Monday, November 16, 2015

That Friendship Vent

I got up earlier than normal this morning and began my daily morning routine. Since I had a few extra minutes to kill, I decided to scroll my news feed on FB. Aside from the atrocities in Paris, Beirut, and beyond, there was the typical "share if you love Jesus" and random photos of dogs, cats, babies, and selfies. Then there was a story that caught my eye.

It was titled: How to be a better friend over 30.

I decided to check it out, and I'll wait a sec for you to read it.

No, really... just click and come back here..


OMG. It hit the nail on the head and said all of the things I want to scream to some of my "friends."

Let's break the article down and let me, if I may, vent a little.
But first, why do I even feel the need to vent? Because this is one of those life things I think many of us experience and because we don't want to harm our friendships, we just internalize and hope one day they will see the light.

Disclaimer: This is not about any one person - but all of us! We should all heed this warning

Let's begin, shall we?
1.  Stop acting so busy all the damn time.

This one almost made me jump out of the bed and pace the cabin saying, "Yes.. right?" I typically extend olive branches to friends asking to do something with them, or make suggestions to meet up, or whatever the case may be. I am often told - I'm busy. Or I have plans. Or... whatever. Typically, the ones with children always assume they are more busy than others. While, some always have something to do with their significant other, etc. etc. Here is what I think:

We are ALL busy. Yes, you may have children and a ton of activities, but that doesn't mean you can't invite said friend over to have a cup of coffee while you are preparing dinner? The kids eventually go to sleep, right? Pick up the phone and call your friends. Then those who put the significant other ahead of everyone... you do have a life outside of this person, right? It is okay to invite them over, or meet up for lunch during the day even.. whatever it is you need to do.

What I HATE HATE HATE.. and I see it all of the time with people I know, when they are having a hard time or fighting with their person, they suddenly want to hang out or will call. Not because they want to, but because they are looking for someone to hide out with or get their mind off of things. Then as soon as they get the desired result from whatever the situation was at home, they disappear again. Had this happen to me recently, and after years of friendship I made a hard decision - don't fall for it anymore. I have enough experience now to figure out when it is genuine and when I am being treated like an escape goat.

We are ALL busy. I work.. no wait.. I RUN a business. Not just a business, a museum. That's no cake walk, though when you talk to me it sounds like it is easy as pie. It is not. It is just that I make time for you, and want to talk to you, not about the obstacles that I may encounter on a daily basis. I also freelance write, which takes a LOT of time. It's like having a super hard research paper due each week. I am also trying to maintain a long distance relationship, as well as serve on three major boards and a state wide board. I show up at your birthday parties, wedding, showers, art openings, kids' recitals, and everything else. (If I am invited.) I send thank you notes, and call you, and invite you to EVERYTHING... just hoping one day you will bite. Alas, I am often told that you are busy with this or that. Which I am sure you are saying the same thing to your other friends, because.. well.. as your friend, I know you. Though my day may not always include children in the morning, you might like to know that I am rehearsing what I plan to say as the guest speaker at a community civic groups meeting while I roll my hair. As I am driving down the road I am making mental check lists of all of the extra stuff I have to do that week, which includes checking in on you, and when I am at work, I take just a few minutes to scroll FB and comment on your kids' soccer picture or  the trip you took with your sweetie pie.

Folks.. it is not that hard to carve 5 minutes and it can mean the world.

2.  Start acknowledging your friend's accomplishments.

Sweet baby Jesus! THANK YOU. I'm glad someone said it. If I get wind that something awesome happened in your life, I am going to let you know how proud I am of you.

I've had some pretty significant things (that are fairly cool) happen in my own life recently, and outside of my SG and maybe my parents, rarely does my circle even notice. Or if they do, I don't hear about it.

3. You gotta do the stuff THEY like to do too...thats how friendships work...

Sooo.. remember when I said I always try to show up for you guys. Yeah... and when I invite people to things they sometimes say "That's not really my thing."

4.  Shit gets real after 30 so being this uber private friend is probably not going to work in your favor.  You're going to need a certain level of transparency ...

Okay... this means, yeah... I know when I am just your refuge when things are not going great. When you pick up the phone out of no where and after 30 minutes of catching up, it sort of comes out. Or when you suddenly are on my side of town and want to stop by....
And then I figure out it is that things aren't so great at home...
Look... just be open. Be a friend. Obviously you need me... but be a little more transparent.

At the end of the day - we can all relate to my vent. We all have people we love and need in our life and we want to keep our friendships strong. Our friends are flawed just like everyone else. But we love them. We are still friends because I care. Or I wouldn't even vent. ;-)

Let that article be a reminder to all of us that it takes two to make a relationship work. Men come and go (unfortunately it is true.) Parents die, jobs are lost, and the kids eventually move out. What are you going to have left when all is said and done?

Remember the people that stuck by your side before you had it all. They are still there, and returning the favor on their journey is worth its weight in gold.

Let's all be better friends to each other.

As Bill and Ted said, "Be Excellent to Each Other."

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