Kim over at Internet Cafe Devotions asks a good question:
What is one thing that you absolutely love about friendships? Why?
On the other side, what is one thing that you find absolutely difficult when it comes to friendships? Why?
At some point in the past decade or so, I have come to expect less of friendships. Does that sound sad? defeatist? negative? No! Bear with me. Actually, it has been freeing and enriching for me and I can only assume, for all of my friends.
Please - beg to differ if this isn't true for you. It seems that most of us women defined our friendships as little girls. The giggling, the passing of notes, the co-miserating, the shopping. The physical intimacy of whispering, doing each others' hair. The emotional intimacy of sharing something secret. Then as we aged, it seems that we kept looking for that kind of intimacy, but with more adult topics to whisper about, designer lables to shop for.
So what do I mean that I expect less of friendships? I mean this: I do not expect any one person to fill all my friendship needs. I have learned to accept my women friends as they are, and enjoy the parts that connect. Whatever other commonalities we discover, or intimacies forged are accepted gratefully, delightedly. I no longer look for the best friend of childhood, to fill some hole in me. And in that, there is tremendous freedom.
I actually have a best girl friend. I have known her since college days and have gone through many phases and stages of life. We remain best friends because we have committed to be that for each other. I have disappointed her, I am sure, and she has disappointed me. But even this best girlfriend of mine, I have removed expectations from, so that she can be free to be who she is, who she wants to be, for me. I only want what she wants to give; what she can give.
I'm not really answering the first set of questions, but they made me ponder the notion of friendship. So, my mind wandered. The second question? The most difficult part is when a friendship dies. I don't mean when life takes us in different directions. I mean when words fall out of our mouths, dead, dry, and pile up in the space between us. One thing you can count on with us women-folk: WE CAN TALK THINGS OUT! But when that fails? Well, I lose a little Hope. I had this happen once, in a particularly painful way. The cause, I think, was unmet expectations.
I am blessed with many friends, literally across the country. Some are close and intimate. Some are far away, but nonetheless precious to me. Each friend offers me something that is unique. I try to allow them to be. To enjoy and appreciate what they are.
And I offer myself . . . just as I am.