Today's topic, kids, is friendship.
With the exception of one person in my life (who I tell everything to - my BFF), most of my closest friends are men. Why? I have pondered this question myself and I believe it is because I am immediately more guarded around men and question their motives. Therefore, I'm not willing to divulge all kinds of secrets and true feelings like I would around people of the same gender. Once I get over the issue of intimacy and I feel secure that the new friend isn't there for me for that reason, I have deep discussions with my male friends. Maybe they feel comfortable telling me things that they wouldn't tell other women in their lives or gain female insights. And vice/versa. I've had some dear male friends for several decades. Some I call my "brothers".
Being a chatty girl, when I'm around other female friends, there's no mixed-gender tension there; we just talk frankly. That is what gets you in trouble. I am completely open and probably say way too much than I should; allowing for information I've related about myself to be misinterpreted/judged or worse - used against me later. It's happened with most of my female friends.
So the good female longtime friends that I still have, that I have had are without-a-doubt loyal, non-judgmental and value me/accept me/celebrate me for who I am. The words "crazy" or "weird" are terms of endearment and not accompanied with the slant of an eye or some form of invisible question mark.
[Cyndy Tanner (M) is my oldest friend. I've known her since I was 9 years old. My oldest male friend is Abdullah Kaz. I've known him since I was 13. My oldest-oldest friends are my sisters and my mother, but I'm disqualifying them in this post because they're family.]
Hey, some new friends swear that they like me just because I am different ("crazy", "weird", "not mainstream", "funny", "a blast!" - I've heard a lot of that throughout my life). Perhaps I'm there for the entertainment value? I don't know. If I'm there to entertain you; I'm not a friend. I'm an unpaid entertainer; not even acquaintance-level because you are feigning friendship to obtain something from me. I've had those people in my life. They are emotional vampires who walk in and suck up your positive energy to replenish their own. That's not a friend.
Along my journey, I've heard people say to me, "You're choosing the wrong friends." I strongly disagree. They are choosing the wrong friend in me. I believe in seeing the good in people. If you prove that I'm wrong, so be it. The power of positive thought (projection) can be very strong. I hope (equally strong) that what I project is what I will be returned.
I have values/ethics! Perhaps that does not become immediately apparent because I'm usually telling jokes when I meet new people, but it becomes apparent later. I expect my friends to have the same types of values that I do (even if they're packaged differently - like mine). They know who I am. I'm open and honest and have no problem telling you that don't want to live "inside the lines". Or "normal" (whatever that means). I am who I am. You are who you are. I celebrate people's differences and perspectives. So, if my values are different than yours and you don't accept me for who I am, there is no need in feigning friendship. Move on. I have nothing to offer you.
Does that sound arrogant? Well, I have had to do the same things when the situation is reversed. I don't want to fake a friendship. If I find myself judging a person or find that their values aren't the same, why should I be friends? I'm not a mean girl. I don't want to judge others. I don't want to put out negative energy in the world and I certainly don't want to hurt someone (ever had to stop yourself from talking about someone or giggling about them although they were an acquaintance - that is wrong. Stop it! God doesn't like ugly). That person just has a different path than mine and I shouldn't be walking on theirs.
And people change. People that you thought are walking your path suddenly take an alternate route (exit here). You suddenly realize that your values and theirs are no longer the same... or were they ever? Should I feel betrayed or should I just take another more positive approach and say, 'They've just gone in another direction,' and wish them well?
Sometimes you don't want to talk about it. Maybe it is too negative or perhaps you just don't want to over-think a situation. You just realize that the path is divided and maybe at some point down the road, the paths will meet up again under a different circumstance. All meant to be.
What values do I send out and expect from others? Loyalty, honesty, trust.
There is nothing that I would expect from others that I wouldn't be willing to do for them. My real friends: I can always call when I need their support (Hefty bags, duct tape, chainsaw, shovel - ha ha, just kidding). If I'm sick, that person won't ask - they'll show up with OJ and chicken soup and offer to take me to the doctor. When I need help, they don't think twice about doing it; even if it is something they're reluctant to do or they're busy. They celebrate, not tolerate my presence. Money, relationshits, jobs come and go; friends don't. 10 years may go by and you can pick up the phone and start talking to each other like it was yesterday; there's no judgement and no one takes it personally; sometimes life just gets in the way (Lina, Grace, Lucille, Eman - you know what I mean). Love who/what I love because you're a loyal person (that doesn't mean we have to love the same food or the same people, but at least always be supportive).
And be grateful. For everything. Even if people don't turn out to be friends after all, be grateful and see the good in them and the situation. It has taught you something. You have seen another side to the same picture. You've received someone else's perspective. It's a blessing.
End of sermon. Have a great weekend.