Life can feel like a revolving door of friendships the more you learn yourself and walk towards your goals, people come in and out. Occasionally, this is an exciting time as new amazing people come in and occasionally it’s a frustrating time when you start asking yourself, who really is my friend?
Approaching 30 has taught me quite a few lessons on friendships and being a friend. I’m sure I’ll learn many more approaching 50, but for now I’ve gathered a few key conclusions.
Everybody is not your friend
Everyone who smiles with you, laughs with you, eats at your table or even calls when you are sick is not your friend. Some folks fake the funk very well. Understanding that everyone is not your friend was key to understanding friendships. And most importantly, it is OKAY for everyone not to be your friend. You can have cordial acquaintances around you that do friendly things without pulling them into your circle and bestowing friendship expectations. It will blow up in your face every time.
Very rarely can someone be your “everything” friend
Categorizing friendships is the second best thing you can do for yourself beyond your friendship screening process. I have close friends that I can all call for a good night out, but not all that I can call for prayer or to really counsel me through an issue. For example, when I’m going through tough times I need a sounding board and some great pep talks. One of my close friends is terrible at pep talks. Does that make her any less of a friend? No, but I’ve learned to not go to her when I need certain feedback because we’ll only both end up frustrated. Not every friend can be your “everything” friend and that’s okay too.
Sometimes, it’s you.
In friendships especially, we like to magnify what the other person is doing while minimizing and excusing our own actions. Do people not hang out with you as much anymore? Why might that be? True, they could be a gaggle of nonsense but perhaps you aren’t being a good friend. It was the toughest lesson on friendships – sometimes you are the bad friend. Possibly your friends help you see the truth and help you make changes, or they leave for you to figure it out. Either way, BEING a good friend is just as important as your friends being good to you.
Nobody likes to throw out friendships, it’s like losing a favorite pair of shoes. We assume because someone is with us, around us, and even sometimes helping us, that we should continue to be their friend. Trust your instincts and listen to patterns. If you wouldn’t tolerate certain behaviors and treatment from a romantic partnership, why tolerate it in a friendship? If you don’t feel like you can grow and are growing in the same direction, never be afraid to let go. Carrying dead weight with you is only going to make you tired. Friendships end. And that is okay.
Have you learned other important lessons about friendships? Share in the comments below!
Dee Rene is the writer and creator of Laugh.Cry.Cuss., a faith based blog that finds valuable lessons in pop culture and every day life. She is based in NYC. You can follow her or the blog on twitter @deerene_lcc @laughcrycuss or visit the site at http://laughcrycuss.com.