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Aug 01, 2007

Friends and Friendship

This is what I think I'm learning: my life will be much richer when I learn to expect less of my friends, and to ask more of our friendships.

Followup:  thank you to those who attempted to parse the previous version of this blog*. Adam's comment illustrated in part what I was trying to say, which is something like this:

I suspect that I've often thought or unconsciously hoped that my friendships would be good all the time simply because I picked great (and greatly suited for me) people to be friends with.  The thing is, of course, that even the great and greatly suited people will not always be what I want them to be: they will not be mind readers who know what I want, they will not always be in an appealing mood, they will not always be healthy, they will not always be fair, they will not always be heroic, they will not always be without an unreasonable need, they will not always be perfectly patient with me, and they will not always be the person I was attracted to and thought I knew when we first met.  They will not always be what I want them to be, where I want them to be, when I want them to be.

It is a gift to grant myself this disillusionment.

And the next gift will be to live with the faith and understanding that friendship is not only built from acts of asking, giving, taking, and erring; but that it also grows stronger from the mix of things that result: receiving, pleasing, surprising, forgiving, correcting, and understanding.  And maybe even at the end, accepting and appreciating.

It's not that I don't do some of these things now.  But I think I'm ready to peel another layer of the onion -- which comes, like all good onions, with sweetness and tears.


*which read, "my life will be much richer when I start having lower expectations of my friends, and higher expectations of our friendships."

03:53 AM in Misc.Blog 2007 | Permalink


What does that mean?

Posted by: pinky | Aug 1, 2007 5:09:38 PM

Curious. Is it about synergy?

Posted by: Stew | Aug 1, 2007 6:32:23 PM

All relationships begin with our own personal relationship with ourselves. How well we know ourselves currently in life. Knowing what our expectations for ourselves helps determine what our expections are for our friendships.

Therefore ~ "It is a two way street"..."it takes two to tango"...etc....clear, effective, positive communication being the key.

Posted by: carter | Aug 2, 2007 10:24:37 PM

I think that is a great philosophy; one I need to ponder.

Posted by: Tonya | Aug 4, 2007 3:28:03 PM

My take: You have to lower your expectations of friends because they are inevitably going to disappoint you. Even that person that you describe to others as "the nicest person in the world" will forget your birthday or ruin your party by bringing a jerk as a guest ... just accept it.

But when you really need people, their friendship will carry you through the worst days of your life.

Posted by: Adam | Aug 10, 2007 7:38:50 PM

I will have very different expectations of my friends in the next years of my life - I can only wonder at what the future will bring.

Posted by: Pinky | Aug 17, 2007 11:02:27 AM

Thank you for following up on this. I was confused as to what you meant and I get it a little more now. Friendships are as complicated as partnerships and family relationships, unless you hold everyone at arm's length. My closest friends and I have gone through and survived lots of conflict. They've disappointed me, and I've disappointed them. Whatever the quality is that brings friends together in the first place and then KEEPS them together is really hard for me to quantify. It would be great if we could bottle it and keep it, to apply to everyone, hm? As it is, my own friendships fall into 2 categories. The ones I know I'll have forever, and the ones I think are likely just passers through. I'm not always right. :-)

Posted by: Stew | Sep 10, 2007 7:04:52 AM