Friendship and the Expectation of Support (Part III)

If you haven’t read Part I and II, then here’s a re-cap. I was a little hurt that none of my close friends had asked me how the latest book reading went.* As a result, I’d thought about it and concluded the following:

  • I should be grateful for those who showed support in the moment and
  • I shouldn’t be concerned with affairs of the ego.
woman standing near body of water
Photo by Tobias Bju00f8rkli on Pexels.com

My third conclusion is simple: Everyone is not a friend to me.

While it’s an easy lesson, it’s been a lifelong challenge to discern. As I’ve said before on this blog, I’m a friend to everyone. I treat people similarly. I don’t have hierarchies of distinction. For example, the friend I’ve known for twenty years will receive the same friendship and loyalty as the friend of twenty days. I’m cool with that. However, what I’ve had to learn, even in my late 40s, is that everyone is not a friend to me.

This was brought to my attention by my goddaughter and husband, with whom I had dinner after the book reading. My goddaughter suggested that some see me as some sort of grand persona, and because of that, folks I call friend might not realize I have the same needs as a ‘regular’ person, thus never creating a friendship. My hubby asked me to think about a specific friend. Why are you friends? Has she ever asked about what you’re doing? The answer was no, not really.

During my fourteen days of silence, I thought about this further, but on a grander scale. I call it a friendventory. (Do you like that word?) With my friendventory, I thought about all the people who I consider close. I asked myself two questions: (1) why are we friends and (2) how is the relationship symbiotic? I’m not going to use this space, time, or energy to name anyone specific, but I did develop three categories.

man s hand in shallow focus and grayscale photography
Photo by lalesh aldarwish on Pexels.com

#1: We are friends because they need/needed help. I’ve developed quite a few relationships this way. People tend to come to me for advice because they think I know something. It doesn’t matter how many times I say you know what to do to put the onus of their lives back on them, they still ask. Likewise, because I like to talk, some sort of relationship tends to blossom. However, these people rarely ask about the happenings of my life.

#2: We are friends because we have common interests or like to be around each other. That’s it, right? That’s what friends are essentially. Whether we met at school or a job, there are several people I can pick back up with as if no time has passed. We have lengthy conversations about mutually agreed upon topics. Neither of us must explain what the other means; we nod in agreement at most things, and when there’s a disagreement, it’s not an issue. The relationship is comfortable and unforced. These people are my friends.

#3: We were only associates, not friends. Although it may feel like it in the moment, I’ve had to come to terms with the idea that for some people, the relationship never left the associate category. We may have met via some joint venture (e.g., work, school, writing), and we might even have pleasantries, which result in being friendly, but we are not friends. Ego and judgment aside, people in this category have shown me that they are not interested in being a part of my life or in developing a relationship. I would provide examples, but somehow, I think you all get the point.

If you’ve read one, two, or all three of these, then thank you! I appreciate your engagement and comments.

Part I and Part II

*Since writing this but before publishing it, someone I consider a friend did text me and ask about the reading 🙂

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59 thoughts on “Friendship and the Expectation of Support (Part III)

      1. I meant there are different kinds of friendship. For example, some friends are only good for hanging out with and having fun, or some are good for advice, or some are great at leading you to grow, but the key is to know the boundaries of the friendship. Of course you have that one bestie that knows everything and loves you anyway no matter what. Knowing what you are willing to give and knowing what they are capable of giving will help us to not be disappointed.
        The “three” I referred to was the 3 posts you made about friendship.
        I have friends that would probably not ever go out at night to read poetry with me but would be excited about a jazz brunch. I have a friend that I would not tell my secrets to because she is a gossip but she is still my friend that has my back when I need her. Does that make sense?

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Having read your posts and coupling it with some events over the past weekend, I am reminded of something I once heard: “We have the absolute right to decide our relationships.”

    I’ve grown to realize that there are things beyond my control, and it does not suit me in the least to try and engage in those things. Granted, I realize all of this has been very emotional that involves plenty of introspection, but I find the beauty of our lives is the ability to be able to decide our own reactions to things.

    I’m rambling…but hopefully, my point comes through well enough. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it makes perfect sense. After reflecting, I’ve decided just what you’ve said here; however, it was necessary to pull back first. I’ve also decided to be the type of friend I want to have. Thanks for coming back and reading/commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I read all three posts back to back and felt them in my soul. I’ll add a couple of things:

    1. Everyone doesn’t value friendships the same way I do. I find this is true especially of my friends with significant others. As a single person, I do not have a go-to person in the same way that they do, so some of the things I value in a friend, they find in significant others so don’t think about in the same way in their friendships toward me.

    2. I have to frequently assess if I’m judging a person based on who THEY ARE or on how I WANT THEM TO BE. These are two very different things. Also, as you and Dwight pointed out, why am I expecting someone who has never done [specific thing] to suddenly do it now?

    3. I also have a tendency to want inaccessible people to give me attention which means I’ll ignore the people who are actively being loving and present toward me because I want the person who isn’t giving me that kind of attention to give it to me. Often, this is a big “you need to check yourself” moment. It also means paying attention to the people who show up instead of focusing on the people who didn’t. What do I have vs. what do I lack. It’s a different way of thinking for me.

    I think there’s more, but that is more than enough for now. Thank you, as always, for such a thoughtful series of posts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting Akilah! I 100% agree with all of these. For #1, I can see how that can happen, especially if someone is getting all needs fulfilled by their SO. I don’t think it’s a great excuse, but I do see how that could be. #2…YES! It’s a hard thing NOT to do. Accepting people for who they are (for some of us) is like making a conscious decision each time with each person. For others, it comes quite naturally. #3: I really have the same answer as #2. Sometimes, for me, I naturally am just thankful for whoever is there with me in that moment; other times, I’m like where in the who hay is everyone lol Practice always helps.

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      1. LOL I stole that from a co-worker at a previous university. She didn’t want to cuss in front of some “important” people, so she used this phrase (I was in GA). I LOVED it, so I took it…and usually I add hell at the end, which defeats the original purpose, but makes me laugh because of such defeat lol

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  3. so true – also, friendship means so many different things to others. some folks don’t think about it at all – some just do whatever’s convenient at the time. there have been incidents when those I thought weren’t friends actually came through for me — we all have different & fluctuating priorities. if I allow myself to judge strictly, I’ll have no friends at all, will lose out on good things 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed! That’s why I had to pause for a second with this one because I was like surely it’s not true that NONE of these people are my friends, who care about me and what I’m doing…like that can’t be the truth.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Again, you are wonderful to remind us that none of us is unique when it comes to emotions, even tho its easy to feel that way. Was amused to read of a monastery where monks were annoyed with each other har har

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Kathy, you have addressed an issue of friendship that most of us will have come across in our lives … the greatest advice I came across whilst blogging is to feel no animosity, anger, regret but see the people in our lives as part of Friend – Ships … with folk stepping in and out of our lives. No one is static, we all change, move on, move forward and it is a matter of recognising this. A great series of posts!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Annika, I agree. I have this analogy I keep meaning to write about, which is an analogy to riding a train. We’re on a journey on a train ride, and some people get on and hang out with you for a few hours, and then it’s their time to leave and venture to wherever they’re going. Then, someone else gets on and hangs out for a bit. And still, some are on the train with you til the end of your actual stop.

      Thanks for the kind words ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s a very effective approach to assessing friendships. Up until maybe a year or so ago, I was inclined to hang on to friendships… even if there wasn’t really any point or benefit. But some people are draining, others are toxic, and some are simply fair-weather friends. I’m realizing that it’s not only healthy to let some friendships run their course, but it’s also probably the way things are intended to be. Friends come and go at different points and stages in our lives. While some are in it for the long haul, that seems to be far from the majority. And that’s perfectly okay. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, me too. At some point, it’s like wasted/static energy. I absolutely agree about people coming and going at necessary points in one’s life…and I just told my husband I’m going to get a T-shirt with the words you’ve said at the end: AND THAT’S OKAY! lol

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  6. Amen, amen and amen! Thank you for all these three posts, Kathy. They give me great comfort. I’ve been dealing with friendship issues myself, of late. At some point, I thought I was really being overly sensitive. But these certain individuals kept showing me in more ways than one that they are no friends of mine or the friendship has run it’s course. And I’ve been mercilessly decluttering. I like both your hubby and goddaughter’s reasoning. Great post full of wisdom.

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  7. Read all three posts regarding this topic and great awareness and thus realizations. What I also learned, beside how we put others on pedestal (expectations), sometimes we do it with ourselves too. “I am a great friend, so naturally my friends (should) treat me the same way.” Forgetting about we’re all at different levels of growth and maturity, unconditional acceptance…which makes me not that good of a friend at all.
    Oh yes; it IS hard, but worthwhile to keep working on this, enabling more meaningful connections.
    In the end, leading by example, is I think the only way we can go forward? Know better, do better?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Exactly Patty! I think that’s also our ego speaking. I also agree that leading by example, not in an egoistic way, is the key. Part of my awakening surrounding friendships has been to simply be the kind of friend I would want. Like other things, I think this will align me with others who are meant to be in my sphere ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for sharing on this. Definitely maintaining one way relationships are utterly draining.

    I’ve learned so much about friendships/relationships since ill health came knocking. Not everyone is as they seem, yet others are absolute gems & love and accept you as you are. Or others just stop. ‘But I didn’t receive a resignation!’ Lol!

    Friendships definitely ebb & flow. And it’s almost a case of ‘I’ll enjoy this moment of friendship, as tomorrow will no doubt be different.’

    Liked by 2 people

    1. They absolutely are. I’m grateful for the phrase Dr. Dinardo shared, “one-way, transactional relationships.” They are no bueno. As for your own knowledge about friendships, I’ve heard this is pretty common. I’m not sure what it is about illness and hard times that seems to make others flee.

      I like what you’ve said in the end because that’s all we really have any way…this moment.

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  9. I found this to be a helpful topic and you had many interesting observations, Katherin.
    My only feedback is related to your statement of being “a friend to everyone” with no distinction betweeen old friends and new ones. That’s a mighty daunting position to take. Personally, I see my energy as finite and it would be exhausting to extend devotion to people I don’t have “history” with or know as well. Time allows me to more easily determine which friends are worthy of my devotion.
    But it’s great that you were able to transform your disappointment with this thoughtful post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey there Judy! I’m glad you saw this as helpful in some way. As far as your statement about finite energies, I get it. My grandmother said something similar. She said she only has enough care for around 5 people, so I totally understand your point of view.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Awesome post! I love your willingness to explore yourself via your writing. In turn, you heighten our self-awareness.

    I can 100% relate to your number one:
    “We are friends because they need/needed help. I’ve developed quite a few relationships this way. People tend to come to me for advice because they think I know something.”

    Transactional one way relationships can be so darn exhausting. You want to help, because this is your nature. But over time compassion becomes resentment..

    One a brighter note:
    How was the book reading Dr. G? 📕💯

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  11. folks I call friend might not realize I have the same needs as a ‘regular’ person – this statement rings very true to me. I came to this conclusion after a long period of struggling to understand and also judging myself for not being so …friend-friendly? I questioned and also shared with some that just like how my perspectives help them in their life, their way of life can help me be in regular life if they would include me. But even that didn’t seem to be understood. I get back a lot of – That’s not for you. While they enjoy a lot of social life and I am the shoulder to cry on secretly. I learned my way out of that pattern, identified my own noble friendships that serve a healthy mutual exchange. They may not be many but I can count on them.

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  12. Friendventory….(my keyboard did an AutoCorrect 😄) This has opened a new window to look at life through for me. I know I won’t be getting a lot of happy conclusions at the end of my friendventory….but I know it will ultimately help me live a better life and realise I do not have to place huge expectations on people around me….

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This post really grabbed my attention and made me think. I agree with your Goddaughter and hubby completely. Let me start with saying, I believe that I fit into all three of these categories with you. At times I do not “reach out” or engage in what is going on with you or my other friends. As far as YOU, I believe it has to do with the whole “grand persona” thing. I feel like you are so talented, beautiful, professional and just so perfect. I mean come on, you really have your shit together girl, seriously. Yes, I put you up on this pedestal because I respect you so much. In my eyes you’re like my hero writer and I just adore you. But, I tend to feel intimidated like “why would she want to chitchat with someone like me? What do I have to offer?” But that’s my insecurities getting the best of me. I think you read my post about being very intimidated by college educated people because I never went, so that is my own battle within. Anyway, so how you doin’? 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. OMGosh LOL I laughed through this. I definitely appreciate you saying these words Lennon! You know I adore you. But that’s the whole thing…I’m cool with everyone as long as you’re cool with me ❤ There is ZERO reason to be intimidated by me.

      On a separate note, HEEEY! I'm so happy to see you back here for a second.

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      1. Darling, I’m a realist and know my faults and own them. So my bad completely. I will most definitely reach out more. I love your blog and how you brings things to the table that wake us up. So insightful you are! Happy to give you a good laught today too!

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  14. There are friends who are with us through sunshine and rain. Such friends, we hold close to our heart. There will always be your categories #1 and #3 friends. They, too, play a role in our lives and should not be discarded. Our connections with other human beings, regardless of the degree of intimacy, make our whole.

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  15. You know this is an interesting post to me because a few posts ago I wrote on a similar topic: real life friends vs blogging friends. The comments were interesting…

    When it comes to anything I do online I find few RLF remember/ask/are interested in my activities but some of my blogging friends, some of whom I have not met but have a relationship with via email etc, they do.

    It was hard to accept that some extended family couldn’t care less, so I simply stopped pushing myself on them. I can’t force interest and I don’t want fake interest…

    It’s challenging, is what I’m saying. Great post, as usual. 😄

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you Claudette! It is challenging. I guess, this situation, in particular has really helped me to step back and not focus on one thing that people do, per se and not to interpret just that one thing. Some of my blogging friends are super supportive and some of my RLFs are super supportive. Then, there are others, who are like, “What? You have another book out” ;-/ Anywho, thanks for the comment and kind words ❤

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