It has been an adventure to get me into this space to write but I hope that, now that I am here, I will be regularly contributing helpful stuff on this page.
Todays blog was sparked by a post I saw on facebook, which got me thinking not only about specific friendships in my life but about my relationships in general.
Once upon a time and not so very long ago, I used to spend a huge amount of energy making sure that my relationships worked in the way I felt they should.
I remembered birthdays, I remembered the death dates of parents, spouses and sadly, some children but the pressures I placed on myself, to make sure that I didn’t miss any of the above-mentioned dates, was huge.
I thought that people were supposed to make sure that all of their friends felt cared for as much as possible.
This kind of thinking was torturous when I missed anyones anything because I translated that to my being a terrible friend and horrible person.
This way of thinking also caused me dreadful angst when friends did not give me the same kind of care that I tried to bestow on them.
My wake up call came from one of my best friends whom I felt had neglected me. On telling her that I was upset that she had not called to find out how something went, she launched into a monologue about how her days did not revolve around me and that I was not top of her list of priorities to deal with.
OUCH…that stung…but it planted a seed which then refused to stop growing.
This idea, that I was not at the top of everyones list of things to think about, was so obvious that I had neglected to contemplate it, choosing to feel hurt and neglected instead when I didn’t get the attention I believed was due me.
Looking back, I was such a needy person for years, from a point in my life that I can’t even pinpoint.
Teenage years possibly.
I lost my best friend in high school not because we argued but because we stopped talking to each other.
I thought she preferred another friend, from her new classmates and she thought the same about me.
We never asked each other any questions. We just added 1 + 1 and got the answer we were looking for, which was not the correct one. We personalised something as simple as our best friend having a new friendship and made it into them having a new best friend and abandoning us.
She and I met again, years later and we picked up where we left off, laughing about the reason we threw away our best-friend status. We still connect occasionally and we easily slip back into that space, as best friends, from forty five years ago.
Friendship is often called a two way street and I agree that strong friendships must have input from both sides but I don’t think that this has to be consistently even.
My old way of doing things used to be to contact a friend three times and if they did not reciprocate with a call-back, I stopped calling because I translated that to them being uninterested in our friendship.
Nowadays, I am more likely to keep calling (or messaging because it is my preferred social media) because I want the person to know that I am still there…should they need me.
Too often I have imagined that non-communication was about me when it really was about the other person.
Sometimes they had been having a rough time. Sometimes they were hugely busy, caring for kids and parents at the same time. Sometimes they were too overwhelmed to absorb anything outwith themselves. And sometimes, they were suffering from social anxiety or some other mental-health issue and were scared to connect in case I guessed their biggest shame.
Their non-communication was nothing to do with me nor my value as a friend. But I made it about me.
And I suffered.
I remember being crushed when virtually none of my friends showed up at my mothers funeral. My brother and sister had loads of their friends there but mine were conspicuous to me by their absence.
I remember trying not to feel hurt but failed miserably…because I had always tried to attend funerals to show my support and caring for the friend who was bereaved so I had ‘expected’ that others would do the same.
But we are not all the same…and I chose to (and still choose to) go to funerals to support people I care for.
The difference now is that I understand that I do it because I choose to because of something my mum once told me about, after her father died.
Death does not scare me. Other peoples grief does not scare me. But that is me.
Death and other peoples grief can feel too scary for some people to face and I now do not expect my own way of doing anything to be done by anyone else.
I am happy to report that nowadays I suffer much less.
And on that note, I shall close. I was going to take this blog into my other relationships but will leave it at friendship and follow up with other relationships later.
If you have an opinion, I am happy to hear it.
Have a blessed day, with lots of love and light in it.