Friend/Friendship. One small word that means different things to different people. And it goes so much deeper than just someone that you know and spend your time with.
I do not have many friends. I know a decent amount of people but they are not all my friends. I interact with many people but they are not all my friends.
Friendship has always been a touchy subject for me. Growing up, we moved often due tot he military and I never really seemed to have a hard time making friends. And as we moved, I managed to maintain contact with many of them. When we finally settled late in my 8th grade year in Connecticut, I struggled making with making friends. My friendships truly started to cultivate in the middle of my freshman year of high school. I stuck with mainly the same group of people throughout high school although I did associate with many different people in the different “cliques” throughout the years. As I graduated and left for the military, had a baby, became engaged… only a few people stuck around. Many had left for college or went on with their post high school lives and we lost contact. I believe that all of these events are normal as people and change.
As a child and teenagers, I remember my friends being important to me. But even then, I was a homebody and preferred to be alone more than being with other people. With people, I would feel out of place and insecure. With people there was drama. And then as I got older, some of the “friends” closest to me betrayed me in ways I could not imagine and my mindset towards friends and having friends changed. I began to think that as an adult, it wasn’t important to have friends. I have my husband, my sisters, my parents so if I really needed someone or something, I had my little group of people. I began thinking that nothing good could come from friends, that people expect too much when they are friend, that friends are overrated.
My thought process as of late has grown. I value friendships. I still do not believe that everyone you meet or talk to, needs to be your friend. I strongly believe that people I consider my friend, must have earned that position as I would hope they would feel the same towards me. I feel now that friends are people that become like a family and that quality is so much more important than quantity. I hold my “friends” to a higher standard than I ever would have before and I do not use the term loosely. Friends is not just a word to me. I am cool with a lot of people, I am FRIENDS with a handful.
Sometimes these friends are biological family members, sometimes they become family through trials and experiences as friends. Friends are people that I feel able to talk to in confidence. You do not have to be a “ride or die” to be my friend. I have to admit, I am not always ride or die with my friends. I do like to know what certain things entail, who is involved, why we were are doing things before I hop fully on board. I will almost always jump on board, but I am going to need some answers first depending on the situation. And if that makes me unworthy of being your friend, then I will respect that fully.
I consider my friends the people who understand that for me, going out and about all the time is too much. They don’t need to understand my social anxiety, but I demand that they respect it. I do not want friends that agree with everything I say or think that every idea I have is a great one. I want my friends to be people who challenge my thoughts at times and push me to do better. My friends now are people that remind me that I sometimes need to lighten up and that it is okay to be uncomfortable. The encourage me to step out and let loose and live more freely at times.
We all need to be very particular with who we spend our time with. We need to spend time with people that we trust, respect, and enjoy spending time with. I want friends that will support me in new endeavors all while keeping me grounded and holding me accountable. Sometimes this means cussing me out when I don’t follow through or questioning me when I may be making a questionable decision. These are things that I would not have wanted or even accepted just a few years ago. And since making these belief changes surrounding friendships, my life has slowly been evolving. I am surrounded by some of the most amazing people almost all the time. I am constantly being pushed to pursue and learn more. I have become more creative, more open to new things. The changes have been astronomical.
Some people need a small group of friends like this, some just one friend, others large groups. Some people name these groups or people- things like my tribe, my people, my crew, my squad, etc. I am more of a “my people” gal. All of these words mean something different to each person we ask.
As I sit here and describe what friends or being friends means to me, I should also point out that hold myself to the same standards for others. And because of that, I fall short as a friend daily. However, if you are working towards something big- I will cheer you on! I will support you and shout you out. I may not make it to every get together, but if you need me to watch a child, pick up some groceries, rescue you if you are stranded- I got you. I do not always have the right words of encouragement, but I am really good listener and will sit in silence with you if that is what feels right. I will accept you as you are and not try to change you. I may not talk to you everyday, but you will get a random “Hi” or “just checking in”text from me just to remind you that I feel you are important and you have crossed my mind. I may forget that we made plans 3 weeks ago to go out for drinks, but I will remember your wedding anniversary, your birthday, your children’s birthday, the big test you have coming up, the doctor’s appointment you are nervous about, the new project you are starting. That is just the kind of friend that I am and the kinds of friends that I strive to gain.
It doesn’t matter what you call your friend group- or even if it is just 1 person. All that matters is that the people that you allow to use that title when referring to you are people that you would vouch for. People that have earned your respect and that you are honored to be around.
Friendship is so much more than a title to me- it is truly a bond.
In all things find beauty,