I’m not the most outgoing person you’ll meet, neither am I the second or third, or… sixth. It’s just not in me to be. I’m the type of person that will most likely need three days recovery after spending just one day with many people. In fact chances are if I’m spending that much time with so many people, I’ll be incredibly quiet, hardly saying a word. It’s not that I don’t enjoy people, I do, but in much, much, smaller doses. To me, it’s a matter of quality over quantity. Talking is also just generally not my thing, listening is – and as cute as that sounds, you can imagine how weird it is when you’re surrounded by a group of people, not talking and yet you’re actually meant to be interacting with them. You have no idea how many times people have said “you look tired” or “you look bored” when I am in fact none of those things. Would I rather be at home, 100%, but that’s neither here nor there, the truth is just with all my social interaction, I prefer to listen… and observe, in the least creepy way you can imagine. Aside from that though, most of the time I prefer to be alone. Being at home, in bed, is exciting to me. Being out there having random social interaction, not so much. So no, I’m not the most outgoing person you’ll meet, and it’s surprising that I have any friends. But I do – and they are not only good friends, but amazing friends.
Gugu wrote a great post about the lessons she’s learnt in 2018, and just like her, I was looking back on the year and the changes and growing I’ve done – and without a doubt this year, friendships have been my greatest blessing. See it hasn’t always been the easiest for me, this is not to say I haven’t had a lot of friends; the opposite is actually true, I’ve been blessed with so many friends over the years and so many best friends too, but this friendship thing is a maths equation that only those scientific calculators can solve because I, like many of us, grow up thinking that the friends we make when we’re younger (or as we grow) are the friends that we will have for life, and for a lot of people this is true; and you guys actually need to write books about how you did that because you’ll for sure save lives. But for me, it’s been a different story, I am not on speaking terms with a lot of the people I thought I would be friends with today. All 8 of my best friends in high school? Yeah… I barely talk to one, and the rest, mere Facebook friends. Thankfully I kept my circle smaller when I went to Uni, I guess you can say I learnt a few lessons, but same thing happened there, except I did come out with a select special few; one who is my forever friend now, so I guess I did learn a little something. But how did these other friendships end? Nothing dramatic ever happened, in fact I think in my whole 30 years I’ve only had one toxic friendship, but with the others it was just a case of people growing, people changing, people working on different things within themselves, different issues, stresses, worries and so the space we took up in each other’s lives became smaller. But at the time I didn’t see it this way, I found it sad to see some of them go, people I thought I would know forever, gone. I took it personally, and did a lot of creating walls and dumping of friends myself. Oh to be young. I just stopped trusting that any of the friendships I had would be long lasting, and at the first sign that they weren’t, I wouldn’t stick around to let it play out. I had zero patience for unfulfilling friendships. So while I started out with quite a few friends that number dropped significantly over the years because it was important for me to protect my space. Whether that was defence or offence, I don’t know, but the thought of fewer friends seemed more appealing, if not at least for the fact that I’d have far less pointless conversations ruining my life.
But I recently read something that described friendships to being either friend of the road or friend of the heart, and it has helped me think differently about the past experience of friendships I’ve had in my life. It’s clear to see that the friends I have lost have been friends of the road, people who at some point were walking the same road as me; they entered my life with a purpose, to teach a valuable lesson, help me discover a new thing about myself or the world, but ultimately they had an ending. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, in fact at the risk of sounding so cliché, I am grateful for it. Whether the lesson was harsh or meaningful it shaped who I am today and I am a better friend because of it. I say “better friend” because if there’s one thing I gained from all these failed friendships, it’s knowing that “If you want to have a friend you need to be a friend.” And so I try to do this everyday. To be a friend. And when I look at the friends and the friendships I have around me now, I absolutely see the difference – road vs heart. I know that the people I call my friends today are friends of the heart; long-lived and continuous. It’s important to have people who show you the kind of friendship that lasts a lifetime and this year has taught me that. And the biggest lesson has been that it’s all about timing.
As my perspective of friendships changed, I started to believe in life finding us exactly what we need and who we need when the time is right. I’ve had my ride or die by my side for a long time now, but people who I never thought I’d be friends with are some of my forever friends now. People who I haven’t known for that long have come into my life, impacted it in a special way and are some of my forever friends now too and among them I have found my twin soul, and I look at each of these people and understand exactly why God intended for them to be in my life. When I think about what connects us I can point to so many things, our shared intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual lives, and it’s these things that are the things made of gold. I know I can pray with these people, I can share deeply with these people, teach, learn from and build with these people, be my self with these people, watch ratchet TV with these people, and again, these truly are the things of gold.
I’ve truly had an emotionally fulfilling year because of my friendships and as I look forward to next year, I know it can only go from strength to strength. Someone once said to me, when you have good friends, you have everything, and I tend to agree. For me this year is nothing (in terms of difficulty) compared to last year, and you can read a bit about how I found last year in a few of my earliest posts, but still as far as this year goes I have had my fair share of disappointments, I mean I still haven’t achieved half the stuff I had wanted to on my vision board, so there’s that – but even so, I believe that it would have probably been a little harder if I didn’t have the people I surround myself with today – and here I include not just my friends, but my family and husband too, and so for that reason, this year really hasn’t been all that bad at all.
How about you? Any interesting friendship stories you have? Lessons you’ve learnt from failed and/or new friendships?