Monday, February 23, 2015

Friends



When I was about 20 I took time off from friendships. I had a few older friendships that I maintained and nurtured, but overall I had very little in the way of friends. The choice was calculated. For years I had gotten into weird friendships where I felt taken advantage of or that were deeply disappointing in one way or another. We moved from New Mexico to Montana and I decided to take some time to really figure out what I expected from a friend and what I wanted to give as a friend.

For nearly two years I made no new friends. That's not to say I wasn't friendly. Eric and I were involved in our town, I chatted with colleagues, was friendly with acquaintances, but that was where I left it for some time. Eventually I organized my thoughts and expectations. I felt like I was ready to pursue friendships. 

 I knew what I wanted from a friendship:
•I wanted friends who were smart, interesting, funny.
•I wanted friends who were independent and honest. 
•I wanted friends who were thoughtful and kind.

I also knew what I didn't want from a friendship:
•I didn't want someone who had loads of problems that they wanted me to fix. Look we all have problems, and friends should be able to vent and support, not fix.
• I didn't want friends who took advantage of my kindness. 
• I didn't want friends who had no self-confidence.

Once I identified those things and trusted myself to stick to my rules (I had/have a tendency to allow my sympathy overrun my better judgment) I knew that anyone who didn't meet that criteria would not be a friend. So I began to pursue potential friendships. Over time, by following those guidelines, I began to make some really amazing connections with friends. 

Since I set those parameters for myself I haven't rid myself of people who try and take advantage of me, but I am more able to identify people as friend or someone who just needs/wants compassion. I can give that compassion more freely when I don't confuse those people for friends. It has also given me a ton of confidence to stand up for myself.

Now I have a really amazing group of friends. All of these people in my life are really special gems that I have found, by following that set of rules for myself all of those years ago. 



4 comments:

Melodee said...

I really like the new painting.

Maria Rose said...

Thanks Melodee!

Emily said...

Your friendship is a treasure! Even from several states away. :)

Sarah Purdy said...

I went through something similar, too, in my 20's. Thanks for picking me, friend!

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