another installment of "the gospel of friendship"…according to me

This post is sponsored by my recent reflection on just how much I am missing/going to miss my Utah friends since, by the end of the summer, they will have all left me for cities east of the Rockies.

Once upon a time, people would have classified me as “nice”. I was actually kind of a pushover. I remember many times doing whatever I could to make people like me. In fact, that lasted right through high school. I had so many insecurities all the time. My main concern was my social life and how to get people to like me. This is probably also why I never dated…but that’s an entire post of its own.

Sad, but true. And even though I had a great group of friends in high school, I never quite felt like I fit in. I was always trying way too hard. In fact, I would venture to say the same for most of my college life. I found the friends I wanted and tried to make myself one of them. The ironic thing is, I think had I just figured out who I was and been myself, I probably would have had the same friends, it just would have been a lot easier.

And the I grew up (about three years ago…some of us mature at a slower rate than others).

It’s not that I don’t care what people think about me anymore. I do. Or, I should say, I care about what the people I care about think. Did you follow that? But it’s not about whether they like me as much as it is whether I’m a good person.

One of my favorite things about who I am today is that I am okay with people not liking me…as long as it’s based in reality. Not everyone is going to like me. And I am not going to like everyone. And do you know something? There’s nothing wrong with that.

Yes, I’m sometimes too honest with people, but I don’t intend to be mean. So, if someone wants a friend who is going to always say exactly what he or she wants to hear, I’m not your girl. I’m not going to rip a hole in you on a daily basis, but if I think you are being immature and you ask for my opinion (ask being the operative word) I’m going to give it to you…okay, and sometimes when you don’t ask. The same thing goes if I think you are being irrational, rude, mean, caddy, selfish, stubborn, or obnoxious. And I expect the same thing from my friends. I am also going to tell you when I think you are being too hard on yourself, you are doing a great job, you look great (I don’t generally say the opposite of this one, but I don’t lie, either), or I admire something you’ve done. And you will always know that I am being sincere. And I’m not going to agree with you just because we’re friends.

What I’ve discovered is that my friends are kind of self-selecting. Those of us who appreciate “hard truth” and can handle disagreements that don’t resolve (not arguments, but literally having differing opinions) tend to find each other and we can stick together because there is a certain level of trust and understanding. One of my favorite things is when a friend tells me something that I know is hard for them because they know it will hurt me, but they do it anyway because they know that it will help me (this is very different than saying something hurtful that is totally unnecessary). If you can’t be honest with your friends, what’s the point?

Now to my point…if you are always living in fear that you are being left out or that this person doesn’t like you as much as she likes this person, you are wasting a lot of time and energy (and are probably being treated like a doormat). Just figure out who you are and be genuine and you will find the right friends for you. I don’t think everyone should be or needs to be like me, but I know that my close friends will be like me (to an extent…although I’m glad not everyone is quite as blunt as I am).

And if you feel like you are having to make too much effort (some effort is always necessary in friendship) to get someone to like you, you probably are and they probably won’t, so let it go. It’s much easier to figure out who you are and find friends that fit, than it is to find friends and try to make you fit.

Lastly, I’ve discovered (yes, because no one else has ever written about this before) that generally, the people you like also like you. And the ones you don’t like, generally don’t like you either. Weird, I know. So why is it so hard for people to be okay with that?

10 thoughts on “another installment of "the gospel of friendship"…according to me

  1. I am totally with you. I don’t understand the fake stuff. I am a call it as I see it girl, not at the expense of people’s feelings, but I think its important to address the elephant in the room, ywim?

  2. ek – thanks…although sometimes I feel pretty full of myself.Hannah – I’m glad that we have become running buddies!Alison – my friends are all moving to Brooklyn. You would like them, I think.Joanna – I’m glad that the sincerity comes through, and not just the bratty-ness.k – good luck. The only thing that’s making this doable for me is that I have grad school to worry about.nat – you should move to Utah…but for now, I’m glad we’re blogging running buddies.Lucy – You are always nice, but you manage to be honest at the same time. And I so appreciate that you will share your thoughts, even if it’s not what everyone else is saying, and that you do it so graciously!k8 – I can give you a list.

  3. I can’t claim to be anything like this, because I have a hard time being anything less than nice, even when falsely nice, which I can see as a fault, but I can’t see me switching teams. Bluntness most often interprets into meanness in my book, which isn’t fair, but only my perception.I can’t believe you’re going to be gone for so long. I know I knew this, but I forgot…and now I’m sad.

  4. “I’m not going to agree with you just because we’re friends.”I think we are cut from the say cloth. Love this post.

  5. i consider myself to be a tough love friend – i’ll tell it to you like it is, but only cuz i love you!my two best friends are moving to boston in september, and as it stands now my boyfriend is also moving back to boston in august. so lets just say that i am going to freak out come the end of summer. it sucks!

  6. the 3 years that i’ve known you, i’ve always appreciated your sincerity. that’s a rare, yet entirely desirable, quality to have 🙂

  7. I want to copy this whole thing and post it myself. I have been thinking along these same lines, but my brain hasn’t been quiet enough to get it out. I see friendships in a very similar light- and can be that harsh friend at times too, but all in love!I am sad you are leaving for the summer- but unlike your cool friends moving, I will be here when you get back! And then hopefully we can actually run together…or at least race in August.

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