Sunday, November 2

Being a Better Friend

It's been a long time since I've blogged here, yet again. But Daylight Saving Time just gave me a free hour. So I have some time to think and write.

The last few months have, at least in comparison, been awesome. I no longer get bipolar mood swings, ever, and I can eat carbs again. That's a miracle. My business is doing well... and we're growing popular enough that we have to make a few decisions as to the ultimate direction we want to go. I think I know the answer to at least some of the questions. Not the answer I really wanted, but it's a solution that makes a lot more sense.

I'm also beginning another business to coincide with the launch of our retail store... and just invested my entire life savings into getting it going.

But today, while I have a bunch of business issues I'm facing, stress in my church calling, and fear about my own personal direction... I'm fasting to be a better friend.

You see, the last few months, or maybe years, have done more than just rid me of bipolar. Somehow along the way I started making friends. When I was younger - and even in college - my friendships didn't really last long. If I had someone to confide in, it was for a few months at most before circumstance pulled us apart. And, most of the time, I felt like I had no one that I could really have as a friend.

Part of my problem was expectation. I think I wanted one friend who would meet all my needs... and I didn't fully appreciate the people who were part of my life. At the time, I didn't know what to do. But I probably broke more friendships by trying too hard, and giving the unspoken message that I expected too much, than by any other method.

Fast forward to today. And I have a growing list of people now... that I've... I don't know. Not found time for? More like hurt. People who I've hurt. Including my best friend, who gives me a huge amount of time and effort. And this is worse than I ever felt when I was alone. For the first time ever, there are people in the world who want to talk with me. Spend time with me. Be my friend. And I am just as clueless as I was when I tried to make people want me in their lives.

I've realized that the desire to only have  one friend wasn't right for me... because I'm still too needy for one person to handle. I remember a teacher in college talking about that. He said that it's absurd to assume that we will find a friend who can meet all of our social needs. Even in the case of marriage, if you can find someone who meets 80% of your needs, that's awesome - you'll just need to ensure the other 20% are met through outside support. Over decades, you can develop the ability to be closer to 100%, but at least at the beginning it's not going to happen.

So my definition of "friend" has changed and broadened - from someone who could meet all or most of my needs, to someone who is actively involved in my life.

And with that change in definition, I have the sudden realization that I'm a awful friend.

The issue is that I am so awful at being a friend that I break all the rules without even knowing them... and I don't know how to pick up the pieces. People email me, and it takes me weeks to reply. Others leave voicemails and it takes just as long. Sometimes I don't respond to text messages. And even when I feel like I should call someone, I don't.


I can't make life any worse than it was, or make any worse mistakes than I already am. I'll probably end up hurting people I care about... but I do that already. My best friend and I find ourselves arguing constantly, and I feel like I'm the reason it happens - both because I don't know how to communicate well, and because I've broken pieces of our relationship I don't yet know how to fix.

So today I'm fasting with the hope that I can learn to be a better friend... and be guided to do the right things for me and for other people. My free time is going to be chopped into pieces when I open my retail store in 10 days, so I know I'll need the divine help even more.

Is learning to be a friend this hard for everyone? Or am I just doing it much later in life? If this is the social chaos that hits people in middle school and high school... I can understand why the teenage years are usually incredibly stressful times of life. It just took me an extra 16 years to get here.

... Life. I get the feeling that my life is so not normal. But, then again, life is unique for all of us. That's something I'm (still) pretty sure of.


  1. So I had a big long comment and it deleted when I went to publish it. That's what I get for writing from my phone. Sometimes when I read your posts I wish I could just have a little discussion with you about them because I feel like I can relate so much. I guess I will settle for commenting :).

    I have had similar experiences like this lately and sometimes I worry about the kind of friend I am. I actually don't have one really good best friend, and the friends I grew up with aren't part of my life anymore, except for on facebook. The friendships I have managed to keep the longest are the ones with my old Young Womens leaders.

    I recently have had experiences where I have had to cut people out of my life because they were taking up too much of my energy. As a single mom with 4 boys I just don't have much energy to go around and my senses are heightened to when it is being sapped away. I felt guilty that I couldn't find a way to be the friend those people needed. But than I realized I can only offer what I have, and who I am. Hopefully people can be happy with that. Sometimes I know I do need to make more efforts. But sometimes I just have to accept that what I have to offer is ok :).

    Hope that doesn't sound preachy. I think it definitely shows great character when someone strives to improve themselves and is willing to admit that their actions weren't completely in the right. :)

    Keep up the good work :)

  2. They say the best way to have a friend is to be a friend. Pretend the other person is you....what would you want
    For example, I have four kids and a husband who is clueless like most men. What do I want from a friend? Someone to call and check in. Make me laugh. Say, hey, can I watch your kids today so you can go out and do something you want. That's what I want. So I do it to others. It usually results in me having more friends than I know what to do with. Also, I'm not selfish. I feel their pain. I'm not saying you don't. I'm just saying how I feel. I'm sure you're a much better friend than you think.


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