Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Friendship struggles

One certainty of adult life seems to be the changing of friendships.

This is a hard issue for me because I tend to get attached to people.  I let them in my life and I envision them staying there forever.  Unfortunately, that's rarely the case.  Very few people are meant to be lifelong buddies. And I often let people too far in before I realize that.

Over the past few years, I've had a lot of people leave my life.  The most painful are obviously the most memorable.  You know, the ones with the explosive, fight-filled endings.  But it's equally as sad when someone just kind of drifts away.  Sometimes your lives just shift and change enough that they don't really fit together anymore. 

Recently, I've been evaluating some of my friendships -- ones that have ended and ones that have simply changed.  Even though I would very much like to always blame the other person, I know that's not fair. I have some ownership in the deterioration of some of these bonds, and I have to accept that whether I want to or not.

I can identify two things about myself that tend to affect my relationships.

First of all are my expectations. I see friendships depicted on TV, in movies, and even all over the internet. I find myself comparing my own friendships to those to see how they measure up.  Worst thing to do, right?  And pretty unfair to my friends. I may not have a Tyra Collette to my Julie Taylor ("Friday Night Lights" reference) or even a bond like Monica, Rachel, and Phoebe (I've been watching a lot of "Friends").  I touched on this a few weeks ago with this post.  I have some amazing people in my life and I need to stop trying to hold them to standards that aren't realistic.  All I really need in a friend is trust, support, dependability, and good communication. Simple things that can be accomplished many ways.

Secondly, I also know I'm a very emotional person. Passionate might be a nicer way to say it. I feel things strongly -- the good and the bad.  I've gotten a little better at tempering how I release those emotions, but it's a battle. I realize that can be a lot to deal with. And even more difficult to understand.  Honestly though, I don't need people who understand me one hundred percent of the time. I just need someone who wants to understand me. I need my feelings to be acknowledged without any judgement, condescension, or mockery.

Truly, the biggest key for holding up my end of the friendship bargain is just self-awareness, which is something I'm always trying to work on.

What are your struggles in friendships?




8 comments:

  1. I've reflected on friendships a lot these past two years. I've only ended a friendship with a fight one time. The rest have all drifted away. I only have a handful of friends I see consistently and 20-25 I see once or twice a year, which makes me sad. I agree that self-awareness is key!

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  2. I'm right there with you in these struggles! It stinks!

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  3. This post speaks to me. I have a few friendships that have definitely shifted over the past few years and I am trying to decide how much effort to put into them now. I have unrealistic expectations of other people and get frustrated when what I put out there for other people isn't returned. Its not like I expect them to give exactly what i give, but i do sometimes need more effort than what I get. Its a challenge to manage my expectations. i constantly battle this...

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  4. I totally understand. I have some old friends that have been around since grade 5. But when was the last time we really talked? I feel like I could call them up with an issue and they'd be there, but I don't know what part of me thinks that just because I can't accept that we're all living our own lives? It's hard - a lot of these friendships are tested because of distance, and then when they get a new group in their new city, it kinda pushes the old ones out of the picture a bit.

    I'm trying to do what I can to keep in touch, but I have a feeling that over the next few years, it will come down to who is worth holding onto.

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  5. I totally feel your pain. I've had two of my best friends leave in the last few years. One to a fight/misunderstanding and one to distance. Gosh, it's painful and still really sad that they're not in my life. The one who moved away, I can still call and talk to, but it's not the same at all. I know as a young adult, your life changes a lot-- people move around, get married at different times, have kids at different times, etc. But that doesn't make me miss those girls that I loved and were such a part of my life any less. It's too bad that being an adult doesn't mean stability and maturity in the people in your life. :/

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  6. I love this, and I love that you know where your flaws are when it comes to friendships. I've been lucky to have a core group of girlfriends that I've been friends with for 20+ years. But I know that isn't the norm. My biggest struggle now is that we live all over the place and I don't have anyone that is nearby that I've really connected with. So mostly, I just miss having friends, and I don't honestly know how to make them "at my age" (that sounds so old).

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  7. This post definitely speaks to me. I've moved around a lot so I find that it's been hard to develop really great true friendships. I also married a lot later in life than most of my friends so it was hard to connect when we were on such different pages and I was wandering all over the place. It was also hard when I got married. My husband still has friends from childhood. Many that are still pretty close friends. I kind of felt weird or like there was something wrong with me because I don't really talk to anyone from childhood. But what I've come to realize is that friendships are a lot like romantic relationships (I wrote about this on my blog). You meet people and really connect and then you stop connecting. And it could be for a variety of reasons.

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  8. All I can really say to this (because I feel like I have lived this over and over in my life) is that you are very mature to accept your responsibility. I tried to do that with a few break ups, make sure you forgive yourself. I beat myself up for a long time over the loss of one friend before I came to realize, the people that love you, really love you, don't leave. The ones meant to be in your life are. Does it hurt? Sure, a lot at times. But I also know you have some amazing friends and those are the ones that matter! XO

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