To have a friend, you must be a friend

I have this “friend” who drives me crazy now. We were once close, then she said something very hurtful to me; had her own personal “slow speed come apart;” went into selfish “all about me” mode; and now is pregnant and wants things to be back to where they were… but not talk about the issues from the past. I would very much like to just cut her out of my life, but because she is my neighbor and we share carpooling-the-preschoolers-to-school duty, it just isn’t possible right now.

So I find myself just trying to get over it and get to a place that we can be friends again. And I sometimes can almost feel myself at that place, but then I will get some reminder about her true colors and it just takes me back to a resentful place.

I find that female friends are so important, and I greatly desire more uplifting and positive women in my life. Women who inspire me, as much as I inspire them to be a better person, friend, and mother. I want more of these friends in my life, and she will never be one of these friends. She is the opposite of this kind of friend I desire. Because she is ultimately so selfish, it makes me be selfish, just so I don’t feel taken advantage of. If she asks me to help her out, I immediately wonder when I will be reciprocated, if ever. It is like there is a tally I keep in my mind to make sure we are equally contributing to the friendship. Trust me, that is no way to grow and flourish a friendship. But yet, I know if I let my guard down, I will be the only one giving because she is a taker.

So for now, I will continue to have this give and take and tally-keeping of a friendship, because I don’t know what the alternative is.

I also must continue to look for and invest in the type of friendship I crave. It just sometimes feels silly to be 38 and looking for deep, meaningful friendships. But this is where I am and it feels important to me right now. I keep repeating to myself: “To have a friend, you must be a friend.” I know that if I keep putting myself out there it will happen.

Friends

Just got back from a lovely night with an old friend. It was so nice. I always wonder two things after such a night (which are so rare). First, why don’t I do this more often? And two, how does such a simple thing always work so well?

I know why I don’t do it more often: busy, families, blah, blah, blah. Also, it would probably help if I had a few more girl friends. I am trying to work on that. But I find it so hard to make a deep connection with other women lately. I think it mainly boils down to the fact that most of the potential friends in my life are moms of my kid’s friends. And because I have four kids, I theoretically have a lot of moms to choose from. BUT, because of the huge age range of my kids, it is hard to be at the same life-stage as other moms. And I find the biggest barrier to friendship is non-compatible life-stages. For instance, if I try to make friends with my 10 year old son’s friend’s mom, the fact that I am also still in the baby life-stage, gets in the way. I’m still nursing a baby. I can’t be away for too long. Or, I have to bring the baby with me, and that presents other problems. Babies are cute, and mine is no exception, but I can’t really carry meaningful conversations with another person if I am chasing around my one year old. Same, but opposite thing happens if I try to make friends with another person in the baby life-stage: they don’t get all the things that go with having older kids. There are football games and practices and band performances and school projects and so on and so forth. They understand it, but the reality of it is daunting and an obstacle to deeper friendships.

As far as how hanging out with friends is such an easy and quick boost, I’m sure there is a simple answer that can be found in some psychology or sociology textbook. But for me, with my history of depression and unhappiness, this is such a simple tool that I never used. Because when I feel horrible, “the last thing I want to do is bring down a friend,” is my predominant thought. Instead, it should be, “I need to find a friend to bring me up.”

So, those are just my thoughts after an uplifting night with friends. I just wanted to write them down so I can remind myself all the reasons I need to do it more often. Here’s to more great girl’s nights in my future!!