Slow and Steady

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Turn Around-Friendship

“Truly great friends are hard to find, 

difficult to leave, and impossible to forget.”

Wednesday Hump Day sounds funny, but like an out and back run it marks the turn around to the work week. For me this is a very special week as tomorrow and Friday are going to be a great change of pace. I was nominated by my employer to participate in an Intergovernmental Management Training opportunity. I am not sure I have said too much about where I work, but I will say that I am a federal employee. This training opportunity will bring together a variety of levels of government: city, county, state and federal. It is designed for management level employees with a minimum of 3 years mgmt experience, but no more than 10. I am very excited about this, but because it is a 2-day retreat style training my husband is fairly sure trust falls are going to be involved. What is even better is that this 2-day training will be repeated 5 more times between now and June 2011. So what does this have to do with friendship? Well not much except I will probably be making new friends. 

Actually, I am starting with this because while I do not like to talk about what I do specifically, I can say that leadership is one of my passions as is ethics, cultural-ethnic studies and fun topics like friendship. This blog started out as a way to talk about my way back into fitness and all the things I wish i could or would do were I not such an ambitious slacker. Well writing is one of my "wish I was good at it" things, and blogging fulfills that wish for me a little. So instead of strictly fitness, running, triathlon and the like, I would like to randomly plug in a few discussions about other things. Please keep your eyes peeled next week as I reflect on the IGMT retreat session and the concept of leadership. Today, I am going to talk just a bit about friendship.

While dropping The Bug off with the sitter, I sat and had a chat with B about friendship. We talked about the value of our friends and the concessions we make to keep friends that fill specific needs. We put up with quirks and some times meanness to get what? Companionship, girl time, someone who will be excited for us or with us during exciting times in our lives, cry with us when we need to let it out and bitch with us when we're pissed off. There are friends who float in and out of our lives, some who leave us forever and those that will never leave us no matter how far away they may go.

I am guilty of having quirks. I am guilty of not sending birthday cards or making regular phones calls. I love to hang out on occasion to have a hot chocolate and gab, but I don't think I could survive super girly hanging out time several times a week (unless we're running and talking, then I am game). I am just not that kind of super social let's talk every night kind of friend. Yes you can say that I don't put in the effort, but I am a low maintenance person and can't stand high maintenance friendships. I have lots of good friend qualities myself. I am loyal, extremely trust worthy, rational and dependable. I am also consistent, caring, compassionate and understanding. I am brave and will try just about anything and am good for last minute invitations which works nicely to my spontaneous friends. If my closest friends need me, I am a reliable resource to tap into. While I hate high maintenance friendships, I tend to cater to the needy person style. I don't have many of those friends, but the ones I do have can be exhausting, but again I weigh what I get from the friendship with the effort is takes to maintain the friendship. It just turns out to be worth it sometimes. The downside is I can be a good friend to a fault. When is dealing with the bad, the quirks or the neediness too much? I have literally stayed in friendships where it was obvious I was completely being taken advantage of or not valued, for example:

  • Stood up or left waiting for someone running a hour late with no phone call or heads up
  • Had mean comments made to me or about me because the other person was feeling hurt or slighted
  • Judged for my friendship style, apparently not hanging out every single time I am invited to something makes it seem like I am rejecting others
  • Having other friends or groups that I participate in without integrating all people from all areas of my social life
  • Being put down for my successes or ignored instead of high five'd
I think the worst thing is not being able to talk about things that are happy and keeping up good positive energy because some friends no matter how much they have in life continue to focus on the negative. And like the old saying goes, misery loves company.

This sounds like a ranting of the bad I know, but having this conversation with B this morning really helped me have a great day. First instead of rushing through baby drop off, it was nice to slow down and have a conversation. It then set the pace for a day of reflection of the friends I have and have had in my life. So yes I may be guarded, there are things about my life and history that only few know the details about, but I think that is ok. I think we all need friends in varying degrees. For most things I am an open book, but it takes a special someone to earn my full trust and I can count those people on one hand. So if I am one of those people for you, thank you for entrusting in me your friendship. If you are one of those people for me, thank you for being part of my life. If I have fallen into a category of people who have at one time or another either taken advantage of you or not valued you enough, I am sorry.
What sets you apart as a friend?
Thankful Three
  1. For my sitter B, thank you for your friendship and all that you do to help my Bug have the most loving and encouraging environment to grow and be the happy girl that she is
  2. For good friends especially Super Hubby your still my #1
  3. For blogland, this medium has been such a wonderful outlet for me


Christi said...

I completely understand where you are coming from in this post. I have a small set of friends and I keep them close to me. But the good thing about our relationships is that we don't have to be there all the time. We can go a couple of weeks without chatting and come back and be right where we were. No expectations just knowledge that even if we don't see each other all the time the love is still there. I love it!

Shannon said...

I'm the same exact way. I don't like doing the whole girly thing. I'm okay with talking through email or IM, but I hate phone calls - so I don't call friends unless it's something important. I also don't see the need to have meet ups every week or that often. I know, it sounds horrible, but I'm just not high maintenance - I'm very low key and don't like to have to "work" to keep friendships!

Becky said...

This post resonates with me. I have friends who fulfill different needs, and the few who I trust to know the most about me aren't even close by. But even though we don't talk every day, or even every month, we know that we're still maintaining that close, trusting friendship. I don't know why that is, but I couldn't do without it.