If you’ve been with me for a few years, you know I’m in good company on Thursdays. Check out this fantastic group of ladies, giving insight on various topics. After reading my post, click on:
Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.
Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.
Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World
Shortly after moving to Arizona, I met a woman in the school supply section at the Target closest to my neighborhood. She was searching for multi-colored file folders, like me. We discovered that our children were both entering the same grade. We also found out we were neighbors, practically.
We talked for a while. I found out she’s vegan. She wouldn’t be caught dead shopping anywhere other than a Whole Foods or Sprouts. (she eats nothing but organic, and her children do, too) When I mentioned the tough time I had searching for a preschool for my youngest son, she recommended a place that she felt wasn’t “too expensive”, at $350/month. She also filled me in on the gossip and drama going on in my neighborhood.
She was pleasant. Friendly. Part of the mom crowd at the school. Our kids are even in the same class! Only, I wasn’t feeling it. I knew when we said our goodbye’s at Target, it would be a goodbye for good.
I’ve been struggling a ton within my friendships. I let go of a few. A few have let me go, too. It’s been a rocky, painful year. I’ve felt this huge shift in my life, and the move to Arizona only opened the gap wider. For the first time in a long time, I feel lonely. A little lost. It’s been a huge transition, more than I could have ever imagined.
I didn’t feel a connection with the Target lady. It wasn’t her all-inclusive organic ways or that she’s vegan. Or that her price point is a little higher than mine. I don’t mind our differences. What bothered me was the gossip and drama surrounding Target lady. She reminded me of some of the behaviors I chose to distance myself from when I moved to Arizona. I knew by joining forces with Target lady, I’d fall right back into that type of friendship. The kind where you’re always questioning someone’s loyalty. If they can so easily speak such harsh words about someone else behind their back, what are they saying about you when you’re not around?
The Sara from her younger years wouldn’t have cared. I was never discriminatory. I didn’t have any set standards for what I was looking for in a friend, because I never related friendships to actual relationships. Relationships take work, like dating someone, having a boyfriend. Friendships just happen and everything falls into place, right?
With age comes wisdom. I’m more guarded now. Choosier. I have certain criteria, conditions if you will, which led me to the blog topic for this week: Is there anything in your life you’d consider to be conditional?
I want to invest in healthy relationships with people. It doesn’t mean the person has to be “normal” (not that anyone has a real gauge for what normal is, anyway) or have a personality just like mine. That would be boring. Being healthy means our friendship isn’t a toxic one. That neither of us feel stifled. We’re not continually disrespecting one another. That we can communicate honestly. We don’t use manipulation or passive-aggressive behaviors to win some invisible battle. We don’t create massive amounts of drama. Where neither of us feel like door mats.
While I’m looking for these conditions in a friendship, I’m also trying to practice what I preach by continually working on cultivating those conditions within the friendships I have. I mean, let’s face it. I’m far from perfect, and haven’t always been a good friend, either. In finding out what I need in my own friendships, it’s helped me to work on being a better friend to others, too.
In a way, I feel as though I’m friend dating! Meeting new people, seeing if we’re a good fit for one another. I’m a self-professed people collector, so that’s no surprise to me. I’ve always held my friendships in high regard, like family. Never wanting to let anyone go. But now I’m tightening the belt straps a little. I don’t need to have a plethora of friendships in my life. What I need is to surround myself with healthy friendships, even if that means my quota dwindles. It’s not about the number of friends you have, it’s the quality of life they bring to the table, and what you bring to theirs.