Working Hard for Friendships and When Working Hard Becomes Too Hard

I would like to start this post by saying that I am a people pleaser by nature. I am absurdly friendly to (almost) everyone I meet, I want everyone to be happy, I am outgoing, I like to make people laugh, I go out of my way to be there for people I love, I am open, I speak truthfully, I am loyal, and I am willing to work hard for friendships with people that want to work hard for their friendship with me.

I'm not a doormat, though, and I have a breaking point like everyone else. Growing up has been pretty weird, and while most days I still feel like a kid, I have gone through several stages in my life and have gained and lost friends along the way. 99% of those friendships that have been lost have simply been lost because we grew apart - our values changed, we moved, and one of us just was not diligent about keeping in touch. And that's okay. That is a natural part of life, and of growing older.

You learn a lot about the value of your time, your emotions, and your friendship as you grow up.

Sometimes it's me, sometimes it's them. Sometimes, it's because I have a fundamental disagreement with their lifestyle, and I don't feel I'm capable of being the type of friend that they need. And, sometimes, it's because I need or want specific things in my friendships that that person is not willing or able to offer. Maybe they value things that I find a complete waste of time and energy, or maybe they want a friend that will acquiesce to their every statement and desire, and never call them out on their mistakes or faults. That's just not a friend that I'm able to be, and that's okay.

I think sometimes I am too open and honest to place myself in the best position to make and maintain friendships. I don't let people get away with hurting me, or others, or themselves, and I don't stand idly by while other people live a lie. I can't be friends with people that use my friendship to peddle their products, and I can't be friends with people who - knowingly or unknowingly - treat me like a black sheep in a friend group.

I've become a lot more relaxed in how I approach my friendships. I used to try so hard to "fit in" to whatever group was most convenient to me - in high school, it was with the "scene" kids that spent all their time at "shows" of unknown, relatively terrible bands and tried to look as alternative as possible. In college, it was with sorority girls with whom I had very little in common - socially and financially. In grad school, it was with the hustle in general - high-powered people with suits and lattes working their lives away. And for what? I didn't truthfully, in my soul, want that life, and it wasn't fulfilling to me. So, many of those relationships and friendships fell away as time drew on. And that's okay.

If I don't have anything in common with a person, and I don't feel a connection with them on some deeper level, I don't place pressure on myself to become or stay close to them. I want open, real, trusting relationships with my friends, people to whom I can tell everything that is on my mind, without fear of judgment, reprisal or competition. Not every person can provide that to me, and that's okay.

It's so crazy the things you learn about yourself and how much self-reflection you're able to do as you get older. So many people place pressure on themselves to maintain friendships that are just naturally falling by the wayside, but I have found it to be true that, as those friendships fade, allowing them to fade is the right thing to do. I truly believe God (or Yahweh, or Allah, or the Universe, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, choose your flavor) places people in our lives when we need them most, or when they need us - and that the opposite is true. When your life's path winds away from that person's, sometimes that friendship fades away. Maybe you'll be friends again in the future, and maybe you won't - and either way, that's okay.


2 comments:

  1. I finally learned to stop pouring energy into "friendships" where no one was getting anything out of it anymore. Some really good decisions to "break up" with people!

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  2. Great post. Sometimes friendships are so hard. My childhood best friend and I had a falling out about 6 years ago, and loosing her was one the hardest things, but also one of the best things I did. I discovered she was a negative force in my life and was I no longer "needed" her, I found I was a much happier person. As awful as it was to say. I treasure all of the memories from our friendship, and wouldn't trade them for the world.

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