Tag: friendship

Friends forever

Years ago I believed that if I remained friends with an individual for five years, we’d be friends forever.

That’s not exactly true…yes five years is a long time to keep a friendship going. However, both parties have to actively work to keep the relationship afloat.

I’ve moved a few times in my adult life and I’m the first to admit that it’s hard work to maintain friendships. Thankfully, I’ve maintained some relationships in my adult life. Although it has been work.

Like me, my friends are adults. They are employees, spouses, parents, and we all live in different areas of the country. Life gets busy and making time to check in on friends is a lot. We manage to keep in touch with each other.

I’m also inactive on the major social media networks which has become a primary way of keeping in contact with individuals. I believe that true friendships reach beyond the world of Facebook. Removing myself from Facebook and Twitter approximately 5 years ago, quickly showed how some of my friendships were faux/ships of pseudo/relationships! They didn’t outlast my participation in social media networks.

I also was invited to less baby showers, birthday parties, and weddings when I deactivated my major social network pages! – this was welcomed news because I was always mailing gifts or sending my mom on a mission to find a gift for the recipient.

Today, I think that it takes much more than five years of knowing one another to be friends for life. It takes commitment and communication.

Transitions, transitions, transitions

I’ve written a lot about transitioning from grad student to PhD and the job search. Many of my trials and triumphs I expected to have…others not so much.

The changes in relationships are something that I was totally unprepared for. I’d read the literature that suggests that the first generation graduates like myself had unique relationship issues.

It’s too painful to write about really. I never expected my relationships to change in anyway once I got my degree.

Some people think I behave like I’m better than them while my behavior hasn’t changed. The knowledge that I have degrees has and the attention I receive has changed.

I’m proud of myself and although I don’t share my accomplishments widely I am proud of them. I refuse to downplay my accomplishments to make others feel better. Yet I also only mention them when I’m asked about it.

I’ve never thought I was better than anyone, however, if someone believes I am better than them…who am I to dispute it?

I have no control over another person’s reactions to me. I take responsibility for my actions and I realize that my matter of fact way of speaking may easily offend others.

I’ve always been that way. Im very analytic and at times it may very well seem that I’m speaking an unknown language. At times I will think through something aloud while speaking with someone and I’m certain to them it sounds like gibberish

I see people as my equals and I speak to everyone the same. I speak to a 3 month old baby using the same direct speak I use with an adult.

I’ve speculated that I could possibly be somewhere on the autism spectrum – but I always conclude that if I am I’ve learned how to cope throughout the years.

Plus my quirks have not gotten in my way. Perhaps it’s not the degrees, accomplishments, or attention that created the changes in my relationships.

Perhaps it’s the direct exposure to me on a day to day basis. I believe that when an individual is around you, you witness their quirks in a way that you may not usually notice.

I’m generally reserved and I enjoy solitude. I don’t like to converse with multiple people at a time – not because I’m stuck up, but because I have total hearing loss in one of my ears.

I’m upset now because I try to present myself as a kind individual who really just loves to help. To know that there’s at least one person who thinks I belittle them, is troubling.

I’ll think about the accusations for awhile and I’ll survey my behavior when I’m interacting with others. If there is anything I can do to address this alleged behavior, I will.

Even with that, I know that I don’t think of myself as superior. I’m extremely grateful for the opportunities I’ve had in my life and I’m thankful to everyone who helped me along the way.

I imagine this is just another part of my transition….but no one told me that my relationships would change.

Friendship Failures

It’s commonplace to hear about long-lasting friendships and about the beauty of friendships in general.

That’s wonderful…but where’s the conversations about those friendship failures?

I’ve had quite a few of those in my life. Honestly, I’ve had more of these failures than I’d admit publicly.

The first question I’m asked when I mention the many failed friendships I’ve had is – What’s wrong with you?

Trust me, I’ve asked myself that many times. I’ve concluded that I’m certainly not everyone’s cup of tea when it comes to being a friend; however, I’m also a very good friend.

My lack of expressiveness sometimes causes problems in my friendships. Also my love of solitude and quiet time doesn’t bode well with many individuals. Not to mention, how the chronic illnesses which take residence in my body can sometimes make it difficult to spend time with friends.

I remember the time I changed the plans to hang out with a friend at the last minute due to my unpredictable chronic illness flare. Notice I said I changed the plans, not canceled outright!

That was the last time me and this individual hung out. I thought we were on our way to becoming lifelong friends…our relationship didn’t make to two years.

There was another lovely individual that I bonded with nearly instantly. We were fast friends! Well during the second year of our relationship we had a disagreement about lifestyle choices. After that fateful conversation we never said as much as hello to one another again.

This particular situation was difficult because during our brief friendship we’d made plans to be in each other’s lives for major events like marriage, children, career milestones. Oh we were so optimistic, yet we chose to terminate communication with each other after just one conversation that highlighted a disagreement about lifestyle.

Then there was also this individual who I called my best friend and felt like they were a sibling to me…our friendship lasted for years. Honestly, it was on and off so when I really consider the times we were actively friends I must say it lasted only about four years.

This particular friend and I had a disagreement about my choices and the relationship ended, never to be mended. The reason I say it will never be mended is because I have no real idea why it ended. We grew apart rapidly and I continued to be friends with our mutual friends. Much to the dismay of this individual

I often hear individuals say that people enter into your life for a season. That may be true, but even with that understand friendship failures are difficult.

I can often be overly optimistic when it comes to friends. I’ve also been known as someone who is too forgiving and always there for individuals even if they are no longer my friends

For example one of my former friends called me early one morning – around 3am – I was asleep. The ringing of my phone woke me up, so I answered. Short of a few significant others who worked early mornings or late night, no one called me at 3am unless it was emergent.

I was shocked when I saw my former friend’s name on the telephone screen; but I answered. This individual was having a hard time and needed a friend. They even told me during that conversation – that although they no longer talked to me they knew that I would be there whenever they needed me.

It was a long call but the crisis was averted before the conversation ended. I didn’t end the conversation expecting the flat lined relationship to suddenly gain life. I’m very thankful that I didn’t hold a grudge and I was able to be the friend I desired others to be for me.

I have many wonderful friends and I’ve learned how to be a better friend. No lessons were quite as impactful as my friendship failures.

Emotional Reaction

I hate you – at least that’s how I feel in this moment.

Hate is too strong of a word. One might say, but in the moment hate is the best descriptor I possess.

When I say I love you, no one tells me that love is too strong of a word.

Hate. Love. These words are often thought to be opposites. Some even suggest that there’s a thin line between them or perhaps they are on a spectrum…easily blurred.

If I tell you I hate you right now, will you even hear the words “right now”? Or will you only hear “I hate you”?

Does it even matter if you hear the entire statement?

Does the context matter? If I said it while I was upset or in the heat of the moment, does that change how you receive my statement?

I hate you right now, but I’m not sure what that really means.

I’m not feeling very lovingly toward you so does that translate to hate?

I won’t hate you during the next moment; but in this moment I do. Does that change how you receive my statement?

I hate you right now; but, perhaps I’ll love you later.

Does that matter since I hate you right now?

Breaking Point

If they paid any attention they would recognize that something was amiss.

If they listened they would hear that something was amiss.

If the knew her they would know that something was amiss.

She is slowly crumbling, albeit internally.

She appears put together externally.

She knows that she is at her breaking point; but those who say they love her and that they care are clueless to this very fact.

At this point she refuses to try and hold on.

She gave up many moons ago.

The only fight she has left is pure instinct. She only reacts now with a faint attempt to survive.

They don’t realize she is crumbling.

They fail to notice that anything is wrong.

If she ultimately breaks, in the aftermath they will suddenly recognize that she had been at a breaking point for quite some time.

They will compare notes to see whether the things become clues to her crumbling are really clues are just quirks.

Oh she is full of quirks and hard to get to know, so they disagree on what clues she displayed – this debate takes place in the aftermath of her finally breaking – and what was just her quirks.

They should see that she is crumbling, prior to her breaking…but they don’t know her well enough to truly recognize the clues.

She is slowly crumbling and losing her ability to fight it.

Unfortunately they won’t realize anything is wrong with her until the aftermath of her breaking completely.

Do better, be better, pay attention, get to know one another…don’t wait until the aftermath to realize what’s been there all along.

Pop Culture References…eh?

Ok so here’s the deal, I don’t watch a lot of television or movies…and what I do watch caters to a niche market.

So I fail to understand A LOT of pop culture references.

This has been one of my problems since my elementary school days when the other children wanted to talk about the latest, greatest cartoon character and I would have to ask who?

They would talk about the superheroes of the small screen and I’ll be like “umm I watched some guys fishing early one morning and they were throwing the fish back”

Yep! You can imagine how well that conversation went!!!

Let’s fast forward to my college years. I was one of those students who thought spring break was a great time to volunteer! Don’t laugh, I still think that any free time is an excellent time to volunteer, give back.

Several weeks before the kick off for spring break I signed up for alternative spring break. Specifically, I signed up for the alternative spring break New York City trip with my closest college friend at the time.

We met all the requirements and we really thought it would be a great experience. We had a wonderful time btw!

So this was my first trip by vehicle to NYC. Pause! It was an incredibly long road trip, we were coming from a Midwest state in USA!

I only really knew my friend. I have an unhealthy distrust over people’s driving (although I don’t drive myself) and I’m too curious to sleep on the road so I was excitedly exhausted once we arrived.

Remember I was in college – first generation in my family – so a road trip with friends, however loosely that is defined was definitely on my things to do while in college list! Spoiler alert: I really enjoyed the trip, overall experience, but so far I’ve yet to take another road trip with friends….being in a vehicle so long is really not my thing!

I digress…

We arrived to NYC safely, I don’t remember where we stayed but I know it was a religious oriented space. We checked in with the host organization and participated in volunteer training.

After our volunteer shifts we had free time daily and one full free day during our weeklong stay. There was a lot to do but this was fun!

My friend and I saw two shows off broadway and as a group we explored shopping centers and other tourist’s hot spots.

As I mentioned me and popular culture have never been particular close! I’m often oblivious when it is mentioned.

This trip included one of the most glaring accounts of my popular culture cluelessness!!!

After volunteering one day, we walked around the city, cackling and chatting like undergraduates encouraged by their small contribution of kindness.

Suddenly, everyone in the group (sans me) start pointing and laughing. I freak out think that perhaps this helpful group needs to take one of those courses about diversity because they’ve collectively lost their minds!

One of my peers even said “oh man that was good”, another was like “too funny”! Even my friend was laughing like there was no tomorrow.

Smoke was likely escaping my nostrils I was so heated by this exchange… but I knew my friend and she would never laugh at someone’s misfortune so I put the brakes on my anger and decided to use my words!

I quietly asked my friend, Why are you laughing at a soup kitchen?

For those of you who are more in tune with popular culture than I am, you already know about the famous soup kitchen in NYC…but I didn’t!

My friend knew me as well as I knew her so she wasn’t shocked that the reference to popular culture was lost on me. She politely replied Oh they are not making fun of a soup kitchen, they are referring to the Soup Nazi episode from Seinfeld

Thanks to my aunt’s viewership of Seinfeld, I knew that was a television show but just moments before my friend cleared things up for me,

I thought I’d traveled ALL they way from the Midwest USA to NYC with a heartless bunch of people who laughed at a Soup Kitchen…

Over a decade later, I’ve still never watched the popular Soup Nazi episode of Seinfeld; however once we returned to the place we stayed in NYC my friend provided evidence for me that it was indeed from the series.

This is one memory that makes me laugh; especially since I’m still nearly as clueless about popular culture today…but because my friend didn’t ridicule my ignorance…I am more likely to ask questions when a reference is lost on me before the smoke starts blowing from my misplaced judgment.

Getting to know you

It’s certainly difficult to get to know another…well at least this is a difficult thing for me.

I’m as closed as I am open…what???

I share many things about myself, yet when another thinks of me they often conclude that they don’t really know anything about me.

I tend to have a high level of distrust for others and this makes it difficult for others to get to know me

However, there’s a few people who really know me…usually these are individuals who I automatically click with.

I refer to all of these individuals as my best friends because each of them play a certain, specific role in my life

I’m thankful for these people and they are highlights in my life.

If you’re someone who feels that it’s nearly impossible for others to get to know you, rest assured that there’s some individuals out there who will get to know you.

If people can get to know me, there’s certainly hope.