26 January 2012

The Care and Keeping of Friends

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"Keep your friendships in repair."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

I've had a lot of disappointment in my life. A lot of it has been my own wrong doing. And just recently have I realized that it really is me.

I know, those are harsh words for a beginning of a post, but I'm realizing brutal honesty is always the best policy...

My newest revelation! I'm not a good friend. I'm going to let that sink in for a minute. You are probably thinking, wow, this girl is crazy!?! Um, probably. (heehee)

Let me expand. In the past, I've gone on rants of how I feel mistreated and abandoned, and that people just don't know how to treat me right. And, then, it hit me! If it keeps happening over and over again, maybe I am really part of the problem.

How can I complain about how other people treat me when I'm hit-or-missing the ball. Here are my self realizations:

1. I complain that people never call me and that people are always forgetting or changing their plans with me. I DO THE SAME THING! If I don't feel like hanging out, I will cancel. Period. A lot of times I just don't give a (you know what). I really don't. It's not that I don't care about that other person, but I just don't feel like taking time out of my day to make time for them (wow, honesty is hard). And, I'm not one to call people. I do occasionally, but that's when I seem to get hurt.

2. I get too excited when people ask to hang out, and then become very upset when said people cancel the plans. Because I do live at home, and I don't have a car, and right now I'm not enjoying life to it's fullest (friends, job, etc.) I do get overly excited when someone I haven't heard from in awhile or who has previously put me under the bus asks to hang out. But, I betcha people feel the same way when I've done the same thing to them!

3. I would rather not call anyone and feel sorry for myself then put myself out there and get my feelings hurt. That is somehow completely backwards! How does that even work? So, there's a fifty-fifty chance the other person will say no, but there's that other half where they say yes. So, feeling sorry for myself all the time is going to make a difference?? Wow, I have some messed up psyche!

4. I dwell on the negative. Enough said.

10 Things I Can Do To Change That:

1. Truly forgive the people who have hurt me, intentionally and unintentionally. There's no need to go up to that person and say, "I forgive you for that one time you blew me off." Just move on. Carrying around bitterness isn't fun, or healthy.

2. Don't give up. Don't give up to try and reaching that one out of touch friend. Only throw in the towel, when you feel like you've done everything.

3. Don't flake out. Simple as that. If you do have to change plans, make sure you've already set new ones. No one wants a flaky friend!

4. Remember birthdays! I'm horrible at this one. Every year I say, I will remember birthdays and try and send them something special in the mail. If I'm bad at sending mail period, what will make me send cards? (Another post on this one later)

5. Be more intentional about calling or texting. If I say I'm going to do it, just do it!

6. Plan events. Have a game night at a local coffee shop. Plan a movie outing. Laser quest anyone?

7. When a friend is going through something, truly be there for them. Make them a break up kit, help them bake those 10 thousand cookies, give them a literal shoulder to cry on, etc.

8. Find hobbies that correlate with your friends. Start reading a book together, running together, making food together, have pinterest parties!

9.  Even if a friend is awful to you (then they probably aren't a friend in the first place), don't talk about them. It's not fair to them, and it's not fair to your integrity. I know I've done this before, but, it doesn't get me anywhere.

10. Send words of encouragement. Emails, letters, texts, yes even Facebook posts or messages.

That's it. None of these caused any harm or damage. What are some other things you can do to preserve and cultivate friendships! I'd love to hear from you!

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