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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Friends: How Many of Them Are REAL?

Last week I saw “Why Did I Get Married Too.” The scene that truly got to me was when all the ladies sat on the step with Patricia, played by Janet Jackson, in silence. That spoke volumes to me. She didn’t want to talk about her feelings. Her friends didn’t want to leave her in the state that she was in. All they did was sit and hug. That was true friendship. I don’t think my husband noticed, but I got very emotional. I actually bit my lip hoping to fight the tears back. The last movie that evoked such emotion in me was “The Color Purple.”

World's Most Famous BFF's

I have become a bit too familiar with the behavioural de-escalation of friendships. This is where a friend avoids contact or sees/speaks to you less often. Is there really a good reason for this? Can't the friend just say I need space or this relationship is taking more than it's giving? Geez, make something but just say SOMETHING!! Usually, it's not me but it's them. On one occasion, the friend said she was going through something and cut off contact with many people. That's fair, but let me know next time.

Beaches: A Story of Friendship

On different occasions I have been told that friendships should be viewed in levels. Everyone can’t be a best friend, a good friend, or even a real friend. I’m smart enough to know that everyone isn’t your real friend. Can we be good friends with more than one person? How many people should we share our innermost feelings with?

A wonderful group of women embraced me a few years ago and I am forever grateful for them. You know who you are. I'm sure we're friends because of what is called the Repulsion Hypothesis. This is where we choose friends with similar attitudes to us be it marriage, parenting, religious views, etc. I have friends I can talk to about marriage. I have friends I can talk to about motherhood/parenting. I have “been there, done that, got the t-shirt” friends who can advise me on various issues. I have pageant friends I can talk with. I have a friend who I can talk to pretty much about anything. I have friends who I can call on to talk me off the ledge (figuratively) when I’m ready to do some damage. Some friends I talk to weekly, monthly or yearly. Nonetheless, we’re still friends. If a friend wants to downgrade a relationship or put it on ice for awhile, give the respect of calling, emailing me or courier pigeon a note to tell them they’re on hiatus. When you call to rekindle the friendship, don’t assume the friend will be ready, willing, or able. Does a real friend treat you like that?

( Both fame and maturity/immaturity broke up these BFF's

Friendships/Relationships change at different phases of life. From middle to high school, from high school to college, and from single life to married life. Sometimes friends with children seek friendships with others with children leaving little time for friends without children. Friends come and go when you find/lose success. Friends come and go when wealth increases/decreases, and when celebrity increases/decreases. A married friend can’t confide in a single friend about the challenges of marriage. A mother cannot confide in a childless friend about the challenges of motherhood. A happily married friend cannot share her marital bliss with a divorced friend. People flock to what’s familiar and sometimes what’s easy. Convenient? I don’t know….

I've let friends go because we did not share the same values. I've lost friends for reasons that are unbeknownst to me. Maybe we didn't view the relationship the same or maybe she didn't know how to tell me she wanted to "break up" with me. A true friend always makes time for you. Will your friend answer your call at 3 a.m. in the morning? Call and find out.

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