When things aren’t going well there is nothing like a good friend with whom to spill your guts, right??
I spent 17 years in Maine and my friend, Ellie held my hand through a divorce and the death of my Golden Retriever, passing me hundreds of Kleenex and bless her heart, she even helped me move. She had always been there, until one day she wasn’t.
Jumping up and down (well inside anyway) with excitement, I told her I had given notice at my job and would be starting my own business. Expecting a “You go girl!!” imagine how shocked I was when she proceeded to get really angry. “What the hell are you thinking?” was the gist of it. Surprised, hurt and very confused, I had to learn that friends are not “generic”.
You see, we think of our friends as people who love and support us through challenging times…and they do indeed. Those cuddle buddies also have inner lives of their own and sometimes a decision we make can deliver a jolt to their limbic system ( you know that part of our brain that takes care of us by getting us the heck out of bad situations?). Instead of helping and supporting us, those friends can throw up a brick wall faster than Wile. E. Coyote…one that might stop us dead unless we learn to choose the “right” friend for the job.
Ellie was a woman who thrived on the predictable, measurable and repetitive. Her 40-hour per week job provided that and even reading the word “RISK” sent her blood pressure skyrocketing. Now, me…well ever since I was a little girl, I climbed electric towers, crossed ravines and walked in the underground sewer system to go downtown. I love risk!
Sometimes friends are there for us come rain or shine. They might hold our heads during chemo and yet not be able to support us in developing a new love relationship. The key is to love them all, reach out for support when you need it and simply know that friends are not all alike. Before you pick up the phone or text a friend, stop and ask if she/he is the best person for the job.
And don’t forget that some of our best lessons and deepest growth comes from our friends who don’t let us wallow, but instead push us to action and change that can give us the kick in the pants we need to live our lives to the fullest.