7/6/11

Old friends, new friends

When I was younger, I had lots of friends. We did things, went places, often worked together, spent time together and got to know one another.

In a movie one time, a character described friends as just a person you know that's eventually going to ask for a 5am ride to the airport. That character didn't have any friends.

But, I had lots of friends. And, eventually, they all asked for the equivalent of a 5am ride to the airport. And, the drawback to rising early and giving that dreaded ride to the airport is that it frees people up to ask for more rides.

Now, theoretically, all should balance out because eventually I'm going to need several 5am rides to the airport, right? Except that gradually, over a period of about 3 years, fewer and fewer of the people I'd gotten up early for were willing to get up early for me.

So, you get that I'm not literally talking about rides to the airport, right? Sometimes it was "can you watch my dog". Sometimes, it was "can you bake me a cake for a party that I didn't invite you to". Sometimes, it was "can I stay at your house"...and then they didn't leave...for weeks! Once I even had to pay to get a friend's brakes repaired before he could drive himself home AND GET OUT OF MY HOUSE.

And, forget about having a real relationship. My "friends" were great at only introducing me to people that would never last. And, anybody that I met that I might make a lasting relationship with were picked apart until nobody would want them.

In the late 90's, too many of my friends decided to "party like it was 1999" and turned to drugs and alcohol. And, when I couldn't help them or protect myself from them anymore, I had to let them go.

Letting people go was the most empowering feeling in the world. No longer being responsible for them. No longer taking care of them. No longer lending money. No longer being available for a 5am ride to the airport that would never be returned. Those things gave me power over my life. And, it freed up so much time that I was able to take up knitting and gardening and crochet and quilting. I had time to find a good relationship, with a good man, and nobody was trying to sabotage it. And, it eventually freed up enough of my time that whatever higher power is in charge of the universe sent us a child to raise.

So, that's old friends. What about new friends?

First, I've learned to be very selective about friends. And, I don't have many. Rob is my best friend and we share and laugh. And, I'm glad to offer a ride to the airport because I know that when I need one, I can get a ride to the airport. Even at 5am. Everyone should be in a relationship with their best friend. It makes so many of the little things about being that closely involved so much easier when you're with someone you can talk honestly to.

I have other friends. I have friends at the quilt store that are close enough to always be interested in what I'm working on, but distant enough that they'll never ask for money. I have friends at work who know me well enough to know what I like to eat, but distant enough that I never have to cook for them. I have friends that are neighbors and we are friendly enough to share plants and discuss pruning trees that cross the property line, but distant enough that we don't party together.

Someone once said that good fences make good neighbors. I think that good distance makes good friends. But, I also know that I'm missing out on some comeraderie. I read a couple of posts yesterday about a quilter that got together with two friends and sewed all day, laughing and sharing. They had so much fun that they got together the next day for more laughing and sewing. No demands, no expectations. Just people that enjoy one another's company.

I want friends like that. One day, I hope I will have them. But, I also know that the distance I put between myself and others served a purpose. It is a protection. But, I also keep myself open to running into that perfect person and forming a lasting bond over shared interests and mutual independence. I've had a couple of tries, but so far, nothing that has lasted the test of extended time.

And, I also have my blog friends. Friends I haven't met face to face yet, but that I bond with over mutual interests of hobby and family. Those are safe friendships. Friends who like me because of who I am, not what I can give them. Friends who are willing to share with me and friends I am willing to share with in a balanced way. Friends I can be honest with.

It's important to know myself. To know my limitations and my vulnerabilities. And, then it's important to create a way of life that accommodates those limitations and vulnerabilities and also takes advantage of my strong points. A limitation I found was that I let friends take advantage. So, I got new friends. Easy solution. But, it took years of learning to value myself to get there.

If you have trouble finding balanced friendships, don't give up. But you don't have to keep putting out, either. Give somebody else a try. You might find just what you're looking for. And, if you need some time between old friends and new friends, take that time. It's not as bad as it sounds to be friendless while you take some time to make you better.

If you have a thousand friends, stop bogarting the good people. Introduce some of them to me!

And, that's what I'm thinking about on this Way Back Wednesday. Have a great day, friends.

Lane

16 comments:

Auntie Em said...

I've enjoyed "meeting" you through the blogging world, Lane, and hope I'm on your list of blogging friends. :-)

Bonnie K Hunter said...

Oh, you could SO come sew with us any time and you'd fit right in!

Believe it or not, I don't have "MANY" real life friends. Lots of acquaintances and people who "think" they know me, but really don't.

I've also let friends go simply because they wouldn't return the effort I put into the relationship. Things only happened if I was the one to make them happen. And once I stopped initiating, things quickly fell to dormant. I knew then that if someone wants to be a part of my life, they'll make an effort to be in it. So I don't bother reserving a space in my heart for smoeone who doesn't make an effort to stay.

What I've found here with Karen and Lisa is RARE -- and in between times I'm seeing them, I'm quite the loner. And I need that for my own sanity.

This week I'll be seeing a couple other close friends when I'm in Oregon, and I'm looking forward to that, but it's always great to come home to my own space.

I tend to go all out spending time with friends, and then retreat to my quilt cave to get my meter rebalanced....

Thanks for the reflection! reading you loud and clear!

Bonnie

Becky said...

You are right on the money with this one. I am a person that doesn't hold back on friendship.....if I like you I am in for the long haul & will invest deeply in the relationship. I would take you to the airport at 5 a.m However, this has been bittersweet as you so ably describe. I have stuck my neck out there and had it chopped off many time. It sure is hurtful. I am more cautious now and just have few good friends. The kind you describe....talking laughing and sharing interests. Where there is no masking, and no pretence. I can get frustrated and say sh!t and not be judged negatively.

I have found a few more great blogfriends. (Of which I consider you one of my favorites, BTW). It seems we are easier to share our difficulties and easier to support one another through them. This cyber-type friendship is unusual to say the least, but I think it has a place in society. I would love to have a cyber-friend quilt retreat face to face someday. Wouldn't that be the "most-ut" as the Jetson's maid used to say.

Loved this Way Back Wednesday!!

lw said...

I would like you in person for who you are, too.

I think the trick to friendship is to choose loving, generous people (like you.) If I find a friendship going only one way, I let it go. I agree that I'd love to have someone to sew with-- my girlfriends all live so far away that it only happens a couple of times a year.

Coloradolady said...

OH, Lane, this has spoken to me and this very subject has weighed heavy on my heart.

I read that very same post you are talking about and felt a little, (OK a lot) sad that I don't have friends to spend the day having such a wonderful time like that! It seems like my "friends" don't have time for things like that that interest me, but have all the time in the world when they need me.

My kids had a surprise anniversary party for us, and invited my "best" friend from high school. She did not come because she did not want to miss her exercise workout.....her sister came instead. I was so terribly hurt at the fact I mattered so little...I have stopped calling her.....and guess what...my phone is not ringing off the hook either! Go figure.

I need to come to Austin soon and can inform my daughter I am having a quilt retreat in her living room....my FRIEND you are so invited.....how fun would that be!!

Thanks for being my friend....you and your family mean the world to me!! I'd drive to Austin from Ft. Worth to take you to the airport if you needed me....just sayin'

Lee Ann said...

"I want friends like that. One day, I hope I will have them."

Me too Lane, me too. The greater difficulty lies in the fact that I'm profoundly deaf. (I am completely oral -- speak and read lips.) Not many people are willing to be patient with the likes of me. Sad. Because I believe that they are missing out.

And like you, I keep a distance because I've been hurt and used by so many in the past that I don't want a part of that anymore.

Fortunately, like you with your Rob, I have my Dan. I also have a few online friends I have never met -- one of them I have "known" for over 14 years.

The internet is a BIG blessing to a gal like me because I can "chat", blog, etc., and etc. with the best of anyone and no one would know that I'm deaf. :-)

Thank you for sharing. For in sharing, you make others brave enough to tell their own story. :-)

Margie said...

I am blessed with a great spouse and family that seem to like me. I have friends but there always seems to be a "qualifier" that goes with each friend. One that I never tell anything to that I don't want repeated five seconds later, one that I avoid any political talk, one that has lots more money than I. You get the picture. The only friend that didn't have any "qualifier" died two years ago and I miss her.

Anonymous said...

Loved your post today. I think we miss out by all of the Facebook friend stuff. NOBODY has 300+ friends!
My husband has to ask me who is trying to "friend" him-if you have to ask they are not a 'Friend"-total misnomer. I think as we get older we realize we cannot be all things to all people and are content to have a few close friends. People change and so do friends-fact of life! I am an only child so I am very content by myself-I have 5 quilt friends but on purpose we don't get together all the time so the time we do spend together is special! Love reading your posts!

Patricia said...

I believe that every person in your life is placed there for a reason, and then when that reason is addressed, they leave. This helps me to not be sad about "losing" contact with someone, or when someone disappoints me. I grew up alone for a lot of reasons, strict parents (thank God); looked funny (not anymore); smart nerd etc. I was sometimes sad, but as I have aged, I am glad I understand and embrace solitude. Some people can't stand to be along---I actually enjoy it sometimes---I can concentrate on that complicated block :c). Thanks for sharing---I always find something useful and interesting!

Glenn Dragone said...

A wise person once said to me.. We all have a boat filled with people in our lives. The boat gets to the dock and sometimes the same people don't get back on. Other times the people sitting up front end up at the back.

I'm going through the same thing at the moment. I don't have any room in my life for people we aren't willing to comment 1/2 way.

The one good thing about getting older, you become more selective.

Jenny said...

Thank you for your very thought provoking post. The old saying "a friend in need is a friend indeed" certainly came true when I was diagnosed with cancer, and several friends walked away.
But the good news is, I am now healthy, and letting those people go was what I needed to do while I was so sick. Their loss, I think.
Happy quilting from New Zealand

qltmom9 said...

Because of you, I went to the GW outlet yesterday near the Indy dental school (where dd had to have a crown). Today, ds had to go the 2 hours back to the dental school and I realized they change bins EVERY 2 HOURS! 0-:
So, we hit it again today. WHOOOeeee...I could get addicted to this. I got a big green GW bag stuffed FULL of shirts for quilting and a smaller bag of fabric, but also trims and a few items we'll even wear! SOOOOO fun. Thanks for corrupting me.
I just got home 20 minutes ago, threw those shirts in the washer, made sure the kids had eaten, then sat down to see what else my friend (YOU) was up to.
Internet is nice. I can blame YOU for me going to the INDY GW outlet. LOL! There are two more outlets in Indy and some of my other kids have cavities...Uh oh.

Lucy~

Anonymous said...

I got a good laugh about the movie line about the 5 am ride to the airport. I have loads of those that surround me and ring my phone off the hook. Truthfully probably only my dh would get up and take me if I called all of the others a month ahead of time to ask. Dh is my best friend even though he doesn't share my sewing hobby just steps over and is nonjudgmental about sew much stuff. Very few people in my area sew only a few quilt in the whole county. I really enjoy the sewing blogs and have a pretty good list that are my regular reads. Not being computer savvy I would be hard pressed to put a photo online and can't even figure out how to post on some blogs so I admire all those who share their sewing and day to day life as you do. I think it is wonderful how you do all the charity quilts and are getting good with sewing the garments. Sydney's top and the shirts looked great. I have just recently found and started being a regular reader and blog friend but promise no calls for rides at 5 am. Lol! mssewcrazy

woolywoman said...

yup.

regan said...

Lane....this was really a thought provoking post for me! Here I was, thinking something was wrong with me, cuz I really don't have many friends, just a couple really, and yet everyone around me seems to be loaded with friends. Having read your post, and all the comments, it seems we are all in kindof the same boat.....we are very selective with who we want to share ourselves with.....especially after being 'burned' by so-called friends. Thanksfully, they are no longer in my life. I just wish I had a chance to meet more of my bloggy friends.....I have a feeling that we would all very happy with each other as our new buds! So, I'm saying right now, if you are ever in the New England area....give me a holler.....I'd love to meet my blog buddies!

Glenda in Florida said...

Just wanted to say thanks for a very thought provoking post. I've decided that I need to comment to bloggers more often, and say thank you for putting yourself out there. I appreciate it!