Making Friends: Do What Feels “Right” For You

Posted Thursday, June 3rd, 2010. Filed Under Voices of wisdom

This topic came out of an incident that a close friend of mine had with his son and some of his “friends”. When I think of friendship and my friends, the one thing I know for sure is that they accept and love me for who I am and most importantly they have my back.

I spent a lot of time over the last two years teaching my sons how to discern friends; the characteristics that you want to see in a friend as opposed to just anybody. For some though they are not shown or taught this – actually quite the contrary. Some people are out for themselves only and will do anything they can to be accepted, be part of the popular group (in their eyes) and more. This is true for our kids as well as ourselves.

A close girl friend told me how an elite social group ostracized this woman once her and her husband split up. Where she was once invited to join a table for a fundraiser, these women now turned their backs and noses to her. They were clearly not her friends.

At a very young age most kids are inclusive and then as you grow and have certain interests you may start to hang out with certain people. In the middle years of primary school – age 10-12 years – even more so, you fall into groups. I have had to teach my boys, especially my older one, that if you are not feeling included in a group then you have a choice to go along with their rules and so forth or find friends that you want to hang out with and do what you are doing. I encourage my boys to have friends in many different areas – sports, arts (guitar/drums/acting/computers), video games etc. This allows for diversity and depending on their mood is where they want to spend their time.

Getting back to this incident that I was telling you about, I want to talk about it in a learning way. This boy was being silly and foolish and one of the boys at the time just shrugged it off and probably thought- “hey man this isn’t cool but you are still my friend just don’t do it again”. Another “friend”, a close friend, went back to school and shared it with these other guys – some who do not like this boy and this small incident grew.

I have to say that the father of this boy dealt with it really well and talked to his son about what he did, his choices, the consequences, and how he can handle the “bully boys” at school and most importantly his “friend”.

When he and I talked about it we both agreed a friend has your back ALL THE TIME. They do not bring you down to bring themselves up, they are positive not critical, and they do accept you for who you are. They can also tell you that you are being an idiot (in a nice way or not!!), that you do not agree with their opinion – agree to disagree, and be there to listen at times and not give advice. A friendship is about giving and receiving. It is important that both happens. If it is only one way then it really is not a friendship.

In the title I said “Do What Feels “Right” For You” because as with every relationship – with yourself, with others, with your partner, with your finances, with your health and wellness – when you follow your gut and heart you will know. Sit down and ask yourself – do I really need to be part of this group? Are they really my friends? Do they have my back or are they talking behind it all the time? If you can smile and say, yes this group of friends, or this friend in particular, makes me feel good about myself and she/he really cares, then continue and build that relationship. Friends to me, as you read in the last blog, are my lifeline in so many ways. If a person is not making you feel good, sucks the life out of you, then decide if you really want to be friends with them.

It took me a long time to let this one friendship go for it was a “history” friendship but this woman never made me feel good about myself or the friendship itself. I remember when I was in University that she was supposed to be my best friend and she came up to visit she didn’t call me. I was devastated. I also wasn’t as mature as I am now, so we had it out and I did not talk to her for 6 months. This is how our friendship went for years, even decades. As I grew and learned to love and honour myself, I became very selective of whom I wanted to spend time with: she was not one of them. Today if I see her I will smile and give her a kiss for old times sake, however in my heart I know that we are really no more than acquaintances.

Learning this from a young age will help you to surround yourself with loving, caring people. I happen to like people, however lately I am really selective who I hang out with. Really you only need a few close friends and the rest can be the “others” – like to do certain things that you like: reading club, golf, tennis, working out, spinning, and so on.
Make the choice that feels right for you!

Enjoy your weekend.

All my love,

Sandra

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