On Friends

Over the past couple years, I’ve thought a lot about my friendships and what they mean to me. What is important to me in my friendships? What are my expectations? Are my expectations realistic? Am I being the type of friend I want someone else to be to me?

I think that I can be a bit of a conundrum to friends. I can be both overly open about things and hard to crack as well. If you are someone I think I can trust, I’ll probably tell you more details then you want to know about something. At the same time, I lean towards a more introverted persona and I don’t often outwardly show a lot of emotion. I also don’t often push for more info from someone than is freely shared. I think this sometimes comes across as detached or indifferent. Which is often not the case. I do want to listen to the things that are going on in my friends lives.

If I had one anxiety about friendships, it would be that I sometimes question if my friends actually want to hang out with me. It often feels like if I do something with friends, it is something that I have to instigate/plan. I know from talking to other friends that I’m not the only person that feels this way. My guess is that it is more widespread than not, especially with the busyness of life as we become older adults. I do know that it feels really good to be invited to do something with someone though. I’ve made a point of focus to make sure I acknowledge when it happens as well, whether or not I can actually take the person up on the invite.

But what is a healthy friendship? There is always going to be some ebb and flow in any relationship whether platonic or romantic. For me, it is important that it is a relationship. There has to be some effort to keep up the friendship on both sides of the friendship. I’ve had to pull away from a friendship because it was largely one sided. I had another friendship that went a little dormant for awhile…and still probably isn’t where I’d like it to be…but has shown signs of life lately.

Ending a friendship is painful. With the exception of my divorce, it’s probably one of the more painful things I’ve done. More painful than even the end of a romantic relationship. I don’t like doing it. Especially when you care deeply about that person. These feelings are fresh. This happened in the past few weeks. I can’t say that friendship is over forever, but for now at least it seems to have come to some sort of end. That still hurts…even if it is the right thing for the time being.

Friendships are an amazing thing. I treasure each one in its own way. They have shaped who I am. They have been my family when I’ve been separated by miles from my actual family. Perhaps that is why they are so hard to step back from.

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