I’ve been in a big transition lately. A whole lotta things have been changing my perspective. Nothing eventful. Nothing dynamic. Just small, meaningful movements in my heart have given me a whole new look at what I want in my life.
What’s funny about that shift is that when you know what you want, you’re immediately aware of what you don’t want. What’s better, you’re also aware of what you won’t tolerate.
One of these things is friendship. I’m crystal clear about what I want in a relationship with a friend. I want honesty. I want support. I want time. Those are the 3 legs of the tripod of friendship that must exist for the relationship to stay balanced. And there’s a reason for those.
Honesty: I must know that you are honest with me. I don’t want you to be abrasive, but I do want you to be honest. I’ll ask your opinion. I’ll ask for help. I’ll ask for perspective. If I can trust you to be honest, then I know that when I ask for your opinion, you’re not telling me what I want to hear. If I wanted a lemming as a friend, the choices are abundant. But I want truth and trust. And as BFF#1 says, “You can say anything where trust is present.”
Support: I can be a little bit of a risk taker (file that under “Obvious statements of the year). So I get excited about new opportunities and things that inspire me. I can overwhelm myself with possibility and work myself to death on things that don’t matter. Once you’re honest with me by telling me what you really think about the 18th project I’ve taken up this month, I want you to tell me that you believe in me. I want you to say, “You got this.” Even better would be, “Can I help you with it?”
Time: This one is a biggie. I need you to actively engage me in discussion and spend time with me. And not only when you need something. But when you want to say hi. When you want to know what is going on in my world. When you want to share something good that happened. Something bad that happened. I want you to want to see me for lunch or dinner or coffee or shopping or pedicures or a movie or just to run errands together.
Understand that I don’t need this all the time. I don’t need you to reach out every single day. I don’t want a friendship that feels like a checklist or a chore. But if you treat people you work with or people you just met better than you treat me, well then there is a big problem. If you make excuses to not spend time with me, or “forget” to update me on a situation that you needed me to help you through when you were in crisis… then there is a problem. If you’re not saying, “How are you?” Or “What’s happening in your world?” or “I haven’t heard from you. Are you okay?”, then we ‘ve gone off the rails a little.
As I continue to grow and learn more about me, I find that I’m actively communicating these changes with my loved ones. I want them to grow with me. I want them to be in my corner. Because they matter to me.
Sadly, there are some that aren’t ready to make the jump. They’re content to be where they are, and that’s okay. I was resentful for a while. I felt like their desire to stay where they were was a rejection of our friendship. I realize now, though, that just as I’m ready to grow, they may not be ready to. And that’s okay. My journey is my journey. And theirs is theirs.
I’ve made the choice to allow that separation to happen. I don’t want to go through the veritable “break up”, which no one walks away from unscathed. But more simply, I want to allow them their own space on their journey. I want to wish them well. I want to remain thankful for their influence in what’s gotten me here. I don’t want them to look at me as someone who pushed them into something they didn’t want.
I want their happiness as much as I want my own.
And I wish them love and light on their journey. Perhaps our paths will cross in another intricate fashion, once more. Until then, I’m happy to have loved them. And to have had their love.
We’ve all dealt with friendships ending at some point. How have you handled it? How has it been handled with you? Do you look back with regret, resentment or respect?