It’s true. Chances are, despite the delayed response to texts, less girl’s nights, or time on the phone, your married friend still likes you.
Recently, I read a popular article, Why It Doesn’t Matter How You Feel About Your Friends. I highly encourage taking the time to read it. The main idea is that real friends show they care. They do friendly things such as send texts, get together, and talk. While I completely agree and identify with this, I feel there is something missing. Mainly, understanding and compassion. I also feel like viewing relationships in this way can induce a lot of guilt in people who are already having a hard time — not good. Life is not so cut and dry.
For me, this was my first big dip into making friends. Before this I would have friends over to my house from my class, club, or team, but it was very low key. Junior high was the big leagues. It was then that I really started understanding what it meant to be a friend. I made lots of slip ups. I gossiped, shared secrets that should have been kept to myself, and gave people the silent treatment. I made my fair share of mistakes. But somehow we all look back on junior high as a time when we were still “figuring it out.” We forgive each other. We understand.
For me, shortly after getting married was my second “junior high” experience. I was stressed and emotionally drained. I was putting my whole self into my marriage trying to make it work. Again, after having my son, I was adjusting to a little person relying on me for everything, along with being the most tired I’ve ever been in my life. I craved good friendships, but didn’t understand how friends fit in. Call me a deer in the headlights, because that is exactly what I was.
I never knew how to balance my relationships and commitments. Do I put a lot of effort into keeping old friends? Do I throw myself into making new friends? How much time do I reserve for my spouse? What if friends are only available during the short time my spouse and I are both free? What should I do about that? These were all brand new situations to me.
I know I didn’t handle my friendships well as a newly wed or a new momma. In fact, I’ll be the first to say I cared for my friends, but didn’t show it. Does that mean my feelings of care were wasted? Does being a friend only matter if you are showing or doing something?
It is not that black and white. I really feel there must be a balance.
I wish the same forgiveness and understanding we extend to others for mess ups in junior high would be true for people going through big life changes. Moving away to college, getting married, becoming a parent, or getting a new job are all examples. These are periods when our time and priorities shift. We tend to underestimate how confusing it can be to balance our friendships.
At times, being a friend means extending forgiveness when a friend is trying to figure things out. It’s understanding when they are less responsive. It’s assuming the best of your friend. Because assuming the best of a person is needed in every relationship.
So be kind.
Be kind and understanding to those newly weds who seem so caught up in themselves. Be kind to that new momma with bags under her eyes and spit up on her shirt. Believe that they like you. Be understanding if they aren’t getting back to you. Because, chances are, they care about you more than you know, they’re more confused than you’ll ever know, and your forgiveness would mean more to them than you’ll ever know.
Ah! You KNOW I relate so much to this! And you worded it so beautifully. Why is it that life always has to throw us big adjusting curve balls like this? It’s good refining I guess haha. I’m really glad to know im not the only one who has struggled with this. Seriously Marla you are awesome, as always. We should hang out or something! 😉
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Seriously, these big adjustments are crazy. I think you are right, they give us a chance to refine ourselves. I know it really humbled me, because I thought of myself as such a great friend before, only to realize that there really was some room for improvement. But, I’m trying to give myself a break, it is just plain hard to balance things and make people happy! And yes, it would be fun to get together! 🙂 It would be fun to see our little boys together!
Yes! Assuming the best is hard but oh so wise and I have to remind myself to do just that when it doesn’t happen automatically, like I wish it would! Thanks for writing about this!
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I agree, it doesn’t happen automatically for me either! I feel like I have to consciously tell myself not to get offended, or that someone’s delayed response isn’t about me. I’m glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂
I had a friend a few years ago that sent me a scathing email because we couldn’t make it to her son’s fourth birthday party. What she didn’t realize was my husband had been extremely busy at work and that Saturday happened to be the the first day in quite some time we could be together as a family. Her words hurt so badly, and I struggled for days to know what to say back. I wish she could have read this!! Assuming the best is such a good suggestion in all relationships! I like to think few people go about their day with ill intentions. Such a great post! Thank you!!
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I am so sorry. It is hard to forget unkind words, especially from a friend. I admire your ability to not reply back immediately, but to think about it. I would have been tempted to reply while me emotions were still running rampant! But, you are right, assuming the best of a person is so important. I think that quality is slowly fading in our culture, unfortunately. I’m glad you liked the post. Thank you for sharing your experience! 🙂
Oh I couldn’t agree more with this. I cannot count the number of times I have received a friend’s text and then something with the kids completely distracted me and I forgot to respond. . . for days!
I am so glad I am not the only one! I feel so bad, because I usually am excited to talk to them, or happy they reached out! But somehow with all the busyness and my own tiredness I forget. It is honestly a challenge. I am just so grateful when friends understand… I really do like them!