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Learning friendship

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Until the last few years of my life, I never really 'got the hang" of how to be a friend. I always had companions as a child, but felt vulnerable to them and could not really trust people.

I grew up in an emotionally abusive household, and watched my mom churn through "friends" at a pretty rapid pace. Things would start out fast and fun for her, but eventually they would tire of her (and her super-negative attitude) and stop calling. She had a habit of telling me a lot of their adult secrets (and made me promise not to tell anyone, like any of my middle school peers cared about the middle-aged ladies in the neighborhood). Even as a kid, this felt distasteful to me, and I was confused as to why you would talk behind someone's back who you claim is your friend. Naive, I know. She did have some long-term friends, but they were always the ones that moved far away and she would telephone every month or so. Too much of her was too much to take, for all of us.

In my adulthood, I got so focused on raising my family that I let many friendships go, for one reason or another. I regret a few of these decisions, but not most. At that point in my life, I seemed to attract people who were not good for me. Negative, needy, racist and unhealthy is not good for me in that amount. I was not in a place where I could help these people (or watch them self-destruct), so I cut ties, for my own mental health, which I do not regret.

Now, as an "empty-nester", I have come upon a group of women who are teaching me how to be a good friend, and have healthy relationships, with support and compassion and laughter. I walked with two of these fine folks yesterday and they reminded me again of how to treat people that is loving and healthy and nourishing. I feel so blessed this week, to have people who are willing to offer this to me. I wish the same for you!
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