I’ve been on this topic for quite some time now and trust me it hasn’t been easy to digest and step out of the box to analyze it like a Nancy Drew case. Growing up, I never understood why girls would gossip, throw tantrums and end their friendships with their BFF’s. Thank God for being a tomboy, I tried my hardest to stay away from the drama and simply hung out with the boys and talked about sports or any other topic that wouldn’t threaten our ‘bond’.
Over the years, I’ve come across many people. Many who I’ve had a ‘moment’, a ‘laugh’, a ‘relationship’ of some sort, a ‘connection’ on life – faith – religion – sports – near death experience –culture – and even substance abuse; with some others it’s been a simple ‘smile’, an ‘exchange of words’ – art – poetry -music – and even ‘love’. But, what is it that really builds a friendship? Have you ever asked yourself, what really makes you continue having ‘that’ person in your life? Maybe it’s a combination of everything, or all of the above. But the main question is, do all of these ‘things’ that make up that ‘bond’ or ‘friendship’ give you the right of ownership over the other person? In other words, does it give you the right to limit, question and even threatened the other person to adhere to the friendship rules, if they do something that makes you upset? Then again, I didn’t know we were supposed to have and Orientation Meeting before starting a friendship.
It’s true, relationships of any kind: love, friendships, emotional and sexual are not easy to maintain. Having either relationship is like doing an oil change on your car every 3 months, (depends how much you drive it of course). In order for that car to continue running smoothly, you must… not if you want, but must do the oil change, if not adhere to the consequences or start looking to buy a new car. Now, with people, I guess you have to evaluate the friendship and see if the investment that you’ve made or put into that ‘bond’, is worth doing another oil change. But let’s face it, how many times haven’t you gotten into arguments with your beastie, or maybe they’ve hurt your feelings and even you’ve hurt them? It’s going to happen at some point, we aren’t perfect, we are human and at some point we are going to be on either side of the coin.
In the last 10 years I’ve seen tantrums from different friends, even snapshots of the “Heathers” or “Jawbreakers” scenes. I know, it may sound like I’m exaggerating but some of these circle of friends have felt like a cult of some sort. It’s a bit awkward when you finally realize you fallen into the same trends and say “You can’t sit with us”. It’s even more awkward and quite pathetic when you hear the people you’ve grown to love give you an ultimatum of choosing friendships, because they want to see proof of loyalty. Excuse me for pausing here but I thought we were out of H.S already. Whether we are straight, gay, bi, queer, lesbian, andro, or trans… I feel that everyone can identify on this. Sometimes, we’ll lose friends because we didn’t communicate that our feelings were hurt; didn’t keep in touch as much so the friendship dies like a flower in a summer heat; or friends take sides over a break-up like choosing Team Captains in Grade School; and there are numerous other reasons why friendships sink like stones in a lake.
For me personally, I was raised with the words: “You don’t have any friends, your only friends are your parents”. (Yet, for many – parents haven’t been their friends, but that’s another topic) But, at the same time, I was taught to be selective in who I call friends, because it’s true…not everyone is your friend. Yet, I smile with everyone, I enjoy and genuinely love people because in each person I find something that will forever be a part of me – and in those exchanges – I always leave a part of me with them. But what do you do in a situation when friends hurt each other, say mean things and go on for years without speaking? I honestly, believe in forgiveness and moving forward. What I don’t believe in, is being caught in a situation where I am the innocent bystander and have nothing to do with the other parties issues. I believe sometimes people’s pain and resentment is so grand that they become selfish and it turns into a competition for friendship rather than rationalizing the matter. At this point, that’s when I’ve asked myself “what value do you bring into my life to continue?”, “what is keeping us together?” We each have our reasons why we are still friends with certain people in our lives, I know sometimes we question it and don’t know why or maybe we just don’t want to hurt the other person. But remember, if you keep putting the other person in a pedestal and keep giving in to their tantrums, you will continue walking on egg shells.
I’ve recently come to realize that 1) I can’t make certain people happy despite of what I do, 2) that I cannot be limited, 3) that I do not handle tantrums or ultimatums well because I look for the first exit sign, 4) that I’m a free-spirited person and have a lot of love to share with everyone. Friendships aren’t collectible coins to show off during the Holidays; they aren’t to be used for ‘show & tell’ or even kept in a glass box like a porcelain ballerina. Friendships at my age, are supposed to be filled with compassion, love, understanding, unselfishness, forgiveness and growth to be ready for the next stage in our lives. These qualities are what’s going to keep the friendship alive and show that loyalty is not demonstrated by giving an ultimatum to choose between friends but rather have the potential to a successful healthy friendship.
At this point all I can think of is, I can’t be “plastic, cold, shiny, hard, plastic”. I’ll leave those ‘jaw-breaking’ moments to the teens. Then again, it’s shocking to hear teens now a days or even folks in their early 20’s, have a little more common sense and maturity over certain matters. Maybe, it was something in the water growing up that is making my generation a little selfish and stubborn. At the end of the day, for me when it comes to friendships, I’m asking one key question: “ What value are you bringing into my life?” and if I don’t find a positive one and feel like I’m only being stressed out by drama, you best believe I’m cutting that ‘bond’ short.
“I wish we could all get along like we used to in middle school. I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy.” Imagine that, if we could all just get along… it’d be like Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.
Till next time!