RE-Defined: FRIENDSHIP

I have quite a few people whom I call friend. There are friends who I never speak to, but still hold the title. A woman named Mika fits into this category. We’ve known each other since we were six. We went to the same schools, up until senior year. She attended my wedding and I attended hers. Her husband even edited my dissertation for free because I didn’t have money at the time. However, I haven’t verbally spoken with her in about two years. We haven’t seen each other in even more time. Still, I know she’s my friend.

I have other friends who begin text messages as if we spoke yesterday.

“KG, what did I say in this last post that could’ve been negative or offensive?” my friend Calvin asked the other day. Excluding the are you okay because a hurricane is covering your state convo, we haven’t had a real conversation in about eight months. We lol’d and emoji’d for the next few hours. He described how his oldest daughter was doing at her private university and I shared how my oldest is doing living on her own going to community college. In between, we talked about how ridiculous Facebook has gotten, and then hours later we said ttyl and good night.

New ImageMy other friend, Wanda’s birthday is six days before mine. That’s how our friendship began. For years, she and I would road trip to Atlanta or Orlando with a couple of other women to celebrate. After a while, that ended. But our friendship remained. Currently, we talk on the phone every now and then. We go out to eat occasionally. She was one of my number one supporters when I released The Unhappy Wife book, wearing the t-shirt all around Jacksonville, and holding conversations with anyone who would listen and purchase a copy. I know if anything ever happened, this chick would not only hide the body, but also regulate her breathing so she could pass the lie detector test.

I also have friends that are former high school students. I haven’t taught at that level for eleven years, and it took me a minute to be comfortable with calling these women friends, because of society’s rules. But I’ve had to admit that’s who they’ve come to be. Each is nearing 30, and as individual relationships grow, I’ve noticed that every woman mirrors a part of me. One is eccentric, wishes for no one’s opinion, and lives life unabashedly on her own terms. Another is a goal-setter, with her life paved out. The last one’s challenging home life used to dictate who she was and how she lived, but not anymore; she lives consciously and takes responsibility for her energy and space. Reflection is an understatement. They are me; and I am them.

I have another friend who I’ve never met! I’ve talked about her before. She’s a WordPress blogger named Mek. We haven’t met because she lives on a different continent. For a while, we talked at least once a day through an app. Then, our relationship stabilized and now we reach out when there is time. Our conversations include a lot of riiights and high-fives because, for the most part, we get each other. She knows all about my family’s successes and challenges, and I know about hers. We cheer each other on when there’s something that requires pom-poms and listen when there’s something that requires an ear. Without hesitation, she is my friend.

A few years ago, I would’ve argued that everyone is not your friend. I used to apply a static set of rules to all friendships. How could we be friends if you don’t follow my blog? How could we be friends if I haven’t talked to you in three years? Over time, I’ve learned that’s not fair to the person or the relationship, and it’s a bit unrealistic. People are different, and consequently, so are the ways in which they relate to others.

What I’ve realized is friendships are fluid. While each friendship has been created out of mutuality, no two friends are alike and that should be respected. Because of this, I’ve learned to appreciate each friend’s individual personality as a constant gift of love that ebbs and flows throughout my life. In that way, I’m grateful for each person, no matter how and when they show up.

This is how I now define friendship. How do you define a friend? What makes someone your friend? Have your “requirements” changed over time?

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66 thoughts on “RE-Defined: FRIENDSHIP

  1. Good post, interesting questions. I grew up in a big neighborhood had lots of friends but my two best friends we are still friends today. They’re my very best friends we call ourselves sisters. They bought my book but hasn’t read any of my books. Friends that hurt me and spread lives about me and gave me a bad reputation are the ones that I wrote about in my book but didn’t use any names. They’ve read my book and enjoyed it. They didn’t know I was talking about them in the book. But I love them also because we grew up as family. I see them all when I travel and when I go to the San Francisco Bay Area. We go out to dinner we go to church weddings funerals we’re family friends and sisters no matter what. We all follow each other on social media we talk on the phone on holidays. still they don’t know what to think about my story of my son being born out of rape. They don’t get behind my Passing the pen campaign but I know they love me. they just don’t know what to say. Real-Talk.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Unfolding Souls Amazon. I’m going to check out unhappy wife. My husband and I we been through a lot but we get along as husband and wife and we still love each other and choose unconditional love to stay together until death do us part.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Your post made me rethink and redefine friendship myself. I think for me, friends are those who will stick with you through thick and think and twists and turns. They are those who know all your shades, the good, the bad, the ugly, and still accept the whole you. It does not matter how much distance separates you, or how often you talk to each other. You know they will always be there.

    Thank you for this food for thought, Kaye. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this post! I agree 100% in accepting friendships and how each is different. I have lifelong friends that I see once or twice a year. We pick up right where we left off. But I’ve found friends via blogging and social media that I’ve never met but yet I’m extrememy close to them. I can be myself wholeheartedly. You see, my life is so busy with work and my husband that I don’t have a lot of time to meet up etc. So we text and e-mail dailey. I’ve found in these friendships nothing is expected. I like the freedom of that. 😄

    Liked by 1 person

  4. i met my best friend in middle school. we were inseperable then. a few years later i left the country and we didn’t talk for ten years, except for two or three letters. when i returned, i didn’t think we were best friends anymore. i had made other friends, and naturally so had she. but when we met again, conversation flowed like i had never left, as if the ten year gap hadn’t been there. we still talk today, even if i left the country again. not everyday, or month, but i know that we are still best friends, even with all the distance between us.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You post was so thoughtful and I loved the way you described your different friendships. I have those! I especially am enjoying a new friendship with a woman I write to almost daily in another country across the world.
    I think it really is best to have less expectations and rigid definitions. I consider friendship to be something that makes me feel “up.” I don’t really keep in touch with anyone that brings me down.
    And of course, old friends keep that connection to our past. That is something I treasure.
    Great writing, as always, Kathy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Judy! Isn’t that cool? It’s like a pen pal, but better because it’s virtual! I agree about having positive energy friendships (well, relationships really). There’s enough negativity without having to deal with people’s sour moods too.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. For me, I have different tribes and connections, and I’m grateful for all of them. I also try to be a good friend, that is, someone who cares, has your back, and is trustworthy. I require those same qualities in someone I would choose to be my friend. And if that person has a good/great sense of humour, even better.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. As you know via our recent conversation, friendship is sometimes a struggle for me and I thought a lot about it over the last days. When it comes down to friendships, quality over quantity, always. In addition, I want to be the spontaneous happy friend again, but have been seriously hurt in the past … So I also ponder, if my high expectations are fair.
    Thank you for this post, dear Katherin. More food for thought 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One thing that helped me a few years ago was a relationship meditation. I used to have quite the challenge with many relationships. That guided meditation helped me to realize that it was indeed me who needed to change in many ways. Since then, I’ve been more open and receptive and judge less, even in relationships.

      I’m not saying this would be the case for you Patty. Of course, I don’t know 😉 However, I do believe in the power of sitting quietly and reflecting on common factors and then going from there. Sending you lots of love and light overseas ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Meditation, the traditional way, is not my ‘thing’…However, I do get your point. Thank you dear Katherin for taking the time again to respond so thoughtful.
        Enjoy the rest of your day, I am almost at the end 😉 zzzZ zzzZ, goodnight. XxX

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Wanda hiding the body and regulating her breathing 😂 now she’s a friend everyone needs! It is so funny that we used to chat EVERYDAY. I guess the honemoon is over, but the friendship lives on. I count you among a smallish group of really good friends 💕 For me a friendship requires that indescribable vibe you get from a person and a literal feeling of your energy being raised in their presence. In more terrestrial terms though – for me friendships require honesty, common ground, and room for growth allowing the love to remain even when some of that initial common ground shifts. I really enjoyed reading about your friendships.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. lol I know right? I was like I talk to her more than I talk to the people I actually see! Awww thanks for saying that! I’m glad to be a part of a small-ish group.

      I’d have to agree about the “energy being raised.” It is definitely hard to describe that feeling, because you just know when you know.

      Thanks for that last part 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I used to have a friend who defined friendship in three ways: a reason, a season, and for life. She was a reason friend. We were friends because she worked across the hall from me. She’s on another floor now, and our relationship isn’t worth a set of stairs to either of us. We aren’t upset. We didn’t have a falling out. Similarly I have writing friends and knitting friends. If I stop doing that hobby, no more friend. The season friends are ones we have for a time in our lives, but when that period is over, so goes the friendship. The lifers? Well, that’s what you have. Relationships that just last. They might start with a reason or season, but continue on.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Exactly! Relationships do take work, so in response to Kathy’s thought provoking questions, my process is to let some friendships expire when their value to me is less than the amount of work maintaining them would take. I don’t work with this lady anymore, and I have new people I do work with and those relationships are more important to me now. So even though there is an elevator, that’s not enough for me to maintain that particular relationship. (Note, she never comes up the flight of stairs or elevator to visit me, so I assume the feeling goes both ways.)

        That said, I know not everyone works that way. For example, I don’t have any friend from my childhood, no best friend from high school, because the reasons and seasons expired there. The lack of lifelong friendships doesn’t bother me, but I know other people who would hate to live the way I do. Relationships are weird, and I think it’s interesting to get a glimpse into how other’s view their interactions with other humans. Thanks for the awesome post Kathy.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Johanna, I adore this comment because I know you’re a numbers person, plus you’ve stated exactly what we all face. “When their value is less than the amount of work maintaining them would take,” is so very accurate. We’ve all had to make this very decision.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Johanna! I always feel like I haven’t seen you in a while, even though I just saw you on IG!

      I have heard of that phrase and I tend to agree. Everyone is not meant to stick around for life. I know your work friend story isn’t meant to be funny, but I do laugh every time I think that it’s just her move upstairs that makes you not friends. I’d like to add that what’s key here is not to get hung up about it. A lot of times we try to make seasonal friends life-timers and that’s when things go left.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey Kathy! I’ve been off the blog world for a bit, writing short stories and working on my novel. I’m finding it hard to balance blog writing and fiction writing. Apparently I can only activate one part of my writing brain at a time. I’ve been watching your posts through my email, but couldn’t help commenting on this post. It’s a good one!

        The transition from friend to friendly isn’t always a smooth one, but thankfully it’s one of those transitions that I don’t beat myself up about. My downstairs colleague and I have no ill feelings toward each other, but when we run into each other in the office we don’t pretend we are going to go have lunch anytime soon. But my best college buddy, we may only talk every 3 months, but if I had the chance I’d go to lunch with her in a heartbeat and she with me.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I have a couple who fit your wonderfully worded description as someone who would hide the body then regulate their breathing to pass the lie detector test (I’m sharing that with all my crew, lol). LOVE. But even more so, my friends, near and far, are those who I can just be me without judgement or rejection. It’s a beautiful thing. Much like this post :-).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ex…actly! You have to have someone who can regulate their breathing in a crisis lol Yes, I do agree with being able to be yourself as well. That is a biggie for me.

      Thanks for the compliment! I do appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I agree with all of the other commenters. I realized that there is no set of rules for all friends, but I must trust you (at various degrees for each friend, of course), and I have to feel that you have my back. It’s just a feeling, a confident knowing even if they never get a chance to prove it.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. That’s food for though, thanks!
    For me a close friend is somebody I can just be myself with. In practical terms it means I can tell this person about my failures, personal/ career / financial (put anything else here) struggles, invite them to my place although I haven’t manage to clean the house yet or show my dark sense of humor and vice versa. Generally it’s all about uncovering the imperfect and vulnerable side of me without the fear of rejection.
    Once I thought about friendship in a very romanticized way – being friends for life, knowing each other inside out, finding a soul mate, and that it requires crossing paths with a right person. Surely certain “chemistry” is needed, but this approach has made me underestimate what I already had. Now I feel friendship is more a matter of choice -to invest your time, emotions, to decide how you look at certain relations.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I like how this is phrased, “uncovering the imperfect and vulnerable side of me without the fear of rejection.”

      Yes, I definitely understand about romanticizing friendships (or any relationships for that matter). Nothing good ever comes of that because the person or relationship can never live up to the imagination.

      Thanks for stopping by, reading, and commenting.

      Like

  13. Friendship, to me, is someone who will listen to you and tell you the truth. From there, you can have total opposites become friends and they’ll get along. Social media has made having acquaintances easier but to break away from that into true friendship takes love. And love is willing to listen, tell the truth, and do just about anything for that person except breaking the law, moral or any other kind. You can just tell who you can call a friend, it’s something in the air, you sense a certain comradery, a picture smiling up at you. To me listening is number one, from there you have friends for a lifetime and beyond.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. I like this, JC. I will also note that I have at least one friend who I love dearly and consider a friend but also recognize and accept that she is a *terrible* friend in general. She’s a flake, I may only hear from her when she’s having a problem, etc. But we definitely fall into the listen and tell you the truth, and now that I accept who she is and don’t get mad that she won’t be a better friend, our relationship is much better. You know, insofar as it goes.

      So I guess that also tells you how my relationships and criteria have changed over time, Kathy.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Akilah, I’m glad you mentioned your “terrible” friend. Another concept my goddaughter introduced me to is that you can BE a friend to someone else, but they might not be a friend to you. I totally agree with accepting the person for who s/he is and either maintaining your relationship as is or moving on. There’s no reason to try to make her into who you would wish her to be, but I know many people who try that very thing.

        Like

  14. Kathy, you have defined various friendship so well that I won’t here delve deeper although this is a question that I find very interesting. I have a couple of good friends I rarely meet – but when we meet it is as if we never parted. Like you I have made two friends over the net and we finally met. It was shocking how seamlessly the words translated to physical reality.
    A friend is someone who knows you – without questions; just knows.
    miriam

    Liked by 4 people

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