Having a small circle of friends has worked out very well for me over the years. Some people must be flanked by their friends at all times. I’ve never been that person. It was in high school when I realized that not everyone shares my view of what a true friend really is. I tried to be a true friend to someone who clearly wasn’t a true friend to me, and it manifested itself in a very ugly way. I was hurt, but in the end my eyes were opened, and they’ve been open ever since. From that point on I’ve always been very cautious of who I trust and invest time and energy in. I believe in treating others the way you want to be treated and I expect the same in return. The problem is not everyone shares that outlook. I consider myself to be pretty perceptive and a good people reader. Being a shy person and spending a lot of time in the background observing people sharpened my powers of perception over the years. This has helped me to stay away from the clingy/stalker friends, the user/mooching friends, the emotionally draining friends, and the domineering/bossy friends.
My definition of a true blue friend is someone who is a good listener. Someone who will be honest with you at all times and tell you the truth, not what they think you want to hear. A person who is there for you as much as you are there for them. Most importantly they must be someone I can trust implicitly. Just as in marriage, if there’s no trust there’s no marriage. If there’s no trust in your friendship there’s no friendship. Am I wrong? Am I the only one who feels this way?
By no means am I perfect, nor have I ever claimed to be. I simply find it hard to find true blue friends. I try to be a good listener. I make sure I listen to what you have to say before I offer my thoughts. Whatever you say stays with me. When I promise not to tell another soul or if I’m sworn to secrecy I do just that. When you ask for my advice I will give it to you and I will always be tactful, yet honest. I believe I am trustworthy, and if I hurt you in any shape or form I will apologize and admit my wrong and try my best not to do it again. Being a mother and wife I may not have all the time in the world to hang out and do things, but I do make an effort to stay in touch with my friends.
Every friend that I listed above that I don’t want, I have experienced in some shape or form over the years. Sometimes I feel like I have a magnet on my forehead for these types of people to be drawn to me. I’m nice to everyone, I welcome everyone with a smile and a friendly hello. That’s just how I am. I also understand that people have friends for different reasons and to serve different purposes. Some need friends that make them feel important and worthy or better than others. Some people need friends who tell them what they want to hear. Some need to be the center of attention at all times. I just want a friend that I connect with intellectually, spiritually, and whom I share the same interests with. Someone who treats me just as well as I treat them. Why is this so hard to find?
Over the years only three people have fit that bill and that’s my childhood friend Angie (we’ve been BFF’s since we were 3 or 4 years old) my friend Becky that I’ve been friends with for 20 something odd years and my husband that I’ve been friends with since childhood and married to for 20 years. These are the people I know I can be completely honest with and not fear them telling my secrets to another soul, or judge me for saying how I truly feel about something – good or bad. These are the people who will tell me I’m wrong when I’m wrong. These are the people that will tell me that I need to check myself (i.e. adjustment my attitude) or if I need to calm down. These are also the people that will reassure my feelings or confirm something for me if I wasn’t sure.
Since becoming a wife and mother I’ve tried to broaden out my friendships and it hasn’t gone too well. When that kept happening I realized that I had to do some serious soul searching because I thought it was everyone else who had the problem, not me. When I truly looked at myself I found that I was very “one and done.” I only gave people one chance with me, and if they did something that I didn’t like or said something that didn’t sit well with me I cut them off. I wasn’t a forgiving or patient person, and I know a big reason why I became this way is because of being burned so much in the past by people I thought I could trust. Even still, it was a very ugly way to be and I didn’t like this side of my personality. Change within myself was needed.
My close circle of friends has remained small, but I did make it a goal to be more forgiving and not so quick to judge and write people off. At the age of 40 I still encounter people who think they can bully me, push me around or shut me up. They take my niceness for weakness and I’ll never understand these types of people. I’ll never understand people who feel they have the right to tell you what to do, how you should feel, or simply intrude into your personal life without your invitation to do so. This is what I have the biggest issue with. I mind my own business, I don’t offer unsolicited advice, and I don’t question people, yet people feel they have the right to do this to me. Then once I put them in their place in my nice nasty way they call me mean. I can do nothing but laugh! They have the audacity to act as though I hurt their feelings for telling them in a semi-polite way to mind their own business.
At the end of the day we’re all imperfect. We all have personality flaws that rub people the wrong way, and I’m not exempt. It’s how we deal with each other’s flaws that’s key. We have to treat each other with love, patience, kindness, and understanding. Not everyone is meant to be your friend, and I’m ok with that. I know that I’m still a work in progress. I know what I’m willing to put up with and what I’m not willing to put up with. I know the qualities I want in a friend, and I may not find all of those qualities in that person but I shouldn’t be so quick to write that person off either. Finding a true friend is like finding a diamond in the rough. Once you find that diamond, you hang on to it and cherish it for life and never let it go. That’s how you should treat your dear, true friends. I am blessed that I have the true friends I have in my life today, friends who have experienced the highs and lows, grief and happiness with me, and I with them. It is my hope that I never stop trying to be a good friend and to treat everyone with respect, love, kindness, and patience.
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