Sunday, October 17, 2010

Friends and Responsibilities

Today on FaceBook, I could tell that my Granddaughter and her friends were struggling with being Friends, and what that means. And after I read what I had written, I thought, you know..there are lessons for us grownups as well.

They are learning how hard it is to be a friend. And how friendship means being committed. How life gets in the way sometimes of good intentions and How easily it is to lose a friend.

Here is what I wrote in bold Italics. My granddaughter sometimes makes remarks when I make a comment. This time, she told me it was amazing. Did I tell you how great she is...and at 14...What a wonderful gift she is.

I am sorry cause you know I am going to say something...sorry..I can't help it. There is a reason that people that are older are called Wise. There is a reason you think your parents don't understand. It isn't because we have never lived th...rough it. It is because we have lived through it. We have already made the mistakes and we have already learned some versions of the answers. And we tend to dismiss your feelings and expect you to understand because "We said so". It isn't right, it just is. You guys have to make your own mistakes and learn your own lessons. However, if you stop and take in just a little bit of what your parents say, You will find the lessons a little less hard sometimes. 

Now this first part, I thought they should know why we know what we know. I said that we have lived it, and now we have some version of the answers. I wanted to elaborate here. Tell them that no we don't have all the answers and the answers we do have are not necessarily Right...they are just how we perceived them and what we took away. For us to imply that they will not find anything different is to say that we know it all. Of course we don't. We just know how it was for us and the lessons we learned and what we did with those lessons. Our goal is to make sure that those life lessons do not derail them. We try and protect them from having to learn those lessons as we cannot be sure how hard they will be.

Now it seems to me that you guys are talking about friendships and how they seem to fade away. And how you push them away.
I don't know any details, but I will talk in generals. S
ome times friendships and relationships cost more than we can give.
We tend to get selfish with our friends. We don't want to share them. We don't want anyone else to have that BFF feeling with "Our BFF" That is too much pressure to put on anyone. No one can fill all our needs. And when we look to our "Friend" to do that, we are being selfish
Surely age has not changed us that much and  we are guilty of the same. We want our friends to stay close by. We cannot imagine that their lives could be important anywhere else. This is especially so with our spouses and our adult children. We want our children to be independent, but we get really clingy when we find they would rather spend time with their "Best" Friend and that is just not us. Of course this is how it should be, but that hurts our hearts. And we become selfish. And how we handle that tells a great deal about who we are.
 Now a true friend will be there for us. They will drop just about anything to help us. But if we are a true friend, we should respect that sometimes that just can't happen. That life gets in the way.
And sometimes, it is the thought that counts

You know exactly how much you can sacrifice for a friend. You think you do. Sometimes they ask so much from us, we think we can not give anything else. Or else we feel like we cannot give enough. And sometimes we have nothing to give at all. We want to make everything good for them, but there is nothing there.We feel guilty for not being able to give back what has been given. That is when the thought counts. Maybe it is just a phone call, or a note. Maybe a card in the mail. You can not judge tit for tat. I think that is what I am trying to say. There are friends that can pull out the check book. There are friends that have more time. But really, it isn't about what can you do for me now. Love is not measured about how much money or time you have. I know that I have friends that are constantly giving me gifts. I cannot do that as I don't have the money.  It is about the thought.
As we grow up, our world gets bigger and bigger. And friends will come and they will move on. This is where it gets tricky. We grow and since we are individuals, our directions may not be parallel. We can't expect our friends to love everything we do. We will meet people that our friends are not going to like. Your friend may not understand how you can be in the same room with that person. 

There is  a written verse about your friends or Sisters that come into your life. How you need them all. Some stay until you die, some are only here for a brief time. They are all important. Our world gets so big and then people pass through. We will have new friends, old friends, friends of friends. We will share hugs, prayers, laughter, prayers, tears, good and bad. We will lose friends through our own selfishness and stupidity. We will find out that everyone who claims to be our friend is not. We learn that we don't have to be friends with everyone we know. We will find that we have respect for some people we really don't like at all. And all of this will not come without a price.

OH now...We have the whole Boyfriend Girlfriend thing. This is where it gets really sticky. As we start dating, our friends start to feel a little excluded. And when they don't have a significant other at the same time, your friends start to get real jealous. And it isn't that they are mean. It is just normal stuff. It is how you handle the jealousy and your feelings and your friends feelings that makes you the person you are. 

Now here is definitely where things begin to change. Girlfriends and Boyfriends become Wives and Husbands. You find the person you want to share your life with. All of a sudden, you have a new best friend.  And as much as your BFF's have seen you through everything, this new love is different than anything else on earth. In it's infancy, you have trouble seeing anything else but that person. Of course that is the way it is suppose to be. And with that new person, comes another family. More brothers, and sisters, and parents. You have so many people in your life now. This time in your life is when you notice that you are not staying in touch with your friends as much. There never seems to be enough time. Of course their is nothing wrong with any of this, Life happens. Now you start having your own family. I am not saying you will lose your friend. Your friend just has another role in your life. They use to be the most important person. Now they are just as important, but they share it with others. 
If you have a long life with the same spouse and your children grow up healthy and happy, you will still need your friends. Because life is not perfect and there are going to be days when friends are what will keep you sane.

You guys will figure it out. Try to give each other the space you need. Try and learn that being friends doesn't mean that you have to be tied to each other 24/7. Learn that sometimes being right doesn't mean the other person is wrong.

And there was a saying that was made popular back in the 70's...
"Love means never having to say your Sorry" Well that is bull....even when you love someone with all your heart, If you feel you need to say " I am sorry" Then yes...the other person needs to hear it.

One more thing... Careful what you say in anger, Because that thing about sticks and stones is also not real true... Words between friends and loved ones will make scars that do not easily heal. A broken heart will take much longer to heal than a broken leg. In fact, sometimes those scars never heal.

All of these things I believe are true.  Saying your sorry is important. Never be afraid to make amends. You will not always see eye to eye, but never forget to treat each other with respect. This does sound like a lot of work. Well you know the good things in life usually do take work.  Sometimes it is a great deal of responsibility to take care of a friendship. When life gets busy, it is easier to let your friends go. Not returning calls, missing lunch dates, not remembering birthday cards...This is when your true friend doesn't worry about it. They might call and ask, "Is something wrong? What can I do to help?"  And you know that when the day is over, they will be waiting on the other end of the phone when you do have time to make that call.  Friends are like that you know.

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