“I don’t know what happened. She said she wanted to hang out, and she was going to come over yesterday, but I never heard from her.”
We all know this feeling. We’ve either done it to someone else or had it done to us, (or both).
Every set of eyes reading this blog post has probably, at some time or another, misappropriated a relational decision. I certainly have. I’ll be the first one in line to admit I have ended friendships over things that maybe could have been worked out, but I just didn’t feel like doing the work, or I felt and knew they were really toxic for me (right decision), but I didn’t walk away the way I should have (wrong decision).
Let’s face it – we’re all human and we all make bad decisions when it comes to our women friends at times. I really wish we could stop being so harsh on each other.
The fact of the matter is – it’s more difficult to make quality friends the older you get. Unless you’re jet-setting off to do book signings every week or a social butterfly, your circle more than likely consists of this:
- A friend or two from high school you really trust (if that)
- A friend or two from college you managed to hold on to as your lives changed (if that)
- Your Mother or parents (if you’re so blessed); and
- A friend from work you can semi-talk to (not about anything too personal)
I want to get real real with this post too and say to those women who bully or manipulate others into thinking they have it all together and have 5,000 friends on Facebook – we see you, and you’re not fooling us. We have Facebook & social media accounts too, and we know what the statistics say – that at least half of those so-called “friends” would not be there for you crying in the middle of the night, want to hear your shame story, or could even come close to carrying the weight of what you have to share – what comes with your true, authentic story. Actually, maybe just one or two would.
Honestly, for me, if I may be so vulnerable & honest – I have ended many friendships for feelings like this. Feeling competed with or against, judged, or I simply got drained from giving 110% and feeling a drought in the return.
Really, I’m noticing with many women that any or all of a combination of any of these is about all they have, and that it can create many scenarios, like:
- increased loneliness
- unrealistic expectations of the one or two who carry the most weight in your mind
- unrealistic expectations of yourself (to do, go, be, and perform your friendly duties with excellence & perfection)
- feelings of jealousy (because there isn’t as much diversity in your repertoire of friends, so you’re constantly comparing or looking at only one or two), or
- resentment (that she doesn’t spend near as much time with you as you’d like OR she has way more friends than you)
The truth of the matter? We need connection and we need empathy to survive the world we live in – in real life.
Let’s take a look at 6 types of friends we really don’t want, then we’ll review after. This video is really concerning sharing a shame story, but these types of friends exist in many other types of story-sharing too. I’ve never heard this put this way before, and I’d like to share it with you…
Here’s the 6 types, in case you missed them.
- The friend who gasps in horror at how ashamed you should be – then there’s awkward silence.
- The friend who responds with sympathy instead of empathy. “Oh you poor thing” or “bless your heart.”
- The friend who needs you to be the pillar of worthiness and authenticity, but she can’t help because she’s too disappointed – you’ve let her down.
- The friend who’s so uncomfortable with vulnerability, she scolds “how could you let this happen?”
- The friend who’s all about making it better, and, out of her own discomfort, refuses to acknowledge that you can actually be crazy & make terrible choices. “You’re exaggerating – it wasn’t that bad.”
- The friend who confuses connection with the opportunity to one-up you. “That’s nothing, listen to what happen to me!”
I believe when Brene talks about what we’re really looking for, she hit the nail on the head. We most need, want, & desire empathy. “Okay, you did it – let’s do this thing – what’s next? What do you need from me? How can I help? What are you feeling – I’m here, let’s work through it.”
She called them “move the body” friends.
And, I actually agree on the not having more than one or two of these people in our lives being the most healthy, but as in all things we learn here, this is up to your discretion. Like usual, this is more of an awareness exercise and call to action. Evaluate those you call “friend” and why. Furthermore, evaluate if you are by any chance guilty of being one of these 6 types of people (keeping in mind we are all capable of being any or all of these).
I used to think that having two or three really close people in my life was detrimental, but the older I get, the more I realize that really is all I need. Brene & Oprah talked about this being “the lottery”, so I feel blessed to have 3 people I can put in this category – empathetic, loving, accepting always, great listeners, and most of all – human. Fully present & fully supportive.
I’d like to ask you a question this week, in lieu of this post. What is the #1 struggle you either a) have or b) see in yourself or women around you with regard to friendship? In your opinion, what’s keeping us from deeper connection?
I look forward to your thoughts & opinions below. Thank you for reading & contributing,