Do you as an adult have a best friend?
Wait let’s go back a step, what is a best friend? Is it someone you have been friends with for a long time? Perhaps since childhood? Or is it someone who has been very supportive and your go-to person cheering you on? Or is it the person who you rely on when things go horribly wrong?
I think a best friend is in the eye of the beholder. If you feel that someone is your best friend, then they are.
I don’t have a best friend.
I don’t like that term. For me, it brings back memories of recess where someone is your best friend one day and the next day they have a new best friend. Best friendship as young-ish children is fleeting and changes with a whim.
I prefer the term close friend. I have a few close friends who I can rely on and who are supportive of me and I of them. Friends that I know will be there through this season/stage of my life. Will they always be my close friends? Perhaps not but they will ALWAYS be my friends.
I think friendships like romantic relationships change over time as we change as people. And, I think that should be more normalized. The friends you make through school may or may not have the same ambitions or goals that you have after school. And, that is okay. Those work friends that you make to get through the workday, but you don’t talk to much once you change jobs. That is okay too.
Don’t put too much emphasis on making or having a ‘best’ friend. Just be a good friend and find people that love you for who you are. Sometimes they are hard to find, but once you do. You know it.
I have no control over what other people think of me. You have no control over what other people, including me, think of you. I have no control over other people’s actions, neither do you.
But, we tend to care very deeply about what other people think of us. I cared a great deal about a group of people I haven’t met wishing me happy birthday. It was a great lesson to learn. I shouldn’t rely on someone external to me for validation. I should be happy and reflective and loved internally regardless of what others do or say. Should. I wasn’t. I’m still not.
I took a couple days to reflect on what happened and that I was/am way too dependent on what others think of me, and for their validation. After two days I was feeling much better about myself again. I also haven’t seen or read any news of the dumpster fire that is the current political climate most everywhere. It was good for me to take that break and just focus on myself, my family, and day to day items.
Then, this evening I logged back in to twitter….
and I had many many many birthday messages and a few DMs as well. So, these people who I wanted to validate my existence and my birthday did. They just didn’t know it was my birthday. And, these people entered me into a draw and I won. I won a beautiful handcrafted item from and about this online community I am part of. A community I have spent many hours supporting. They have given me a gift back.
I am now a mixed up ball of emotions.
Online friendships are superficial. They are not the same as real life friendships. Interestingly I always knew this about Facebook Friends. Even though all of my Facebook Friends started out as someone I knew in real life.
For some asinine reason I thought that the new twitter friends I had made were different. I spent much more time with them, I was open and vulnerable. I talked about my depression and when I was having a very bad day with it. I put my self out there, all the odd quirks included. All of my self, including too much of my heart.
In reality it was just a birthday, and that only one twitter friend wished me happy birthday isn’t a big deal. And, I appreciated that one twitter birthday wish a lot more because it was someone I didn’t interact with often. Am I making a big deal of this, yes I am.
For a superficial friend to miss your birthday isn’t a big deal, at all. It is actually kind of expected. The problem here for me is I didn’t realize that the friendships I made were only superficial. I thought they were true friendships. I thought we would be friends for years and years, I thought I would spend money (and I don’t have lots) to meet these friends in real life.
Friendship is not something I have ever found easy, but I thought I had found my people, I was wrong. And, that is a hard thing to realize.
I have a community of friends. They are people that I met online because of a friend and a television show. I have spent hours and hours and hours with them over the past ten months. Hours spent being supportive of others, and just trying to be kind and helpful. Hours that I could have spent in other ways. In ways that might have been more productive for me personally, but I have learned some very valuable lessons.
I learned that I can care deeply about people that I don’t know overly well. I learned that I can be concerned about someone who I have never met, to the point of checking in with everyone I can think of to see if they are alright. I learned that getting a postcard from a person that you have never met face-to-face is a wonderful heart-warming lovely surprise (even when you know it’s coming). I have learned that I CAN interact with people online, that I am not as introverted in an online space as I thought I was. I learned that I can just be my true self and people might interact with me. I can be quirky and odd, and talk about books or anything else that interests me and there might be someone out there who wants to interact with me back.
I learned so many good lessons from this experience. I learned some pretty hard ones too. But, the lessons that stick with you, are the ones that you learn the hardest way possible, right?
I had the awesome opportunity to go to the zoo today, with a couple friends. There is an area under construction for Giant Panda’s that will be coming for a visit. It got me thinking about Natural Selection, because Panda’s only eat one thing (bamboo) they are/were going extinct until humans stepped in to ‘help’ them procreate.
Do you have any friends, that natural selection is weeding out of your life? Do you want to let it, or are you willing to put in the effect to step in and ‘help’ keep the friendship alive?
I’ve never had a lot of friends in my life. In grade school I had a couple close friends, but we grew apart after school, as we went or separate ways. I never spent much time at University, I worked quite a bit and never had much extra time available for extracurriculars, so never really made friends there.
Once we get into the workforce we have ‘work’ friends. The people that we spend the majority of our days with away from our families. But, once you are no longer working there, they are no longer your friends. This was a hard lesson to learn. After my first grown up job I thought we would have these friends for life, I didn’t.
I now have a few close friends. It takes more work than I realized when I was younger. But, I am lucky enough to have a few fabulous people in my life who I could call in an emergency.
I know how precious these people are and I am willing to put in the effort to work at the friendship.