Thinking About Friendship

You meet people who forget you. You forget people you meet. But sometimes you meet those people you can’t forget. Those are your friends.” – Mark Twain.

It’s the memorial service for an old friend today. She fought pancreatic cancer, while living life to the full to the end. It’s got me a bit melancholy.

There’s been a shift in some of my friendships lately. I don’t know the reason. Maybe COVID distancing? I’ve had a large circle of friends most of my life and suddenly that circle seems very small.

I’ve done some self-examination and haven’t figured things out yet. It’s OK. We seldom figure out these things easily. In fact, it almost always is slowly and gradually,

One thing I am trying to reconcile. – how much is my idealism impacting things?

I have very high expectations for people, especially my friends. Most were chosen for a stellar quality I see in them. Sometimes it is incredible kindness, sometimes a heat-wrenching vulnerability. I don’t appreciate perfection or want it in my friends. I try to give grace in abundance, but also celebrate those sweet imperfections that make them special.

Still, I need connection. I need to feel a bond. I also need to feel that bond is reciprocated and appreciated. I believe that’s what’s missing now.

The burning question, though is my idealism putting up barriers? Are my expectations too high?

I don’t feel as though many of my friendships are strong at the moment. There’s a bit of ghosting going on. I have tried to reach out and hear nothing back. At other times there has been inexplicable anger or icy indifference. Did the pandemic just shift things? Are we all just dealing with stress that impacts us in different ways.

I know people have disappointed me. People who I thought had my back didn’t and it didn’t seem to concern them. I tried to have conversations about it, but they would not engage.

If I am truthful, at times my behavior has been passive-aggressive. Ugh. I hate when I do that, as I hate it in others. And yes, they have been passive-aggressive back. I know I do it because I am confrontational by nature sometimes and people aren’t used to that. They deal better with passive-aggressive. I don’t, though I don’t deal with aggressive well either.

I realize it’s time to transition some of these relationships and realize that perhaps the friendships are gone and not worth resuscitating. It’s time to let go. When someone never sees you with empathy, when they don’t want to share life with you, when they aren’t there to walk through the hard times or celebrate the joys, maybe the friendship has died, even if the person is very much alive.

The good news is that I know there are friends who want to spend more time with me, who enjoy me and even living far away they find ways to include me in their lives. They notice when I am struggling and are there to encourage, even if they don’t know the full details.

Sometimes friendships end. Sometimes they weren’t what we thought they were. Some people aren’t capable of being the same kind of friend we are. They do friendship differently.

Truthfully I want these dead friendships to resurrect, but sometimes I have to face I don’t have the necessary skills. It’s not all up to me. If they have walked away, you should accept it.

My friend who will be remembered today was an important part of my life for a time. We didn’t live in the same town and didn’t interact regularly for over twenty years. In fact, I hadn’t seen her for a few years, since she told me she had been diagnosed with cancer. Some of that distance is due to COVID, some because I knew she would tell me if she wanted to see me. She was amazingly direct. I hope my texts encouraged her during that time.

It’s going to be a hard day. I’ve already thought about just watching the service over the internet, but I doubt I will. I need to be there, supporting her and her family even now. She planned her own memorial service. Or as I expect it to be, a true celebration of her life. She did not leave this world without a fight or with any doubt as to how much she was loved, by God and her people.

The grace of her disease was the time to make sure of that. We don’t always get that time. Cherish your people and give them the gift of you. I promise – it matters.

3 Comments

  1. I had to double-check to make sure I didn’t write this. Relationships of all types have been stressed and challenged during the pandemic and it seems not all of them are surviving, at least in the same way. Which can suck. I feel your hurt.

    Like

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