I’ve been volleying this issue I had over a recently ended friendship. I call it an issue, because for most people the friendship ends, they move on, and that is life. Chapter closed. I’d like for it to be that way, but as I mentioned in my last blog, I dream the hell out of things, and this particular issue decided to visit me in my mind last night (along with a weird foot cramp, but I digress) in the form of a horrible haunting nightmare.
The details of the nightmare are a moot point, but the fact that this is still somehow an issue for me troubles me. “Why?”, my Therapist Mind asks me. “Why do you place so much importance on this?”. I had to think for a moment on this one, but with defining amount of clarity it came through: “Because I am a damn good friend, and I don’t hand out friendship cards willy-nilly”, I retort. You may not realize this, but it’s a privilege to be my friend. I know,— it sounds self-centered as all get-up to state it, but in falling in love with myself, I realize it’s a quality about me I’m very proud of.
I am a freaking good friend. And if I were selling myself to the public on this (which apparently I am doing now) this would be my list of attributes.
- I’m funny.
- I’m smart.
- I’m always there to listen to you and usually make you laugh.
- I will defend you to the end of the world and back again.
- I am so fiercely loyal, it can be and has been detrimental to myself*.
- I’ve got a great ear for music.
- I give damn good advice.
- I’m a great hostess, and love having you over my house.
- I can put a Halloween costume together faster than MacGyver.
- I’ll never post a bad selfie of you, just because it looks good of me. And if I do, it’s because I honestly thought you looked cute too, but I’ll immediately take it down if it bothers you that much.
- I take pretty good pics of my friends, which means most of the selfies don’t fall into the above mentioned category.
- I can usually pace myself drinking with you, which means you can occasionally let loose and not have to worry about the both of us being so trashed we get into trouble.
- On the flip side of that, If you want to get in trouble, I am a great amigo to go along with your crazy shenanigans.
- I’ll never throw you over for a guy.
- I’ve got great taste in shoes and clothes, and will always lend you whatever you need. Unless you’re really skinny with a narrow foot, and in that case, chances are we’re probably not that good of friends anyway. (It’s not a preference, just an observation)
The downsides are – well they are downsides for God’s sake. They call them that, because they aren’t the good sides of life, or people.
- I’m possessive. (see below – this was just added)
- I’m hypersensitive and get my feelings hurt quite easily.
- I’m cranky when I’m hungry or tired.
- I’m a tad controlling. I think when I was little, they called that bossy.
- I like to play my music, because well let’s face it; I have a pretty good selection of music. And that controlling thing.
- Have I mentioned how sensitive I am?
- I prefer us playing at my house, versus yours usually.
- Have I mentioned I am a tad controlling?
- I’m terrible at buying the perfect card for your special event. Birthdays, Sympathies, Anniversaries. They all seem to be the wrong card.
- I tend to speak my mind without always thinking things through, and things can get lost in translation, causing your feelings to get hurt, which makes me feel horrible and I will overcompensate with too many apologies.
- I mull things over – TO DEATH.
- I’m stubborn as a mule when my feelings are hurt.
I think I’ve written on the subject of friendship more than anything else on this blog. That’s how important I take my friendships. For as long as I can recall I’ve taken a lot of my friendships – well I assume, — I take them a lot more serious than most. Not in a crazy way, just in a more … committed manner.
On the outside at the start of our friendship, I am the cool cucumber, chilling about the possibility of us being friends. But if you fit my friendship criteria, inwardly my emotions are closer to a Midwest housewife who just hit her first big jackpot playing slots. I am all over the place with giddiness. For as much as I grew later to love being in-love, it started with me love finding that friend. The one you just click with perfectly. If we ever drink together and you’re the kind of friend I just described? I’ll let you know. Trust me. 😉
The problem when I was little was, it was like I was entering this super serious relationships after two dates. Emotionally I didn’t really know how to have that chill factor. I didn’t get big groups of friends, which could be pretty suffocating for a six year old. And for a 12 year old. And a 53 year old. I prefer smaller groups of people. I just get lost in the mix of those huge girl gangs.
But smaller also means more intimate, emotionally of course and for those who have the penchant for widespread friends it could be overwhelming I imagine.
A typical scene at 6 could have played out like this:
Her: “Hey man, this is great and all, but I really just wanted someone to play hopscotch with a few days a week during recess. Maybe get a juice box with during snack. This is getting really intense. Like, your freaking out about me playing Barbie’s with Millie after school was completely off the charts. I’m thinking that maybe we need to take a few steps back on this friendship….”
Me: Silent, with the big brown melting eyes, slowly filling up with hot salty liquid, palming the anniversary gift of our two week friend-aversary behind my back, not understanding what just happened. Again.
OK, so the dramatic license was used in that scene a teensy bit, but realistically that’s how it felt to me at six-years old. I was possessive (let me add that to my list of Cons. There, done.) and while I never had a friend ditch me with a “can’t we just be (less than) friends” speech, it felt like that to my dramatic little self.
Over time, and I’ll be honest here it took quite some time – I learned that while I was what I perceived as a great friend to have, I also had a very high level of expectation for my own friends. So inevitably, I’d get angry, take my proverbial and sometimes literal ball, and go home. Later I would calm down, and wonder why when I had cooled off, you, the friend had already moved on.
“You were supposed to be pining for our friendship! Thinking about what you did wrong! – Why are you playing with her now?! I didn’t want this friendship anyway!”
While that didn’t exactly happen, in examining my early friendships I did have a couple of situations that were similar to this. One was a friend in fifth grade, and if there was ever a heartbreak over a friendship, that one was it. I honestly don’t recall what happened with us, but something in the back of my brain tickles with a scenario that fits the above mentioned. I also had a couple of those After School Special saga’s where you go away for the summer and you come home to find the best friend has moved on without you. Not literally moved, just decided to be best friends with someone else. While I can joke about it here, tongue-in-cheek, I do think it made me a lot more weary of friends.
I imagine with my being so very single now, I am back at that place, where I rest a lot of importance on friendships once again. In my previous relationships, my SO is generally speaking my best friend, so it takes up a big space, and probably a little of heat off the current stable of friends. It would make sense that if these (as I spread hands out in a very Jesus-like manner to all you friends) are my world, then losing one of them would be like losing a little part of me.
Take that, Therapist Mind.
This also doesn’t mean that I don’t have those friendships that are a little less serious. While I’m still not good with the gaggle of tight friendships, I am getting quite adept at following my chill factor and having these non-possessive friendships. I like to call them my Friendship-Light. They taste great, but they are definitely less filling.
In closing, this afternoon I was telling my youngest the story of the nightmare, and she asked why I thought I might be harboring these feelings. As we bantered back and forth on the subject she mentioned that her cold heart said good riddance to the situation. Her stating she had a cold heart was what caught my attention, and I asked in seriousness where it could come from. She’s the warmest person I know.
She answered me back with:
It’s because I’m the most fiercely loyal person in the world. So if anyone even remotely hurts your feelings, my gigantic heart wraps its arms around you in protection and then gut-kicks anyone in your direction.
*Kick* BACK OFF, DIS MAH MOMMA, BACK UP *Kick* EVERYONE BACK UP *Kick* *Kick* *Kick*
And I realized, OMG, it’s genetic.
*For the record: I’ve gotten myself into a lot of situations defending friends from assholes. They didn’t necessarily ask me to defend them, but I think I suffer from White-Knight-Syndrome, and feel like I have to come to the rescue of anyone who does someone I care about wrong. Some of the time this can be done rationally. But more often than not, it plays itself out like a really bad, really predictable sitcom. I have control over the volley of insults being lobbed, being cheered on (sometimes just in my head) and feeling great about putting someone in their place, until ultimately I get too cocky or sloppy or maybe things were just misunderstood, and in slow motion you can see the “Oooooooooooohhhh nnnnoooooooo!” moment as it happens and I trip up, usually making the situation worse. By now all cockiness is gone, and I am babbling an apology, or just trying to retreat and it’s all like melted ice cream with me sliding all over the place, while everyone rolls their eyes in slow motion, and trying to look away from the verbal carnage.