What I’ve Learned This Year About Friendship

amen

NEVER ASSUME ANYTHING…..EVER

It’s so easy for me to get comfortable in a relationship if I have had it with a person for a long time.  I get together with friends, go to movies, the beach, smile, and tell secrets that only close friends are allowed to share.  I assume that everyone is happy because I myself feel happy in moments with that person.  Well, I’m here to personally say that I’ve been wrong. Just because I FEEL happy and content in a relationship, does not mean that the other person feels the same way. Whether we are referring to marriage, a relationship, or friendship it’s essential to check on the other person. Regardless of life’s stresses, I am never again going to set my friendship completely aside, assuming it’s okay, and deal with everything else revolving around it.

happy

FORGIVENESS

I’ve had to ask for forgiveness many times this year. When fighting with a friend, it gets really confusing as to whether to defend myself  or say “I’m sorry” and back down.  As a type A personality, I really like being right. When I am wrong, I try to find a way to justify things that I do. I’ve had to use that fighting part of me a lot in my life. Even over simple issues that could be resolved calmly I tend to not be able to turn that part of me off. Even when I do say I’m sorry it feels kind of lame because it’s not like I can reverse time and fix everything. I can’t stop that person from feeling effected and hurt by my actions.  The two words “I’m Sorry” are so simple and yet really the greatest thing a person can try to give to another because in all actuality, it’s all they have to give.  Whether they be given in a moment of awakening or in sincere regret over their actions. For the person that has been hurt, who  truly accepts the apology, and is willing to try it again on a better foot…..I would hope you would never forget that moment. I got to experience what that felt like recently. It doesn’t mean anything is fixed or that it even can be fixed.  It just means that you received the gift of hope to take a second shot at putting together whatever it is that got broken in the first place. On the flip side, I got to experience for the first time what it felt like to be told that I will not be forgiven now or in the future. That really sucked as it’s not a statement anyone really wants to hear. But it’s honest and it’s where that person was coming from. I have to learn to accept the fact that not everyone is going to be able to resolve or feel remorse for certain issues. It’s a personal decision that is out of my control.

forgive

SPACE

Now this is a fun topic (NOT). Okay so “space” is not something until the past few months I’ve understood AT ALL.  By nature, I’ve always taken my friendships to an almost unhealthy level. I do not have parents in my life so I have sought out a handful of friends to support me emotionally and fill voids that have been empty since childhood.  Whenever I pick up the phone I have usually been able to get ahold of one of my friends to vent about whatever was happening that week.  Willingly and kindly, they have always tried to be there. Whether that be taking me in, complimenting me, or motivating me.  I’ve craved their attention and panicked (literally) when I could not find it.  I had a friend tell me this year that they needed some space and did not want to talk about certain issues in there life.  Having never experienced feeling that way towards a friend before, my mind took that to a really personal place. Everything that went through my brain was that they were pushing me away, that they didn’t want me, that they trusted other friends but not me, what had I done, etc.  I guess just hearing the word “space” triggered something with me that felt like I was being rejected by the one person I had come to trust more than anyone. It was really the most painful and confusing feeling I’ve ever felt. So there I stayed, hidden under a rock in a depressed ball. I will skip over the middle part because that is drama filled and there is definitely no reason to revisit that one!!

hedgehog

Anyway, time goes by, and it happens to me. For the first time, I experience what it feels like to be on the other side. I all the sudden realize what my friend was dealing with.  I had a friendship misunderstanding if you will happen with one of my friends here in VA. Trying to figure out how to deal with that, I got a call that pretty much stopped my thought process for several weeks. My sister died unexpectedly and I found myself wishing she had taken me with her.  In the process of this, I had a friend who wanted to discuss our misunderstanding. I could not remotely think of doing that when I was dealing with something so painful. Long story short, the persistence and lack of understanding towards me ultimately led me to knowing our friendship needed to be ended. But not before I got a slap in the face as to what my friend above was going through.  It was not that I did not want to talk about the misunderstanding or that I didn’t care about my friend…..but that I just needed time to recover from what was happening around me. It’s a concept she didn’t understand and  until this past few weeks I didn’t even understand! I get it now…. It’s just sad I had to personally end one of my good friendships. It’s the first time I believe that I have personally made the decision to walk away from someone I really cared about.

goodbye

If someone tells you they need space, don’t automatically go to a place of “they are pushing me away, I must have done something wrong!.”  Everyone deals with issues differently. As much as we would like our friends to confide in us, the best thing we can do is back off and let them come to us when they are ready. If we pry, overwhelm them, or do not respect them…. please take it from me that you will LOSE them.  They will feel so violated by the lack of respect of privacy that they will dive into their shell and not come back out as to so much greet you (if we are referring to a turtle).

These are things that I have personally learned. I just wanted to share them with you so maybe they will be of help to someone else.

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2 thoughts on “What I’ve Learned This Year About Friendship

  1. You know, I think every person owes the other a debt of love, and forgiveness. We absolutely cannot love if we can’t forgive because love and forgiveness go hand and hand. I like what Jesus said, “Bitter and sweet waters don’t run out of the same fountain”. It’s either one or the other.

    I know you to be a loving, kind, and compassionate person. Sure, you’ve got all the other pieces in you that make you human- but you’re a good person, Jen. For those that want to focus on all of the less than perfect parts, let’s hope their mirrors are clean- and honest. We all have “ugly bits”.
    Some people focus on the ugly bits, because they themselves are full of ugliness.

    But you know, love is a choice- just like hatred. Love takes WORK, and a cold choice every day to continue choosing that love- just like a marriage.

    I hope you’re doing well, m ‘friend! You’re an inspiration. 😉
    XO

  2. Hey Birgitta thank you for that! Your advice is so heart felt and appreciated on many levels. A lot of times you know exactly what I need to hear. ❤ I agree that love takes work!!! I never really realized that when I was younger but as I've gotten older I have definitely come to terms with that concept haha. I agree that some people focus on the ugly bits which is unfortunate. I'm at a place where I realize that all people make mistakes. My thing is, if people are willing to stand up and own them then nine times out of ten I am willing to forgive them and give them another shot. I also respect people who raise their hand and say " I was wrong." Those are a few words that I hardly ever hear or say for that matter myself. Hopefully I will be doing and hearing more of that in the future!! Have your courses started? I need to check your blog and see 🙂

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