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7.15.2008

Being the Smartest? Friend You Can Be

Most of my blogs, as anyone who has read a few of them will see, come from things going on in my life. So I use this space as an area to ask the tough questions and maybe someone out there who reads it will have a different way of looking at it and share that with me (hey, that sounds like a better "about this blog" than my current one...) On to the post!

Recent (VERY RECENT) events got me thinking about the TYPE of friend I am. I've already delved into the "What About Your Friends" thing. What kind of friends we pick, what it means to lose a friend, all that... but what happened to me had me contemplating the SORT of friend I am. How do I, A.Smith go about being the type of friend that I choose to be.

Without too much detail on what happened (cause, really, it's not important) I had a moment (make that many moments) where I felt played, emotionally. I don't think this fact about me comes through via my blog, but I go hard. I go hard for people I love. So in these moments where I was basically questioning everything I believe to be true about friendship, I came to some brief conclusions:

1) I am the best person I know at being a good friend.

2) I have good friends, but none of them are as good a friend to me, as I am to them... they've all had their shining moments, but none of them are thorough like me.

3) I'm consistent. I "come through" all the time. Call me, need me and no matter what, I got you.
I've always been told and I really believe(d) that you get the type of friends that you are. It's why, over the years, I've grown to be what I think is an awesome friend. Please don't get me wrong, I'm not 100%... I speak before I think, I'm impulsive, I act now and ask questions later and those things (plus a host of other things) have led me to some of my worst moments as a friend. So I've definitely messed up in the past and envision messing up in the future, but when you take the fact that I'm CONSISTENT into account... I'm just a damn good friend.

So having an event in life make me re-think not only my view on friendships, but also my role as a friend was sort of an existential crisis. I don't know how to not "go hard" for my friends. It's how I show I care... so is it my responsibility to dial it back because it turns out that a)You don't always get the type of friends that you are and b)Our society clearly doesn't value friendship like I do? Or, do I just keep doing what I know how to do and hope that a)Eventually I find a friend like me and b)My friends start to appreciate me?

...Cause that's my other problem. My friends totally take me for granted. If ever they need me and I don't show, it's like hell opened up and the world is ending. I never hear the end of it. I'm made to feel guilty. But I don't do that to them when they, inevitably, aren't there when I need them. I've become the "go-to" person for almost everyone in my life and to have no go-to person of my own is STRESSFUL.

I've been told I do it to myself and this is possible, even probable, but I just don't know any other way. I don't know how to not be consistent. Being there for the people I care about is important to me and is, in some twisted way (that I should probably get worked out by a psychologist or something) the way I validate my place in this world. Unfortunately, giving of yourself and having no one to give back to you is hard. I have reached, in the past, my emotional "bottom" and it's an ugly, ugly place. I don't like how I feel in that place so I don't want to go back.

I have to figure out how to reconcile being a good friend with killing myself (cause, essentially, that's what I'm doing when I let my friends do as they please without concern for me). don't get me wrong, my friends aren't bad people. In fact, most of them are good (yeah, I said most) people but they just don't return to me all that I give. Is that my fault? Partially. People only do what they have to, and I've never demanded more, but I feel like I shouldn't have to. None of my friends ever had to sit me down and request that when they need me to sit up on the phone with them late into the night, or comfort them when they feel poorly or any of the other host of things I do for them and that's the way it should be. I do these things for them because I love them. Genuinely. So when do I get this back? Never? And if so, does that mean I need to stop?

My rambling is only indicative of how fresh this is for me and how I'm really no closer to answering any of this than I was a week ago before those "incidents."

The other thing (I just realized) that all this swirling around in my head has also made me realize is that I'm skeptical of a few people in my life that are supposed to be my good and close friends. I'm almost waiting for the other shoe to drop... I'm waiting on them to screw me over and leave me hanging and I don't want to be that way because I genuinely like seeing the good in people... but my history has me here... and I gotta get away from that, too...

More than likely, there'll be way more thoughts on this, soon.

4 comments:

One Man’s Opinion said...

Never change who you are for a friend, damn it. True friends know you and love you unconditionally. Now, i don't know you, Diamond Dust, but you said it yourself. You go hard with your friendships, that is why your friends never let you hear the end of it when you let them down. You set yourself up as the type of person who never lets down a friend, so when you do it is unexpected and hurtful.

I think I am a good friend, but I am the type of friend who can read your feeling from a phone call and think it is important to validate a friends feelings, even if you don't agree with them.

Don't change who you are. Don't dial it back. Just be the best friend you know how to be and the rest come natually. At least in my mind.

Thoughts of a Southern gal said...

I can so relate to your #1-3. I'm having a party next weekend and I'm going to ask my friend to help out. I helped out with her last 2 parties. I will be so hurt if she tells me she can't help me.

A.Smith said...

Thoughts.... -- It's amazing to me how people will not feel obligated to return favors like that. Ok, maybe obligated isn't the word... they don't just think that they should.

I bent over BACKWARDS to attend a friend's b-day celebration simply because I care about her and she really wanted me there. I don't feel, though, that if the tables were turned, she would've gone through as much stuff as I did to be here for me. I'm not saying she wouldn't, I just don't feel like she would and that's almost worse... to not know if your friends would come through for you.

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

my granny always told me i needed to learn how to say no

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