This is not knitting related by any stretch of the imagination… unless you consider that I was thinking it while I was knitting yesterday.
You know how they say that you can’t choose your family but you can choose your friends? Those are assuredly some wise words, aren’t they! Before I go any further, I should mention that I wouldn’t trade my family for the world, so this is definitely not about that. ( and I wouldn’t trade my friends for the world either!) It’s about that choice you make with your friends. About that choice you make OF your friends.
Before you can make a good and proper friend… someone that both fulfills and enriches you (and you them), you need to know what it is you want/need out of a friend and what it is that you’re willing and able to provide.
You need to know what boundaries you’re willing to push a little and what boundaries you need to hold on to in order to keep you sane and healthy!
Personally, what I look for in a friend is summed up in one word. Comfortable. You need more words? Okay… Easy… calm… relaxing… supportive… comfortable. Like the perfectly worn in pair of jeans or your favorite yoga pants… (because lets face it, I LOVE me a pair of yoga pants… never done yoga in my life though…). They make you feel good, they’re comfortable and they don’t try and pretend they’re something other than what they are. They are not a formal evening dress. They are not sexy(ual) lingerie. They are not a punk rock, trying too hard, loud patterned crazy outfit covered in diagonal stripes and neon. No. They are not. They are well fitting, warm and comfortable… supportive when you need them. They are perfect.
THIS is what I look for in a friend. Someone who knows who they are, who they want to be and is comfortable in their own skin. Not someone pretending to be comfortable in their own skin. Pretenders generally come across as highly insecure to me. Every once in a while, the pretending isn’t strong enough and the ‘real’ person comes out. It’s usually at that point that I turn and run in the other direction. Because in my world, you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to be real. Honest. Comfortable. You can be someone with low self esteem, or someone who doesn’t really have a distinct direction. You can be in emotional turmoil, or going through a huge bout of depression. You can have good days and bad days and terrible days. We all have them. All I need to know is that you’re honest and real and fair about who you actually are.
So what happens when you find a pretender in your circle? Well, no person is exactly like the one sitting beside them, so maybe that person fesses up to the pretending and starts to become real. That’s someone that has the basic concept of ‘real’ and knows that while it’s also work to be true to who you are, it’s much more rewarding than pretending to be someone you’re not. What most often happens is the pretender is caught in a pretending moment (I’d hate to call it a lie) and they spend a little more time pretending in order to cover it up… If you’re committed to yourself and your boundaries and you have a well defined sense of what you want and need out of a friendship (obviously a balanced one, where you’re also held to the fire), then you can make an honest decision about the toxicity of all that pretending.
And that’s where the choice of your friends comes in. Obviously we all make immediate choices about people. We like them or we don’t. We find them funny or we don’t. We want to explore a relationship with them or not. The real choice… the choice that we make as a well adjusted adult is whether we continue to choose them or not. And don’t get me wrong. If your ‘friend’ continually calls you up and asks you to do something and you say yes when you want to say no, then that’s a choice.
And believe me, it’s hard to start believing that the playground mentality of ‘you like him more than me’ is okay! It is! It’s okay to choose your friends. And it’s okay to choose who you do NOT want to be friends with.
Maybe this is all random and cryptic and a mish-mash of nonsense that doesn’t make any sense at all… But the over-reaching question that you should ask yourself is:
Are there people that I have in my life right now that I’ve chosen by not making a choice? Would I prefer that they weren’t so deeply embedded in my life? Would I be happier if I never went for another dinner with this person? Would I really be happier on my own sofa BY MYSELF than out somewhere with this person?
It’s okay to answer yes to any of those questions. And it’s okay to do something about it once you realize! Really, it is!