Tag Archives: friendship

I’m Saying Goodbye To Fair Weather Friends

I’ve been popular. I’ve been not-so-much. I’ve had an insanely complicated amount of friends. I’ve had three or four truly close friends.

Sitting here, in my forties, I’ve looked back at my friendolution with wonder and awe.

Elementary School – A plethora of friends. Popular among the girls because I wasn’t afraid of the boys. Popular with the boys because I was a crazy tomboy. Snakes wrapped around my wrists, climbing trees, playing kickball and racing bikes – all wearing a dress (with shorts underneath, of course.)

Middle School – Down to a few close friends. An awkward, yucky phase in my life. It suddenly wasn’t cool to like school and I still liked it. I loved it. It was my escape. So, I closed myself off and hid in the library whenever I could. Books became my true friends. Books and Stacy, Jill, Sharon and Rita, that is.

High School – Back to tons of friends again. I was on the swim team, involved in student government, sang in the choir and the select ensemble and tried out for school plays. I loved sports, so I hung with the jocks and the cheerleaders, too. I had friends in every stratosphere of high school. Being an intellectual was swinging back to cool at my school. Especially if you could help your friends with their homework.

College – The pendulum swings back to a choice few friends. But then, I was a bit obsessed with my boyfriend by this time and overwhelmed with the freedom of young adulthood and college life. My choice few friends were all I could handle.

Young adulthood and beyond – Sometimes lots of friends. Sometimes not. But I’m still not good at allowing friends to drift in and out of my life. I wonder. I obsess. What did I do wrong? Why doesn’t Lori call anymore? Why am I always the one who has to contact Drew? Why is it always tit-for-tat with Grace?

There are some friends that have drifted out that I am relieved to be rid of. Doesn’t that sound harsh? But it’s true. The psychic vampire friends. The ones who were exhausting to be around in the first place. Or the ones whose expectations I could never meet.

Then there are the friends, just a couple, that I still wonder about. Still pine for. Why did our friendship have to end? Was it something I said or did? What happened that I missed?

But through my friendolution, one truth remains the same. I have no use for the fair weather friends. To be my friend you must stick with me through thick and thin. Loyalty is paramount. Kindness is crucial. Compassion is a must. Patience and understanding will take us far. I make mistakes but I own them. I’m not afraid to apologize.

The friends who have dumped me because: I divorced. I wouldn’t gossip with you in the teacher’s lounge. I changed jobs. I moved 10 miles away. I got re-married. I had kids. I didn’t have kids. I moved out-of-state. I might as well have moved out-of-state. I wouldn’t stay at your teeny, tiny condo. I got sick and you thought I was faking it. (Seriously? What did I see in you?) I went to college. I chose to be a stay-at-home mom.

All of you?

Good riddance.

I don’t need any fair weather friends.

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I’m Dumping The Labels And Embracing ALL Of My Friends

My grandmother knew how to have friends. She had many. Some were closer than others but she really knew how to nurture the important ones. I loved how she handled the balance.

When I was growing up I wanted to be like her but I couldn’t. I wasn’t the life of the party. I didn’t like being the center of attention. I was picky, I told myself. That’s why I have just a few close friends. I had varied interests in high school that kept me from connecting with just one group. I was an athlete – I had a few close friends there. I sang and was involved in theater – I had about 2 close friends in that group. And I was in some accelerated classes – a bit of a nerd, if you will. Since I was involved in athletics and theater the other “nerds” thought I was cool. Many of them really wanted to be my friend but they were “nerds” and I was an idiot high school student. I stayed on the fringes in my nerd classes.

My daughter is my opposite. She has about 10 best friends at age 17. And then about 50 “close” friends. Her Facebook friends number over 1000. Everyone she meets she considers a friend. I’m not sure this is a good thing.

And now, in my adult life, I have about 5 good, close friends I could call on with any problem, any joy. I’m happy with that. It’s a good number. Not as many as my grandmother and certainly not as many as my daughter – but I’m hoping she’ll become a little more discriminate as she gets older.

What I didn’t count on when I started my blog were the friends I’d meet here. Submom from The Absence of Alternatives, in one of her recent comments here,  pointed us in the direction of a very interesting blog post about internet friends and distinguishing them from “real friends.” Melissa Ford  believes there is no distinction. Friends are friends. Whether you met them in a class, at a party, in the mall or online.

As I revealed in a previous post, I met my husband online. This isn’t anything I was ready to shout from the rooftops. When people would ask how we’d met I’d often say, “At a health seminar” which was partly true. But not the whole truth. And I was ashamed of the whole truth. Meeting online, back then anyway, seemed desperate, unseemly.

When I talk about any of you to my “real-time” friends I preface it with “online friends,” as if, somehow, you are all less than or “un-real.” My real-time friends (who don’t blog or converse online with people they’ve never met in real-time) don’t get the level of intimacy we bloggers are able to achieve with one another. They don’t understand how I feel like I can truly “know” any of you. But reading Melissa’s article has me thinking – and I’m thinking that I know some of you better than I know my real-time friends.

And the more I write about this the more I am ready to abandon these labels of “real-time” and “online” when it comes to my friends. Quite honestly, there are days when I spend more time with you here than I do with my other friends.

The beauty of the internet is that it strips away pretension. Here we are basically the same. Sure, we can decorate our blogs to reveal certain things about ourselves. We can pick and choose what we want others to see. But for the most part, the ability to make judgements about others based on income level and appearances is more difficult.

Our writing reveals our true selves. Good, honest writing is what I’m drawn to. And good, honest friends are what I’ve made here. Real friends. In real-time. Oh, we haven’t met face to face but the time I spend with them – reading their posts or emails, commenting back – is very real and takes a good bit of my time.

So, like my grandmother I am nurturing the relationships that are important to me. And I want all of you to know, every minute spent here in Blog World has been worth it.

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