The Return of Real Friendship
We were out for dinner, catching up on a long overdue series of updates on what was happening in our lives. Social media lead the prompts as we reviewed what we “knew” of what was going on with each other & asked more top of line questions. As you described a heart-wrenching account of a situation with your child, you started to cry. The pain and heartache I saw in your eyes told your story far deeper than you could possibly share. And then you said those words, “I’m sorry. I don’t want to burden you with all of this”.
Oh my lovely. As if listening to a dear friend share their sadness (& with that a possibility that we could provide some small relief by talking it through) would be a burden?
But we all think like that these days don’t we?
The advent of social media, one in which we send status updates that accrues barely 1% of our lives, has added an extra layer to our onion.
Taking a risk and peeling it back to tell the honest goods? The straight up truths? The aches & pains that are normal & natural parts of going through life? That’s too much rain on someone else’s parade.
Only its not.
That’s real friendship.
THAT is the depth & breadth by which you can measure one who truly is a friend. The person who is wanting and willing to get into it with you. The ones who can give you a sense of comfort in talking through the ugly, the messiness of all of it, the stigmas, the joys and the sorrows.
But the catch is, you need to feel comfortable sharing yourself (& all your warts) with your friends. It’s icky sometimes, sure, but walking through your issues with a friend can make the difference between life is over and life has tremendous possibilities. You often just need that different perspective to weigh in on the problem.
Over the last couple of years, I functioned through a pretty serious case of situational depression and unsettling anxiety attacks. It took me a long time (& a lot of trust with some very special friends) to admit or talk about any of that because I too didn’t want to be a burden. When I would dip my toe in and mention it to someone, the amount of times I got back “but on Facebook you always look like you have your shit together” was pretty astronomical. OY. Listen, we ALL have burdens. Everyone has things/crap/shit they are dealing with and absolutely nobody is posting their entire life’s story on social media. If you are like me, I don’t believe in adding more negative content to an already full internet cesspool. So I only try to bring positive in the things I say online.
This summer, we made extra efforts to reconnect with those dear to us & work on peeling back the onion to the way it used to be. To talk, openly & honestly about what’s going on. Those “burdens” we have been so reticent to share are nothing but in our heads. The moments we have embraced together before we go away seem to have a special sweetness to them. We know these are memories we will carry with us on our trip, filling our hearts with gratitude and love.
Friendship needs more than the occasional text, snap or status update. Like any relationship, they need to be fuelled & fanned to continue that flame. If you truly are a friend to someone, think about how you can reach out to them and reconnect. Work through each other’s issues together. Talk, cry, hug and laugh through it all. Talk for hours. Lend your ear to listen to a friend so that they might feel comfortable doing the same.
I don’t want another status update of you. I want you (warts and all :))
Let’s get back to reality.