December 07, 2006

Community Service...

About friends.

I like the saying that friends come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. As I get older, I am realizing who my lifetime friends are. Time passes, we each become busy with our own lives and those friends that we were closest with 5 or 10 years ago, we may hear from once in a blue moon. That doesn't make them a bad friend necessarily, but perhaps their "season" is over. On the flip side, friends that we have made only recently now may be our closest friends. Ever since grade school, I always have been the type of person that thinks "everyone" is my friend. I also always try to see the good in everyone and so it never occurs to me to assume that someone is purposely not calling me back or not sending me an email or that they are harboring feelings of jealousy towards me (for whatever reason) or what have you. Girls are strange in that we are sensitive, yet cruel and extremely indirect with our feelings (our husbands would concur, I'm sure). For example, if DH hasn't heard from a friend of his in a long while, here is how the conversation would go:

Guy#1: Yo

Guy#2: Yo, whatup
Guy#1: Man, where you been at? How come you ain't never holla at me?
Guy#2: My bad man. I've been hemmed up with [work, the wife, whatever]

Guy#1: So what man. We're all busy. You can't diss your boys like that. That's green.
Guy#2: You right man. My fault.
Guy#1: Cool. So whatup?

And just like that the issue is resolved.

More importantly, guys never "pretend" to be friends or to maintain friendships with guys that they don't really consider to be their friends. They just aren't that complex/crafty/sensitive. But, for what it's worth, they undergo much less drama and pain. So here is your homework for this weekend: think about who you really consider to be your close friends. Write their names down. Think about when the last you called them was. Email is fine for some things, but nothing beats you picking up the phone and calling. Think about the last time they called you. Have you returned their call? Have you returned their email? If not, be honest with yourself about why. Are they always initiating contact? Why? What friendly deed have you done for them lately? Did you send them a funny trinket in the mail that made you think of them when you saw it? Did you send them an e-card when you knew they were going through a rough time? Did you invite them to go to church with you? Did you invite her over to watch a chick flick? It can be anything to let them know that you are thinking about them and that you cherish your friendship. It's the gesture that counts.

So, demand more from your friends. If she can't even return your call from one week ago, then obviously, to her, your friendship is not a priority. Don't let her off the hook with a "oh, that's just Karen. She never returns calls." Alternatively, realize that those that you thought were your friends, are not. This is hard and may be hurtful. Are you always "giving" and never "receiving"? Why? Think about telling that "friend" how you feel. Finally, check yourself. Be a true friend to those that you care about. Friends are special and life is too short to do otherwise...

This has been a public service annoucement. *wink*

1 comment:

Justice Jones said...

I didn't realize how complicated friendships could be as an adult. But I have come to realize that it really is plain and simple. A real friend calls you to say "what's up," just to say "what's up." On the other hand, an acquaintance calls you or contacts you only when they need something, be it advice, a favor, or what have you. There is nothing really wrong with that, it's just they are not your real friend. Finally, there are people who just do not want to be your friend or acquaintance. Those people never contact you, call you or even send an e-mail to see how you and your family are doing.

And guys do handle it very differently. They keep it simple. They do not lose sleep over people who do not return their calls or even bother to call. They keep rolling with the punches. BUT...,I also find that men do not really have that many friends. They typically have only 1-2 people that they really call friends. Most of the time, it's someone they have known for a really long time. The people they meet along the way, are just "dudes they hang out with."

So, after thinking it over, I've concluded that my real friends called me (not e-mailed) to say congrats when I had my children, called me for at least one holiday/birthday or something at some point during the year (I won't take points off for missing my birthday since I know I miss the birthday of even my closest friends) and also, send me a rude, funny, or demanding e-mail when they haven't heard from in too long. They put me in my place when I need to put in my place. They also tell me the truth and do not sugar coat things when I call them for advice. And if they talk behind my back they will also say it to my face.

I am not mad at all the women I have met along the way and who may have kicked me to the curb. I value all my old and new friendships since all of these women have touched my life in some way. And for that, I'm grateful.

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