Monday, April 30, 2012

Isn't it interesting...

I find it interesting that when you put something 'out there', an idea of sort, it starts popping up all around you.

When I first started looking for articles on friendship and 'breaking up' last summer I really didn't find that much in my google searches. I thought that it was annoying that you could read at great lengths articles on dealing with grief and stress of loosing a 'loved one' but that it ultimately referred to your significant other or close family member. Looking for stuff on friendship was either directed at teenage girls or obsolete. I started thinking that I must be the ONLY one that cared about loosing a best friend or perhaps the only one that actually LOST her bff.

I realize I am not unique, that this happens all the time, but when you don't hear anyone else talking about these issues its easy to start thinking you are alone.

But then I stumbled on to the book MWF seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche, and subsequently her blog. She doesn't so much as talk about a breakup that she's experienced but about the trouble with finding a NEW best friend while in her late twenties. Very interesting to me, so I bought the ebook and am slowly reading it.

Today my sister-in-law sent me a link to a Winnipeg Free Press article, "It's over - It can be as tough to break up with a friend as breaking up with a lover" by Joanne Laucius which references Rachel Bertsche as well as others' opinions on friendships and why they end.

I think one of the most telling points made in this article, which sums up what I've come to realize about friendship is this:

"Breaking up with a friend, either as the breaker or the breakee, can be just as painful as a romantic split, says Irene Levine, a psychologist, friendship blogger at Psychology Today and author of Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup With Your Best Friend.

We asked Levine about the nature of friendship and breaking up with friends.

Q: We have this idealistic idea that "good" friendships last a lifetime. Is that true?
A: People read novels, watch TV sitcoms, and see movies like Sex and The City that provide a mythical picture of friendships. The large majority of friendships, even very good ones, don't last forever."

As I mentioned in my last post, I have decided that I have a warped sense of what a great friendship should be like based on the fictional characters I follow. I need to work on being more grounded and having realistic expectations.

I am fully aware that I have amazing women in my life that I can confide in and it is not necessary for me to depend on one women to fulfill all of my friendship requirements. My new goal is to maintain diversification in my friendships. I think I'm doing quite well.

That being said... I'm still looking for my Sunday Brunch bestie...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Why I'm a terrible friend...

Fictional characters in my favorite television shows, movies and novels always seem to have that iconic BFF, the one that is with them through thick and thin. I assume I am not the only one out there that wants this for their selves and I have had some very close girl friends for long periods of time...I suppose that isn't a fair statement...I HAVE some very close girl friends.

But with the exception on my sister, who, at the sake of sounding sappy, has been my BFF since I was two, I can't seem to maintain that FOREVER part. I honestly thought I had it twice before but when things got tough we feel apart. For a long time I assumed I just had terrible taste in friends, that I chose 'takers' that only wanted to be my friend when I was doing what they wanted, that it wasn't me that ended the relationships but them...I was the GOOD person in the relationship. I was quite defensive.

Recently I have been giving this more thought and think I may have been a little naive. If I go with this theory then I devalue the relationship from the beginning and I honestly think when they were good they were as great as the best ones portrayed in the fictional world where things are always tied up in nice little bows at the end of an episode. I don't think its realistic that I merely had blinders on for 10 years and fooled myself that they cared about me. I believe that we were close.

I no longer believe that I was the 'GOOD' person in the relationship though....or at least that there was no 'good' person and 'bad' person.

I LET my relationships fall apart because I am too afraid that if I speak up and say that I don't like something they won't like me and will stop being my friend. Well jokes on me because by continuing to sit on the sidelines I allow my relationships to dissolve.

It isn't enough to write a passive aggressive text message or email when we have a disagreement. If I want to have a BFF, who tells me everything, then I need to do the same back. I SHOULD have overcome my uncomfort and picked up the phone or went over to see them in person, and while there I should have told them why I was upset and why they were important to me. And when it was all said and done I may still have been left with the remains of a friendship but at least I would have known that I actively tried to maintain it, instead having unresolved feelings hanging over me.

I feel like I let them down by not showing them that I cared enough to show up. I'm tired of playing the blame game in my head where my defenses are thrown up as soon as a thought like this enters my head and I yell back at it that my 'so called BFF' didn't 'show up' either and I shouldn't have to do all the work! Regardless of what the other person coulda/shoulda/woulda done, I know now what I need to do and I hope I don't forget this.

I feel like my 'breakups' have gone on too long now for me to decide to call them up. A little too late. They have moved on in their lives and probably have other close friends to confide in. Only time will tell if things will ever smooth out between us but I will strive to be better next time, regardless of who my BFF will be...

For right now I have joined the MWF seeking BFF (and yes I actually bought this book recently, but that is another story).