The true meaning of friendship

The other day I left a comment on Snippets of Snapdragon’s blog. She said something about not having a lot of friends, which is interesting but not uncommon to read here in our personal blogs.

This is how I reacted:

I struggle with friendships. It’s a deep learning curve to understand this type of relationship in a cognitive, intuitive sort of way. Friendships that are platonic, emotional, connected on multiple levels, trustworthy, authentic, reliable, understanding, compassionate, empathetic. And, most importantly, unconditional. Do they exist? And if they do, do they last?

This is a rhetorical question.

I discovered over the years that the definition of friendship is fluid and personal. Subjective.

And this:

I have loved and lost friends for 20+ years. It’s difficult not to take it personally sometimes… But, as I’m developing my intuitive sense and learning that I am okay – more than okay – with a solo life, I discovered valuable lessons about all sorts of relationships.

Here are some thoughts:

Give and you shall receive

We’ve all heard that what you give you receive. But we’re all experienced enough to meet this statement with a healthy dose of skepticism. Not all acts of friendship, or love for that matter, are returned.

So what?

When you act honestly, authentically toward someone and they walk away anyway, it says something about them, not you.

I still think about my friends I no longer have contact with, all the way back to my flight attendant days. I have questions about all of them, from 20+ years ago to the most recent past.

  • Why did she invite me to her wedding and later to her business launch but not once responded to emails or phone calls?
  • Why did another friend who considered me her closest, best friend for 6+ years, with whom I worked with at two different places, drop me like a hot potato the minute she got married? She met my first child, but I never met any of hers…
  • Why do some of my present girlfriends always wait for me to contact them? Why isn’t our friendship a two-way street?
  • Why would someone walk away when there is a misunderstanding or difference of opinion especially when the “I won’t judge you, don’t judge me” mentality was alive an well for the duration of the friendship?

I wonder about these and similar circumstances but don’t dwell on them. I’m always willing to be available to listen, to invite dialogue, to forgive and move on, but it takes two to tango.

Alas, sometimes I am left to dance alone.

Online relationships

I do have a tribe of online friends, male and female, with whom I share a consistent friendship. In some cases, our incessant chatting has lasted for years. πŸ˜€ They check in with me about as much as I check in with them. Some of them have dropped off, which I see as a natural, cyclical event and feels like growing apart, others pop up after a lengthy absence and we manage to pick up right where we left off.

I cherish those friendships, especially because when it’s online, words are used to cement the connection, and we all know how I feel about words. πŸ˜‰

Standing the test of time

I’m aware that I am uniquely talented with picking up where we left off. I’ve been told this by numerous people, even by those who take advantage of me in that capacity. They drop off for reasons that usually has something to do with being busy. (?) Inevitably, they pick up contact whenever they feel like it knowing I’ll be there to welcome them back.

In some cases, I do welcome them back. It’s how I’m wired. (Note: in some cases does not mean everyone; I’m not a doormat, I understand how boundaries work.)

For others… it’s hit and miss. I broke up with a long term co-worker-friend from decades ago last year which launched her to pick up communications again. I listened to her story, accepted her apology and her intentions of nurturing what used to be a beautiful friendship, and we have some plans to meet soon to reconnect in the physical realm.

This says something about my character. It also says something about our connection. Friendships can go through ebbs and flows just like any other relationship does.

What it comes down to is this:

As a Libra

βš–οΈ

I am interested in equilibrium and harmony.

I have learned, over the years, that some friendships stand the test of time, no matter the history. I will reach out my hand or open my arms if I feel the intentions are authentic.

Does this make me a doormat? I don’t think so.

Fluid connections

I’m also learning that all relationships evolve and transform but never in linear fashion. Feelings and emotions are fluid and take on the form of whatever they’re encasing.

The internet has changed the definition of friendship.

Like our own life journey, there are twists and turns, obstacles and barriers we must overcome in the name of evolving a connection in friendship. We must adapt to maintain; if we can’t or are unwilling, then a piece of the puzzle remains forever missing, and an important friendship may be lost forever.

The question is, can you accept that an interruption may be permanent?

For me, it depends on the circumstances and the history. Sometimes, friendships served a purpose at a specific time in your life and then ceased to serve that purpose and you both move on. I look back fondly at those people, many of whom I traveled with as a flight attendant, and I have no regrets that we no longer talk.

Navigation

I once considered purchasing a compass for certain friends who seemed a little lost. A compass, with its navigational directions, will help you stay the course. Theoretically.

But not all friends will recognize the implications of such a timely device.

Some people shut the door on the past and refuse to entertain the idea that a re-visit might ignite a new perspective on historical events. There is one woman who explained in her blog how she re-ignited a connection with someone from several years ago. Apparently, both are willing to give each other a chance to develop a new relationship. Will history repeat itself, or will they have learned from past mistakes? If she continues to blog about this, I will find out. πŸ˜‰

Onward

In the end, the way you define your friendships and relationships is deeply personal. People meet friends and foster new connections all the time, yet as we get older (and hopefully wiser) we seem much more intuitive about things which mattered less in youth. People have lists, hopes and dreams and a desire to meet someone with whom they can share life experiences, laugh (and cry) and have fun.

My advice, to myself and you, is to remain open-minded.

Because no matter how you look at it, friendship is a gift. 🎁

13 thoughts on “The true meaning of friendship

  1. I don’t really know how to say you this but I’m facing the exact same thing right now.. I m giving so much more than I can but not receiving any. And like you I too have a lot of questions to ask, but I know its of no use because you will never get the answer, the correct reasons. All you will receive is a bunch of excuses and even worst, accusations. I’m much younger than you but seeing that you still face these I feel really scared. I cant really tell you what you should do, its not my place to do so. But I can suggest you respectfully that its a thing to be grateful about that we have the proper senses given by divine powers to understand and analyze such situations. There are still so many who are just living under the illusion of a so-called good friendship they are in. Moving on is the best. I totally relate to you and let me tell you, givers are the best. More support to you. I’m a already a fan of you. And we are so much worthy of everything we deserve. Sorry if I over said anything or if you felt anything to be inappropriate. Thank you. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post – I have been thinking about friendship quite a bit myself. I think as we age, it is harder to gain new friends to hang out with.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post Claudette! This is something I think about also. I am the type of friend that doesn’t really get in touch with anyone anymore, unless I know someone needs me, then I am there 100%. I have been disappointed by friends so often, at this point, my online friends are closer and more important to me that most of my IRL friends.
    It seems that real friendships are as elusive as romantic relationships.
    Blessings to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. And this post is a gift too. What an interesting reflection on all the questions that come with friendship and the flow of life. Grateful to have become online friends with you, Claudette! You are generous and lovely in so many ways!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve had so many friendships come and go over all my life and I’ve been on both sides of the give and/or take part of relationships. I think sometimes, in specific situations I knew that a friendship wasn’t one to last- those types where you are sort of thrust into establishing something that really wasn’t the best idea. Others have happened with people I was very close to. I think sometimes I don’t work hard enough at friendships, or hard enough to mend one that seems broken. On the flip side, I’ve had blogging relationships for years- people I feel closer to than IRL friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Friendship IS a gift! I absolutely agree.
    During the drama of my disability and the final ending of my marriage I was such a mess and would’ve lived to have had a friend, but being a narcissist, my ex had completely isolated me. Plus my disability made, and continues to make me completely unreliable.

    I have a small group of online friends, but no one I actually see in person. There is one person I may get together with for coffee in the next month or so, if the stars and planets align πŸ™„πŸ€¦πŸΌβ€β™€οΈπŸ€ͺ

    I’m unreliable. I DO cherish my online friends though. They bring me so much joy, and it’s awesome to have people who just “get” you.

    πŸ’ŒπŸ’Œ

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I’ve never had a big stable of friends because, as a military brat, we moved every few years and it was hard to establish longstanding connections with anybody. But I’ve more than made up for that with online friendships, which to me are as real as any others.

    Liked by 2 people

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