Came across this blog prompt and find it quite interesting. It comes from the site that provides blog prompts for every month. Here’s the link and I’m following it with the prompt.
Describe your ideal friend – do you live up to this description in your friendships?
Friendship is an interesting subject because I struggle with having deep and solid friendships in my adulthood. I think about it frequently and I’m not sure what the reasons are, but I do find myself lacking in a best friend who I talk to regularly and can say just about anything to. There’s no doubt that I have some really good friends who mean a lot to me and give me a sense of companionship; however, I’m missing a friend I could call or text or email at any point of the day and get a response of recognition, even if we can’t talk at the moment. My ideal friend would be the one I could talk honestly to and say just about anything. We could talk about embarrassing stuff, serious stuff, and if we ran into conflict, we could tell each other our thoughts and opinions with respect and without having to be hurt. As I’ve gotten older and into my adulthood, I’ve had less patience for humoring the poor behavior and choices of people in my life in silence. I don’t like to be around people who act in a way that is negative and then NOT say something. If someone in my life, and our relationship, is hampered by patterns of negativity or dysfunction or obnoxiousness, I’m likely to talk to the person and be honest and say, “Hey, have you noticed you act this way or always talk this way?” and then at least the person knows how I feel. My ideal friend would be open to this type of communication and honesty with me, and in return, the friend would tell me the same things. If I’m going through a pattern of whining or being overly snarky with my sarcasm, I want a friend to tell me. If I’m being neurotic or spazzy, I’d like a friend to tell me. But in return, if I call her out on her issues, she has to be receptive to the constructive criticism that comes from unconditional love. I suppose that in this southern culture, politeness and silence reign when someone is being annoying or acting in the wrong. I don’t subscribe to that type of passive reaction, when no one wants to address an issue, so my friendships with people should be able to sustain my level of honesty and communication. I’m not saying I want to be a bossy friend or constantly judgemental or able to say anything I want about a friend’s life decisions. I suppose I have the mindset that I’ll call a spade a spade, even if it’s trying to act like a heart. How’s that for a colloquialism? 🙂 I would just like to have a friendship that could sustain some conflict and honest words without crumbling.
On that same note of communication, my ideal friend would share news of her life with me and vice versa. I’d love to have a friend that I could call up on any given day and say, “Wow, you’ll never believe what happened to me today…” Or a friend who would call me up and say, “What are you doing right now? I have the funniest story to tell you…” I don’t have any friends that I communicate with regularly like this. I have friends who I “catch up” with when we’re actually together, but when not together and seeing each other once a week or even more infrequently, I have no friends that I talk to regularly. I rarely just talk about life with anyone, except Andrew, and now that I think of it, maybe that’s why this blog is so therapeutic.
I suppose you can tell that communication and honesty are very important things to me in any relationship. There are other important things in a friendship though. My ideal friend would be kind and sensitive, definitely compassionate on a bad day or in a time of need. I feel like I am this type of friend because I’ve been there for friends in their times of need, whether good or bad, and I’ve given of my time and resources. Have I dropped everything to go to a friend who has called in a time of panic? Yes. Have I received phone calls from friends in the middle of the night when something traumatic has happened? Yes. Have I seen the fear and doubt on a friend’s face at having to go through a situation alone and offered to go with her and be her support without her asking? Yes. Have I done everything in my power to cheer up a despondent friend, helping her to go from tears to laughter? Yes. I know I’m a friend capable of caring and sharing, and my ideal friend would do the same kinds of things for me – return the gestures.
Another friend requisite: having a sense of humor, not taking herself too seriously, and being able to act silly. Despite being in my 30s, I still enjoy laughing and being silly when hanging out with friends. Some of the best memories are those in which I laughed about something stupid with a friend until I cried and my sides hurt. My ideal friend and I would be sarcastic and joke with each other without being offended. We wouldn’t take ourselves too seriously and we wouldn’t be afraid to laugh at each other at times, too. Do you know that I actually know people, people who are in my life on a regular basis, who can’t take a joke and bristle when a joke is made at them…every single time? Why does a person need to be that serious and on guard all of the time? Another thing – my friend and I might not be politically correct or act appropriately in public all the time, but we’d have fun. We might do crazy things but we’d do them together because the level of fun and spontaneity would go up when we are together. What’s the fun in always being prim and proper? That’s my philosophy, at least, and my ideal friend would be up for craziness and merriment and laughter. My ideal friend would continue to bring exuberance and joy into my life, no matter how we age.
Going back to the communication thing: My ideal friend would be someone I could confide in, telling my craziest truths and life experiences to, and she wouldn’t judge me or gasp at what I say. I’d like someone to which I could tell my worries and anxieties. I’ve talked about my postpartum depression before – the time after having Ella Grace in which I thought I was crazy because I wasn’t particularly happy and I was constantly anxious. What if I’d had the ideal friend to whom I could’ve talked about my issues and not felt like I had to keep them secret for fear of judgement? Along with the emotional issues of having a baby, the physical and bodily issues were insane! But I didn’t have an ideal friend to call up and ask, “Hey, is it normal for this fluid to be coming out of my body?” I’m very comfortable in talking about bodily functions, but not everyone is, so my ideal friend could handle the occasional conversation about female bodies, in all their complexity, and the physical perils of having a baby and getting older. You know, woman stuff… Can I handle this as a friend myself? Of course. Come to me with any confession and I will listen and do my best to understand. If advice is wanted, I’ll give it. If being listened to is all that is asked, I’ll listen. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten better at listening to people, and despite what I said earlier in the post about speaking my mind, I make it a point to NOT speak my mind until I’ve thought about things.
My ideal friend would also not be shallow (hope that wouldn’t be an issue anyway), not judging based on looks or my choice in clothing. We’d be able to enjoy things we have in common but we wouldn’t have to be exactly alike. I’m very capable of being friends with people who have different personalities than mine, even a different belief system. But of course, at the core of the ideal friend, there is goodness and humility – a desire to have friendship as much as I do. I’m sure there’s so much more I’m not articulating now, but I suppose I’ll wrap this up as my description of the ideal friend. And in wrapping up, let me just give the addendum that in my life, Andrew is the best and ideal friend I could have. As my husband, he holds all of the qualities I discussed and so much more. But in doing this post, the OTHER ideal friends are the ones outside of your family – the people who are in your life because you and they both choose to be connected. That’s the type of ideal friend I still wish for. However, as I continue through life, I’ve learned that friends don’t always stay and it takes work sometimes to make a friendship last through the years. But as the quote below states, I don’t wait for an ideal friend to be present to continue my life and my growth, but I’ll always want the friend who will weather the years and the journey in my life.
However, no matter what, I know I’ll always be okay.