I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a while but I wasn’t sure how to approach it. Friendships are obviously very important. Sometimes, you have the same friends for years. You make new ones, you lose a few – preferably for “lost touch” reasons, and not anything more serious than that. “Lost touch,” ‘life kept moving on and lives diverted’ loss of relationships are ALWAYS preferable to “DAMN, I’m not sure if I want to maintain this relationship anymore. ” EEEK.
I think part of the reason women have such complicated friendships is because we hang on to relationships longer than we should for the sake of keeping a relationship, even if it is no longer right. Nothing is worse than questioning a friendship after many years, particularly, if the other person may be none the wiser. Or maybe they are, and you are just circling each other warily waiting for someone to call chicken – “or, I am out!” I am not sure what is worse, noticing it in others or being blind to it until someone inevitably shares the beans with ANOTHER friend. I have been caught by surprise to know that sometimes there was internal, unspoke friction between people – usually one-sided, where I thought everything was great. After the reveal, I would then notice the clues that should have been more obvious. Someone ALWAYS being cranky at get togethers, or moody. Pair offs in larger groups where certain people NEVER pair together, even though they have a longer relationship than anyone else. I ‘ve seen this happen.
I have also been that person who has avoided certain people, while gravitating towards others. Usually because I feel “we” have less in common and sometimes “we” only work when there are other “buffers.” Buffers who serve as positive “social lubricants.” It’s not a negative thing, it’s more an avoidance of the awkwardness that would result when you have two people who completely lack personal chemistry, but who have chemistry with everyone else, and are only “friendly” because of those relationships. It’s not dislike, as much as it is strong neutrality that will almost never blossom into positive-friend territory. The divide is too wide. These are not so bad as long as they are recipricol, especially because there are no real negative feelings, just an absence of “like.”
What’s really awkward is when you’ve “known” someone for a long time and you start to noticing things that leave you feeling a little “off.” Just little things, that overtime start to accumulate. Maybe, they were things that were always there but you didn’t notice it until recently. Maybe it’s just getting to know someone even better. Maybe, they have changed. Maybe YOU have changed. Either way, it’s AWKWARD! The changes aren’t RIGHT or WRONG. But it just leaves you feeling a little more disconnected and uncomfortable about the relationship. Because, the moment I start questioning a friendship, that’s the moment I start feeling NOT SO GENUINE.
You start wondering if it’s you or them. You start doubting your own feelings. You start feeling BAD and GUILTY. But this is it. Would you feel the same way in a romantic relationship where you no longer feel the same? YUP. But would you ultimately make the decision that it is time to move on and it is better for both of you that you do? Generally, this is considered the healthy and correct way of proceeding. So the question remains, why are women holding on to relationships that are no longer genuine?
Well, what is genuine? Geniune is wishing, hoping, and wanting the best for someone and feeling personally invested in their success and equally sad in their failures. Hoping and pushing they make the best of themselves and being proud when they do. Wanting to share your thoughts and feelings with them and hoping they do the same as well. And most importantly, NEVER viewing them as COMPETITION, but as people whose successes push you to achieve your best, just as you want your successes to push them to achieve their best.
This doesn’t mean that you will never feel a little sad about your own failures, in comparison to someone else’s successes. But it does mean NOT being ENVIOUS of that person. Hoping and wanting the same opportunities, and being ENVIOUS of someone else’s successes are not the same.
But people are flawed beings. Everyone is flawed. However, that does not mean that we should not aim to be better people. One of the most important things I look for in potential friends is if they have traits I find admirable and inspiring. Traits I would like to build within myself. I have always prided myself on having friends who inspire me to be better. Not just professionally, but also personally. I can’t be friends with someone who is NOT GOOD PEOPLE. Malicious, mean spirited, jealous, selfish – these are not characteristics I want my friends to actively enourage or exhibit. The extent to which these characteristics may be latent in people as part of human nature does not mean that someone has to revel in them. If anything they should be managed, closely monitored and starved as best as possible.
What I do not like in my friendships is COMPETITION. I do not compete against friends and they should not compete against me in the game called life. Life is not a race and you should not be using anyone as a measuring stick. Not to put someone down or make yourself feel better. If you are competing against me and are openly making comments about any of my achievement, or how I accomplished them, by trying to downplay them, while promoting yours – then you are probably not going to remain my friend for very long. This is not the kind of relationship I want to keep.