Figuring out Friendship..

I’ve seen a lot of posts on facebook lately, and some evident points covered in conversations with my children and others where people are expressing definite frustrations in their friendships. Friendships can be hard to figure out. I think a whole lot of decoding the mystery, is understanding and exploring your own perceptions and motivations.

Things to remember when dealing and knowing how to cope with friendships.

#1. Identify expectations.  Its useless to measure the level of something if you are unsure what tool to measure with, or if its accurate or not. Our perceptions aren’t always as accurate as we like to think they are. To measure correctly, its important to realize what your perception of friendship is, and then compare that ideal to reality.

There  are a list of questions that can help you get a better picture of your own expectations.

  • What kind of “friendship” are you dealing with? (casual, platonic, romantic)
  • What are your requirements to maintain that friendship? (things like; trust, reliability, honesty, common interest, participation)
  • Why are those aspects required in your friendships? (what is the real reason why you have those certain requirements? Are they all really acceptable expectations? I tend to struggle with the whole idea of “requiring” anything from any one. Its hard to think of “requirements” as being friendly.)
  • What does the other person “require” of you, to be considered their friend? (I bet this is a hard question to answer the more casual of a friendship it is. Realize that things  aren’t always so black and white that both individual’s requirements for friendship would neccessarily match. We all have our own baggage, and insecurities and those things  always invade our relationships, weither we like to admit it or not.  If both parties are actively persuing a continuing friendship, they should actually care about the other’s thoughts or point-of-view… otherwise, its not really a friendship we are talking about anymore is it?

#2. Attention / Effort.   First off, its important to just plain know that it is no ones responsibility to follow you around like a puppy and cater to all of your attention needs, and just because someone doesn’t, doesn’t mean they don’t care.

I see so many who profess to be so lonely, yet they often choose to build up the walls and remove connections to anyone outside of their own small existance. These people cannot find what they are looking for because they fail to realize the most basic notion.

  • You need to first be a friend to have a friend.

Plain and simple – you yourself are not a friend if you shut down communication or do things to make it more difficult for people to communicate with you.  Friendship by nature needs to have people that are open with each other so that the relationship can grow. Friends don’t hide themselves. If your first move is to hide because you either feel sorry for yourself, or you feel you aren’t getting enough attention then you are not being a friend to yourself, or others. Existing friends may follow and play along for a bit, but after awhile, they may soon realize your drama and decide they are done with the rollercoaster ride.  You will alienate them. This behaivor is not martyrism, it is actually the quickest most visible cue as to someone’s level of selfishness.

Its a “duh” statement to say that unstable personalities are the way they are because they aren’t balanced. In honesty, this  is generally because they are child-like and mostly focused on themselves.

Harsh words, but they are truth.  I can honestly say this because I’ve observed it first hand in myself, and have worked through the realization. At the times where I felt the most alone,  most depressed and down, my focus had been on how situations or people “made me feel”, or how frustrated I was. The focus was central, not open or observant.

#3 Come to terms. Be honest with yourself. There are times when we try to create something from nothing, and these failed friendships hurt the worst.  If you are in a “friendship” where the other party is not interested in initiating contact with you “ever” , then it could be time to make a decision. (I put that in quotes because it is a borderline term.  I was told long ago that very rarely are things “never” or “always” type situations, so its important to really evaluate what the truth is.)

One sided friendships aren’t healthy friendships.  You should weigh in on if it is just a down-time for the relationship, or if it is the end of it. Be cautious not to over react. Its really hard when feelings are felt, but don’t let the current situation make you doubt your value. Its ok to take a break. You may be better off to give that “friend” some time to themselves. Don’t close yourself off totally from them,  and let them know that you are there should they like to talk to you, but you don’t neccessarily have to wait for a change in a behaivor that they see no issue with.

Some relationships  end up not working because one party changes what they are willing to do in order to maintain the friendship. While its nice to entertain the idea, realistically no relationship is truly 50/50. There are give and take transaction periods that occur. Sometimes we are more on the giving side, and sometimes we are more on the recieving, and still other times where  we under appreciate what we have “recieved”.

I’ve thought a lot on this myself.  I’ve often felt that aside from responses to questions I’ve put out there, my contact with others occasionally feels pretty limited. Not because I’m I think people dislike me, or because my awkwardness is too much for them.. lol.. but rather I think its because we all have our own lives to live.

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