no substance or heart in the matter.  Maybe it's me.  I read books about friends, and see movies about friends, or TV shows and think...wow that's a really good friend!  Of course, those friendships aren't reality.  Or, those friends don't have husbands and kids and stepchildren and full time jobs and parents, etc.  Maybe I am really the problem!

Maybe it's the fact that I grew up with a brother, not a sister.  Maybe it's the fact that I'm not involved in much anymore, so I have few opportunities (yes, this is my own fault and my next step in conquering this qualm I am having).  Maybe it's that my life is so unique, that I really don't fit in anymore.  It's hard to find the friend that is in the same place as me - think about it.  As you read this you probably have a friend that's in the same place as you, right?  Not me, and no that is NOT a complaint because I love my life, my husband, and the fact that we are a 30 something couple with no baby or toddler yet but we do have a teenager...that's ready to start high school!  We have a great life, but one that's hard to relate to, right?  I can't talk pregnancy or diapers or breastfeeding or homeschooling or the best this or that on the market for kids with you.  I can talk about middle school life, getting ready to send a kid to high school, trying to save for college (hello!  Four years?  anyone???  see....) worrying about having another driver in the family in two years, trying to encourage a 14 year old girl to be responsible for her school work and life, trying to get along with the other part of her family when it's been such a challenging year...

Our life is unique and crazy and lovely and blessed and wonderful, and we are a hard-to-find type of family;)  It makes fitting in a little hard!

Don't get me wrong, I have some wonderful friends!!  I'm just worried about my ability to make new, long-lasting and wonderful friendships.  I've always been able to do that, always had a handful of friends or a group to call, but now I find I have trouble.  I'm just wondering what that is about me, looking on the inside?

 I just wanted to send this out to the void, get it off my heart, because it helps me process it all.  I believe God is letting me get to a place where I have to decide to do something to be more social again, I just have to figure out what that do something is;)  I love being with friends, I love having a lot of friends, I love always have something to do that involves other people who are like me or understand me or want to actually be around me.

As I was cleaning out our basement today, I realized I have all this party stuff, but never have any parties.  As Dave & I were eating dinner, I was telling him and he agreed, we never have parties.  He also agreed that we didn't have many friends to throw parties for, or really the time to do so.  Poor guy, I know he feels the same way.  His schedule doesn't allow him to have a life outside of me and Ash, because it's such an abnormal schedule.  When he is home and awake, he wants to be with me or his daughter.  We are so incredibly fortunate to have each other.  He is that friend, the one and only person who does understand me, and meets all my way-too-high friendship expectations.  He would be content to just be with me, and no one else, forever.  I love that about him.  We could get by with just each other too, but I'm not sure that's healthy for either of us.  He needs guy friends too - ones that he can have fun, kick back with, have a beer with, be fun and serious with and love him for him.

I pray for those kinds of friends for both of us:)  I pray that I can be a loving, loyal, unselfish, giving, welcoming type of friend.  I thought that I was, maybe before, but maybe not so much now.  I pray that in a few years time, we have tons of friends & time to throw parties for!

Thanks for listening to my rant.  I'll leave you with this - this is really cute friendship, forgive the language, but click here:)  I do have a few lovely friends who are like this with me, and for that I am grateful!