Saturday, 21 February 2015

What's In A Friendship?

I have had a good week. It's not been particularly productive but I have met up with several friends and had a trip to the theatre all of which have been immensly enjoyable.

Friendship is something I think about often. What is it? Am I a good friend? Does the friendship meet my needs or simply what do I expect from friendship? 

I guess what I want is to have fun. I want to be accepted for who I am. I'm not looking for approval but I certainly don't want disapproval. I also want my friends to accept I'm not perfect as I accept they aren't perfect either. So far so good. However, me not being perfect means I'm not always emotionally available. But why not you may ask? You used to be a counsellor and you still help people by volunteering? Yes that's true but that was and is by choice and at a time to suit me. It also comes under the heading of a professional relationship in which the other person's needs are foregrounded whereas in a friendship both people's needs count. 

However you may think that a friend 'should' be there when you need them. I think it depends. I am there for my friends when I can be. I am also there in times of crisis but in my experience some friends are perpetually in crisis so in that case I use my judgement as to how I respond. I wouldn't necessarily drop everything. I may on occasion even be thinking  'oh for goodness sake get a grip'. I wouldn't say that because it wouldn't be appropriate at that time.  Of course sometimes friends just want us to listen but what if you're always cast in the role of listener.  How do you feel about that? My guess is that eventually you begin to feel disgruntled and put upon. I know I do and at that point I would after the crisis try and address it with them.

I warn new friends that my way of coping when I feel under par is to withdraw. I go quiet. I like to be on my own. It has nothing to do with them. It's about me and how I feel and how I take care of me. But if I have to explain every time it occurs that it's about me and not them then the relationship will probably not survive. As the three friends I've met up with this week have been friends for more than twenty years standing something is working. One friend actually told me only today that she likes my directness. That she feels good knowing  where she is with me. 

Perhaps my OH could be right and I do overthink things sometimes! 

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