I don't think I'm normal when it comes to friendships. Well, if there is such a thing as normal anyway. I am an only child. A latchkey kid from second grade on, I came home to an empty house. Because of the kind of childhood I had, I didn't feel particularly good about myself and grew up wanting what others seemed to have. I think that is how I chose friends.
In elementary school, I envied the popular girls--the ones who were pretty, bubbly, vivacious, and smart. At first glance, I wanted to be friends with them. But upon deeper reflection, the truth is, I wanted to BE them.
Then there were the girls I chose because I wanted to be part of their family, not my own. My best friend lived across the street from me, and I hung out there as much as possible, hoping to wangle a dinner invitation. Dinner at her house was so different--her mom cooked and cooked well. Her family (two brothers and the dad) actually ate together and talked. At our house, my mom knew how to make one thing, meatloaf. And Dad just threw ground beef in a pan and called it a hamburger, with canned green beans and spaghetti sauce in a jar. We ate out 4 or 5 times a week.
As an adult, I wanted friends I could talk to. Someone who loved and accepted me unconditionally. As with boyfriends and husbands, something was wrong with my picker. Just recently, a good friend pointed out to me that I seem to target people. I'll see something, some aspect of that person, or a characteristic, and decide I want them in my life, never stopping to consider they might not feel the same way about me. I'll maneuver (all right, this is telling the truth Tuesday so I'll say it, manipulate) things so that I get what I want. It never turns out well.
I have good friends in my life. But I seem to want different things--more time together, more intimacy, that kind of thing. I've learned not to make assumptions about what others are thinking and feeling, so if I begin to feel uncomfortable, I ask questions about what's going on. Believing that others really do love me; really do care about me; really do enjoy spending time with me, is still hard. Most of the time, I remember that. But when I forget, and act off the self-doubt, it's not a pretty sight. Luckily, my friends know me well enough to call me on it.
At 60, I'd like to be able to say I understand what friendship is all about. What it means to be a friend. What realistic expectations are about friendship. But the truth is, I'm still a bit clueless.
What do you feel about friendship? Are yours nourishing you? Do you have issues with friends as well? Would love to hear your comments on this topic.
Insecure Writers Support Group
Welcome to Following the Whispers blog
Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here on Monday and Tuesday. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair.
"ONLY ONE THING IS MORE FRIGHTENING THAN SPEAKING YOUR TRUTH, AND THAT IS NOT SPEAKING IT." Naomi Wolf
"We are called human beings, not human doings."
Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher
"The way to do is to be."