Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Selfishness in Friendships

I'm sure most of you have heard, "It is better to give than to receive." We are coming up on a season that giving is emphasized, have we lost focus on giving, and refocused on receiving?

It seems that even small acts of giving are often ignored. Sometimes all a person needs is an ear to listen, or word of kindness. It's easy to wrap ourselves up in the world around us, and forget that others live in it.

Do you ever feel the need to talk to someone about something going on in your life? Of course you do, we all do at some point. And when we feel we need to talk, we feel like what we need to talk about is extremely important. Have you ever felt like you've turned to someone to talk, and the conversation turns to being about the other person? Ugh, it's so frustrating!! I try to remember that my friends also have things on their mind as well, and I'm willing to be there. But dang it, sometimes I want them to be there too!

I feel certain that we have all had relationships/friendships that we have given more than we have received. We may not even notice it until we truly need those people, and realize they aren't willing to give what we would be willing to give. Those relationships normally end with bittersweet feelings.

I shouldn't complain, really. I have several friends that are wonderful. I also have two that are out of this world just as good to me as I am to them. They deserve the best, and they give me the best. I've always heard that if you find one true friend in your life, consider yourself lucky. I hit the jackpot with two. So why is it that we are so surprised when we discover someone that isn't a true friend? We want to see the best in people. We want to believe that everyone is willing to be selfless once in a while, but the sad truth is that everyone isn't willing.

It's a frustrating battle to go above and beyond for someone simply because you want to; only to discover they won't go above and beyond for you when you need it. It's a great lesson to learn, but certainly a painful one.

Some of you might remember me touching on this subject back around May, when I began to learn this bittersweet lesson with friends involved in my wedding. I chose at that time not to reveal too much, as there are too many people that I know in real life read this. I don't want my blog to bash people. I don't want my blog to call people out for things that have happened. However, I do have a purpose for this blog. I want to update friends and family members that don't live close by. I want to meet more bloggy friends (I have the best readers ever!). I want to have a place to write out the lessons I have learned and share them with you all. And I want to be able to vent out my frustrations! So that's exactly what I'm going to do, without bashing and naming anyone specific.

Why in the heck is this girl talking about something that she learned back in May? I'm finally coming to a full circle with this lesson. Recent events have brought a flood of memories back that again have shown me who will always be there and who won't. The ones who won't were certainly surprises to me. Sad surprises. I thought I had learned this lesson in May, but it was only the beginning. I've now also learned that the beginning of a hard lesson is always the most painful. Learning the bits and pieces after are just reassuring to a lesson you've learned.

Because of some really bad friends, and some really awesome ones, I've discovered some valuable lessons. I've learned that distance doesn't mean distance. Being geographically far away from someone does not mean a friendship will become weaker. Being geographically close to someone does not always mean you will remain close. This was refreshing to learn over the past few weeks. My geographically distant friends were right with me during the fear and confusion of those few days spent at the hospital with my family. Geographically close individuals I used to see as friends had no clue anything was even going on.

How do we get so wrapped up in our own lives that we don't see when a friend struggles? Selfishness. We must find that happy medium to be a valuable friend to others. We must learn to give just as much as we take, and we have to be prepared at any moment to give MORE than we take, and know that it will come back around to us someday.

We must celebrate with our friends when they are rejoicing, and we must grieve with them when they grieve. Being there through the exciting and happy times is just as important as the times of sorrow. I always thought it was easier for a friend to be with you during the "up" times rather than the "down" times: another learned in May. Sometimes jealousy sets in, and "friends" don't want to celebrate with you. Sadly, selfishness can prevent us from being a positive influence on others lives, and in turn create a larger distance between two close individuals that should have never been created.

Sometimes, a genuine desire to hear and listen to the answer to "How are you?" is what a friend needs.


Laura and Ryan said...

You are so right. Very well said. Encourage and love one another!

Brittney said...

I think it's sad when weddings cause friendships to be in strife. (You're not the first person I've come across whose had issues during this happy time in their life.) But it is definitely good that you're learning lessons from hard times. Sad, but good at the same time.

Thanks for your encouragement. This definitely makes me sit back and think about my own friends and relationships. :)

katie + bret said...

man... weddings can be a killer when it comes to friendship. My MOH turned into a person I no longer speak with it was so bad for me. It's really sad how that happens. BUT, at the same time, it's great to learn who the true people are that care about you.

I love giving. Bret actually gets upset with me sometimes because I am always buying cards and different little books and stuff at random for people because something I see reminds me of them. It's such a great feeling to make others smile and to take the time and effort to really think about what would make them happy :) Good post sweetheart. Speak your mind! We love to read what you have to say!

Emily said...

Great post! It's so upsetting and disappointing to find out that someone you thought was a true friend really isn't. But I guess it just makes us realize how awesome the friends are that will stay by our sides no matter what!

I think it's so important to be able to listen when a friend needs to talk... That's what friendship's all about! I've definitely had my share of friendships where I'm the only one putting in effort though, and it stinks. But the handful of friends I know will always be there are so dear to me!

You always have such great insight and I love reading your blog!!

Haddock said...

Anytime.....its better to give than recieve