Monday, May 26, 2014

Are We Friends?

I read an article recently that made me reflect on my relationship with some of my friends.

I'm the last of five children and many people assume that because I come from a large family, I have a large group of friends, but I actually don't.  I've always felt a bit out of place. To an extent, I consider my family to be my closest friends, and outside my family, I have very few people that I trust and that I get close to.

Growing up, I was always the youngest kid in my classes since I was enrolled in Kindergarten at 3 and skipped a few grades.  When I would bring friends home to meet my siblings, those friends would suddenly no longer be my close friends anymore.  They would get along with my siblings a lot more than with me (likely because of the age difference?), and even though we were friends first, they would no longer be close friends with me. This happened so often that I got used to losing friends or at least sharing them to my exclusion.  Initially, it hurt a lot to lose so many friends, but I accepted that maybe we just weren't as close as I assumed.

Also, I confided in no one outside of my family so I never really felt comfortable venting with my friends or calling them to share my problems because I was raised to keep my struggles hidden.  I actually don't think I know how to call my friends and shoot the shit (so to speak). It feels so strange because I'm so used to solving all my problems on my own.

For the past few weeks, I've been feeling a bit odd about a number of my friendships because I started to notice that even though I may think I'm close to someone, my definition of close may not be the same as theirs.  I feel like the forgotten friend.  I'm not so distant as to be excluded from attending your wedding altogether, but I'm certainly not bridesmaid material.  I've never even been asked to be a bridesmaid (and I have three siblings).  And to be fair, I'm not sure if I've ever expected to be asked even though I've wanted it.

I'm the forgotten friend.

I'm usually the one you forget to tell your good news, and I'm convinced that there's something about what I'm projecting to others about the type of friendship that I want that makes this so.

The truth is I'm quick to cut off friendships that feel one sided instead of actually speaking with my friend about my concerns.  I have this naive belief that friendship should be very easy, and any tiny bump in the road feels like a wall.  I want to save myself from future heartache by ending the friendship, but maybe herein lies my problem.  The energy I'm projecting is a lack of willingness to fight for my friendship.

I'm so busy projecting this self-sufficient image that I forget that I can lean on my friends.  Maybe my close friendships aren't that close at all...

I have been struggling with one friendship in particular for the past few weeks, and one thing I can say about this friendship is that I don't ever have to be afraid that she'll leave me alone.  We may not always agree.  We may fight like siblings, but she has a very special place in my heart.  She knows we owe each other a heart-to-heart soon to catch up, but I know she's going through some serious shit right now and she needs a shoulder to lean on.  I'll be that.

I may not see myself as a great friend all the time, but I'm going to fight for this one and see where it goes.

1 comment:

  1. That's really quite sweet! I know what you mean about some friendships. I've been surprised in the past about 'friendships' I've had in the past and I've tried to learn to truly identify the people who are the real deal. I think the older I've gotten and the more self confident I've become, I have started to distinguish between real friends and acquaintances...