Sunday, December 07, 2008

Friendship

I have been thinking a lot about friendship lately. About what it means to be a good friend and about the qualitites one must bring to a friendship in order to maintain it.

In my experience, the most important part of friendship may well lie in forgiveness. People will often fail to support you or do or say something that hurts you at some point in any relationship - in fact, the whole nature of being friends allows that more easily because you tell your friends things that give them the ability to hurt you in the first place. You tell them your worries and problems and show them the buttons that people can press to make you miserable. Sometimes they are going to use that knowledge against you. Forgiveness is hard, first off because it requires that you be able to remove yourself from your hurt and try to understand what is going on in the other person's life that has lead to the situation. And yet, I think it is the most vital ingredient in any relationship. I don't claim to always be good at it, at all.

I find some people incredibly easy to forgive. I'm not sure why that is, but there are people I would forgive almost anything, especially with a little time. I am also an emotional person - if I'm upset, I have learned to say and once it's discussed I am fast to forgive and move on. I find it hard to deal with people who don't do this - people for whom things fester, who don't tell you what upsets them and what can be done to fix it or people who hear your reasons for failing to be perfect and who can't move past it.

I have also found it particularly fascinating who ends up being supportive when times are tough. In my life, ut has often been people I hardly expect to suddenly be there and be incredibly helpful and wonderful who suddenly just are. It's remarkable. It's interesting the people who will take time out to send a message or call and see how you are doing when you are going through a rough patch and interesting to me just who I'll do that for too. It's often a bigger list than I think it is.

I am at heart a people pleaser. I want people to be happy. I suppose I also want them to like me. I will continue to try to reach out for quite a while, because I have always experienced that sometimes all it takes is one cheerful text on a really bad day to make me feel incredibly better. I try to always extend that to other people - you never know when you will blunder into a moment where someone just needs to talk. I appreciate being able to be that person for people, when I can. I am always going to take that 3 a.m. phone call (assuming my phone wakes me) because I've been there too and I know how much those things matter. I will try to move mountains to cheer up people when they tell me they are sad, though I often have no idea how to do what they need. I will try anyway, because I'm of the opinion that it is better to try and be wrong than not try at all.

I would never claim to be a good friend - in times of my own trouble, I will become incredibly self-absorbed and sensitive to slights. I am easily hurt, which is I think both a bad and good quality. But I am also easily pleased - I like nothing more than to be able to have a cup of coffee and a great chat. What I would claim is that I strive to be a good friend. I try as much as I can. If I see people trying back, there is little I won't be able to overlook and forgive. I believe that the intent is more important than the result 90% of the time.

So, to all my friends, thank you for forgiving me my faults. I am often too loud and debate-like in conversation. I am ditzy and tend to forget things. I can be incredibly self-absorbed at times. I am fairly high maintenance. I make more plans than I can keep, but do it because I really wish I could do everything with everyone. I can be incredibly oblivious to what others really need, though if people would only tell me, I will try in my own ham-handed way to do offer the support people are looking for. I fuck things up as often as I get them right, though I am always trying to do my best. And really all I ask of my friends is that they do the same.

3 comments:

Jenn said...

well put... and heard

Kay Olson said...

Absolutely.

I've also found it fascinating how in some very hard times the best support often comes from somewhere you didn't expect. In the end, the situation is more revealing of the people who handle it right than it is revealing of the people who handle it wrong, or poorly, I think.

If there's any joy to be found in hardships (of any kind -- I'm thinking mainly of my college days when my roommate/best friend died) it is the surprising love and kindness from unexpected quarters.

You were among those online friends who showed me that once again, about three years ago, btw. :)

Cairo Typ0 said...

Excellent post!! :)