2015 or the Year of the Disappearing Friendships

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It’s been a tough year. So many had it worse, I know, and I’ve tried to remember that as I was struggling to pull through, to stay above the surface, or at least not too far from it, so I could push myself up and take a deep breath before it was too late.

It began with funerals. My grandmother’s. She was old, a month shy of a 100, actually, and she had been “dead” for a while, her brain claimed by Alzheimer’s many years prior. Then my late stepfather’s brother. One of his brothers (he came from a very large family of 14 children), but his closest brother, so an uncle really. A man who had been in my life forever. My stepfather came into my life when I was still a toddler. In fact, I can’t remember the time before he was there.

After the funerals came the dying friendships. I tell myself it’s not all bad. Fairweather friends are not friends at all. But still, they occupy a space, a time, a role, however small. When they leave, they remind you of your loneliness, of your need to come out of your shell more. So 2015 has been rough.

On the brighter side of the coin, 2015 has also been the year where I decided to write more, to put some of my work out there and to face rejection (so far, it’s only been rejection), but to not let rejection deter me from writing more, from working at it, from improving myself, from seeking feedback and criticism.

I am concluding the year with that accomplishment in mind, hoping it will help me strive forward and perhaps put more than my writing out there by putting myself out there as well. I’m not a big fan of resolutions because I think we should try to work on ourselves continuously by setting up small but clear objectives and keeping at them no matter what the calendar says. So I will continue to soldier on and maybe try to make a friend or two along the way. The good kind. The kind that actually wants to be my friend.

Happy New Year.

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On friendship (or a broken one in particular)

ImageI think I am a good friend. I mean, I never took one of those online or girly/trashy magazine tests to find out. I never carried out a survey amongst my friends (hmm…). I never flat out asked around, “Hey! So am I a good friend or what?” But I have kept friends for many years, over great and small distances. I keep in touch. I know what’s going on with my friends. I share their happiness when something good happens to them, and I feel their pain or sorrow when life is not treating them so kindly. And I care. Genuinely. When a friend is not doing well, I worry. I think about them. I even seek advice from other friends to figure out the best way to help.

That being said, I still don’t know what to do when a friendship is broken. A broken friendship is not the same as a friendship that has waned. Friendships wane for all sorts of reasons, but usually, there are no hurt feelings, no anger or resentment. You actually keep fond memories and wish them well. Life just has a way of making some people slip in and out of your path.

A broken friendship happens for a bad reason. There is hurt. Some anger. Some sadness. A mix of other emotions.

Of course, arguments are a part of any relationships. We cannot always agree on everything. When a friend sheds a very different light on a situation, it might be hard to swallow on the spot, but if the comments were made in the true spirit of friendship, you will think back on it later on and see some truth to it, even if it might hurt a little to stomach it.

I will admit a big flaw of mine, I am not very good at confronting people. I have trouble putting my emotions into words. With most of my friends, I can do it, but it takes time (on my part) and patience and understanding (on theirs). So when I am faced with a broken frienship (as is the case now, as you probably already guessed) with someone who is very stubborn and not prone to listen to others, I am at a loss as to what I should do. With most of my friends, after a little bit of time, I can find the courage to tell them my feelings were hurt because I know they will take the time to listen before they jump in and explain their point of view. With this particular friend, I cannot seem to find that courage because I’m not sure that person would listen to me.

And so now I am left with the feeling that perhaps this person was never a true friend at all.