I’ve had a lot of friends over the years, thanks to all the moving around I’ve done. In grade school, my best friend was the girl that I sat with at lunch and hung out at recess everyday. In high school, since it was a little different from other people’s experiences, my best friend was whoever I happened to be close to at the time and hadn’t yet run away. In my 20s it was the girl I had the most fun with. Now that I’m in my 30s, just like my standards for relationships have changed and evolved, my friendship standards have gone up as well.
When I met my husband, I was over the bullshit and I wasn’t going to settle for anything less than the best possible life partner. I knew my worth, I knew what I deserved. But friendship– it was a bit blurry. I let some people get away with shit, because well, I thought we were friends. At one point I did have to end a very toxic 16-year-old friendship but it wasn’t until recently that I decided to place similar standards on my friends as I do my marriage– because if you can’t have a soul sister, depend on someone, real, quality friendship–then what’s the point?
No Games or Disappearing Acts
When I was dating, I never chased men. They either wanted me or they didn’t and it was very rare that I would get hung up on one who didn’t. So why in the world would I do that with a chick!? I don’t care how cool you are, I shouldn’t have to try and analyze your texts or wonder why you haven’t texted me back yet, especially when you’re blatantly all over social media. Like, what is that shit?
Every relationship and friendships have an understanding of sorts. Some of my best friends rarely talk, but when we do, we pick right up where we left off. I have entrepreneur friends that are crazy busy and understand I am as well, so we will routinely “catch up,” rather than talk regularly. But if the standard is set where we talk often and then you drop off the face of the planet like it’s no big deal or get a boyfriend and disappear– I can’t really get down with that.
Honesty and Communication
Why is it so hard for grown ass humans to be upfront and honest these days? Rather than just say what’s on their mind, people will act weird, passive aggressive or pull a disappearing act. Look, we are grownups and if something is wrong and we are friends– you need to say something. I never say or do anything intentionally to hurt others, it’s just not who I am. So grab your big girl panties and tell me what I did to upset you. More than likely it’s something that can be quickly resolved.
It also goes the other way as well, I am used to expressing myself and my feelings, so if something upsets me, I’ll let you know. I don’t get why this is so difficult for people. Just because you did something to piss me off doesn’t mean I hate you and am endlessly enraged. No, but I need to tell you because if we’re friends, now you know not to go there again. Wouldn’t you rather know so you can fix it rather than have me mad at you for days/weeks/months until I irrationally lose my shit when I can’t take it anymore?
One of the strongest components of my marriage is that we keep it real with each other, which eliminates resentment or misinterpretation of actions.
I was once with, and dedicated myself to a sociopathic man who consistently put me down. I knew this wasn’t normal, or a good thing and yet I was desperate to win his approval. After that I decided that I would never be in a relationship where saying things to hurt each other was okay. Or where insensitive, scathing remarks were tolerated. Simple terms? Respect for each other is crucial. I won’t allow anyone to treat me poorly anymore– it’s just not okay.
Friends of mine will tell me about snide, sarcastic and just plain rude statements their friends will say to them, no doubt designed to make them feel like shit, and I’m blown away. “How does a friend say that to another friend??” I’ll ask them. The answer? They don’t.
I learned that one of the greatest things you can do for the man you’re with– is accept them for who they are. This most definitely applies to friendship as well. People have their ways, their quirks and while you may not understand them, it’s important to accept them. This doesn’t mean tolerating shitty behavior. It means not to judge them because they may make choices you don’t. There may be things that are important to them, that you can’t understand why. It means knowing you are different and instead of trying to change them, loving them anyway.
I will do anything for my friends, family and loved ones. If you need me– I’m there, and if I can’t be there I will do everything in my power to do something to be there for you. I don’t keep score, I’m not into tit for tat, but if I’m routinely doing stuff for you and you can’t be bothered to help me when I need it– that’s when I have a problem. This thing needs to be a two way street, not a heavily trafficked one way.
As an incredibly driven person myself, I need the people I’m surrounded by to have goals and to be actively working towards them. They weren’t kidding when they said that “you are who you spend the most time with” and “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.”
I don’t want to be the smartest, the most driven or the most successful of my circle. I love having friends in different industries that are just crushing it in their field, it’s so inspiring and motivating.
No Competition or Comparison
Nothing makes me feel ickier than someone who is constantly trying to one up me. When it comes to my marriage, I am a cheerleader. I am an anchor, a rock, and a one woman support team. I feel the same about my friends. I want them to succeed and to be happy. Their wins are my wins, and their losses are my losses.
Not all people are this way I’m discovering. I don’t have the energy to fend off ‘friends’ biting my ideas, trying to one up me or make me look bad. I don’t want to feel like someone is comparing my life to theirs, or thinking I have it easier or tougher than them. I don’t want to deal with someone inspiring a me vs you mentality, rather than a me vs me. I want someone who can appreciate our unique journeys for what they are.
And so I’m Learning…
Like dates, friends will come and go and it’s okay. You might hit it off with someone right off the bat, only to be disappointed that the friendship didn’t blossom from there. You might be friends with someone for years and realize they no longer suit you, or that they are toxic. You, yourself may not be capable of being a good friend. Not everyone you meet is meant for you, and not everyone that is meant for you is meant to stick around.
I don’t have time for half-assed friendships, so I’m happy to cut people loose if needed or toss them into the acquaintance zone– which is fine because acquaintances are awesome, they just don’t get all the heart and soul that friends get.
Do you have similar standards for your friends?
Photo credit: Shutterstock
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