Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. 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. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“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

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday Musings - friendship

There's been a lot happening in my life and in the life of my community of friends. I'm not going to share details about my friends' lives here on this blog, but trust me, the things they are dealing with are not easy. At the same time, I have my friends' 15-year-old daughter this week. She spent this past year in Viet Nam with her family and is now about to go to sleep away camp for three weeks. The reasons why I have her and am in the position of getting her ready for camp are too long to go into here, but let me just say that having a teenager around is quite the experience.

The reason for this post is that all of these things have made me realize just how difficult and tricky friendship can be. Each of us faces the world with our own set of values, beliefs, coping mechanisms, personality quirks and ways of handling situations. This means there will be times when one or more of these things will clash with our friend's methods, behaviors, feelings. How we negotiate these clashes are what make a good friendship or a painful one.

I have learned through the years that I have to be honest about how I am feeling, even at the risk of hurting, upsetting or angering my friend. Most of the time, we can negotiate our way through this, but only by really listening to one another and trusting the process. This means having a willingness to lose that friendship, if the issues can't be negotiated.

What I now understand is some people don't live in the same emotional world I live in. They choose to either pretend nothing is happening, ignore what is happening and build resentments, or they are so unaware, they don't even realize something is wrong.

As I said, friendships are difficult and tricky. But so worth the effort to be fully present and learn to be compassionate and loving, perhaps after finding ways to process our resentments and anger. I'm working on this part. I do not want to sit in judgment on others. I have way too many things from my past that I am ashamed of to ever pass judgment on someone else's behavior.

How about you?


Claudia Moser said...

What I have learned about friendship, Karen, is that it needs a lot of investment, from time, to energy, to enthusiasm. You need to show presence (and I do not mean a physical one). It is even harder when you are away from your old friends, as I am now in a different country. But it can work, but you need to mean it!

Karen Walker said...

Yes, Claudia, so so true

Tonja said...

It seems like everything is hard - friendships, marriage, being a parent. All of it.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

So many just pretend nothing is wrong. Not sure if it's a fear of being wrong, confrontation, or having to say they are sorry.

Karen Walker said...

Tonja, it seems that way because it is.
Diane, yes, yes yes

Suze said...

'Each of us faces the world with our own set of values, beliefs, coping mechanisms, personality quirks and ways of handling situations. This means there will be times when one or more of these things will clash with our friend's methods, behaviors, feelings. How we negotiate these clashes are what make a good friendship or a painful one.'

Very well-articulated, Karen.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Not my job to judge!
I'm sure having a teenager in the house is a unique experience.

Mason Canyon said...

Friendships can be tricky and have their share of problems but so well worth it. A teenager in the house has to be a learning experience. They have so much more going on than we did at that age.

Thoughts in Progress

Karen Walker said...

Thanks, Suze
Alex, Mason, I am learning a lot of her - especially about my techie gadgets!! And music. It's so much fun.

Cecilia Robert said...

I really enjoyed reading your post. Friendships I think are about understanding, compassion and compromise, acceptance...so many factors. But when we are open to learning about other people AND accepting them, makes things easier.:
Happy Monday, Karen!

Tracy Moore said...

Karen, it can be difficult to reach that place of being willing to genuinely feel and allow yourself to articulate those feelings. It took me a long time and then for a while it was difficult to find the middle ground. Some people never will attain it, because it isn't an easy thing to have to be honest about our feelings a lot of the time. Love what you said about being willing to let relationships go at times...it's so true. Also agree with you about passing judgments. Still learning that myself!

Bet you're having fun with the teenager! Recently spent a bit of time with a few teenagers myself and it was a lot of fun.

Talli Roland said...

Sounds like you're a terrific friend, Karen. I think friendships need to have a little bit of give in them - we can't be too rigid with other people, or the relationship will never last.

Ciara said...

I have an almost 15 year old, so I get it. :) Friendships are tough sometimes. I don't want to hurt anyone, but sometimes you have to have an argument to make things better. I never judge others. God taught me a long time ago about that. Let's just say I learned the lesson the hard way. :)

Glynis Peters said...

Friendships need tender loving care at all times. However, they are worth the hard work we put into them. Enjoy your teenage experience. :D

Arlee Bird said...

Friendship can mean so many different things depending on the friend. It can be confusing, frustrating, but fun and rewarding as well. I'm so disconnected with my old friends in Tennessee and have failed to form any close friendships where I am in California. Sometimes I feel alienated, but most of the time I'm okay with it. Blogging helps too.

But I kind of understand where you're coming from. Being a friend involves a certain amount of discernment I guess one might say, and even judgement of a kind, but we don't want to be judgemental in a way that causes difficulties in the relationship. It can be so complex.

Wrote By Rote

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

I think you're very wise to share how you're feeling with your friends. That way everyone knows where they stand with you.

I hope all goes well.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen .. I'm so independent - but am blessed with friends in England and around the world - we keep in touch fairly regularly .. but I'm never in anyone's pocket - though there's a bed waiting if and when I need it.

Some people I can't cope with .. such is life .. I've learnt a lot in these past few years since my mother has been ill - I hope I'm more generous, caring and understanding with my time.

You sound a great friend .. especially looking after a teenager ..

Cheers Hilary

Amanda Summer said...

i admire your approach to relationships. regarding your comment about honesty, it may not always be something easy to hear, but it is always respected, i believe, at the deepest level.

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