Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Why You Don't Want to be My Friend

I've been thinking a lot about the post I wrote the other night about my mom friends.  I woke up thinking that I really didn't do justice to friendship by reducing it to meeting people you see regularly and happen to have a few minutes to talk to. (To be 100% honest, I actually woke up thinking that I needed to brush my teeth because I had been sleeping with my mouth wide open, but that might just be too much information.)
from this page

I also realized that I was only thinking about this thing from my own perspective, and blithely assuming I would just be able to charm someone and make friends if only I could chat with them for a few minutes on a regular basis.  Oh really?  Doesn't that fail to account for how people might feel about meeting me?  Just because our kids are in class together and they might be friends doesn't necessarily mean that we will become besties.   I am really sorry for this callous attitude toward friendships, but I think it proves what I often fear:  I am not a very good friend. 

I know I'm kind of selfish sometimes, because I hear myself talking about, you know, myself, and I realize that maybe I don't give other people a chance to share things.  And while I see plenty of grey out there in the world, I tend to think about most things in kind of an analytical black and white, this or that kind of way.  I see alternative ideas, but reject them quickly and just assume everyone is with me.  Are you with me?

When I do think deeply about things, I'm not good at sharing the process.  I'm not one to bounce ideas off of others, though others seem to want to bounce off me all the time, and that's not bad.  Unfortunately, once I've weighed in with my viewpoint, I can get kind of persuasive and preachy if someone disagrees with me.  For myself, I like to think first and talk later, so I'm not good at discussing things as I go along.  

from this page
And that's just when I'm talking to people.  My real problem is that I tend to be neglectful and I'm not good at initiating plans for getting together.  (No wonder I casually equated forming friendships with meeting people at places (like the schoolyard) that I was already going to anyway!)  My introverted nature (that's what I'm calling this selfishness these days) craves quiet and need time alone.  Sometimes I just need to sit and stare into space to recharge the old batteries.  With kids and other family members depending on me, my batteries wear down pretty fast.  

But this doesn't mean I don't love the friends I have.  In fact, this makes me value my current mom friends (indeed, all my friends who have hung in there with me) even more and reminds me that I really hadn't given us all credit for the connections we've made. We all have busy lives that are full of things other than friendship, but this reaching out, this connection, is something that really enriches every day life in a serious way.  

Because if you can't talk to someone, even for a few minutes, and share what's going on, and have a laugh about it, or get some good advice, life is a lot harder than it needs to be.  

Thanks for sticking with me, friends.

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