I have a friend who I consider family and know they would never do anything to hurt me intentionally. A friend who is so fun for nights when I’m feeling lonely and want to escape reality. A friend who I want to get to know more and grow a deeper friendship with.
I’ve always felt like I had trouble maintaining friends. Making friends isn’t hard for me but when it comes to having a continuous friendship, or friendships that last for years, is a bit harder. It’s hard for me to trust anyone or their intentions. Whether it’s me overanalyzing or overthinking, I always question if there’s an ulterior motive for why people are my friends.
If you have two friends in your lifetime, you’re lucky. If you have one good friend, you’re more than lucky.American novelist S. E. Hinton
Different Friends for Different Things
For me, I used to expect friends to be there for me like family. I also do expect myself to be there for my friends like family. Perhaps, there are people who don’t want that sort of responsibility. Some friends don’t want that commitment, but that isn’t a reflection of you and your friendship, but rather how much they’re willing to put out.
Some friends are better suited for you for emotional support. Other friends are better suited for you when it comes to going out and having fun. It’s hard to find friends who are going to meet your needs in all aspects of life.
I have a friend who calls me when they’re at their lowest, but when they’re feeling great, I don’t really hear from them. Some will take this as a selfish way and see it as being used, but others will feel touched that they’re the go-to during a time of need. It also begs the question of whether or not that person can be capable of being there for others. Some people can only handle so many emotions from others and live rather a more stoic lifestyle. Can you really get upset at someone who doesn’t have the emotional capacity to handle that?
Friends Are Like Relationships
Friendships, just like romantic relationships, require work. It requires honesty, vulnerability, and support. As I reflect back on all the years of different friendships, it makes me question why certain friendships didn’t end well. Why didn’t it end well and what could I do better?
Some would say I have bad judgment when it comes to friends (even worse judgment when it comes to romantic relationships, ha). I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but sometimes it reaches a point of no return.
I’m not saying all friendships that ended have been the other person’s fault, but a combination of both parties and build-ups throughout the friendship. Similar to a relationship, when build-ups aren’t addressed periodically, it can build resentment, and then towards the end, it’s unlikely that both parties will feel that it’s worth resolving.
Irons Sharpen Irons
A friend once asked me if I knew the quote, “Iron sharpens iron, steel sharpens steel”. I’ve never heard of the quote before and I asked which metal is better, ha. I looked into this and found that the quote doesn’t exist, but a similar one does by Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
The proverb can be interpreted as you are who you surround yourself with. Your friends are a good indicator of who you are as a person. The proverb can also be seen as you can’t be a better version of yourself without the help of others.
It’s hard to trust people sometimes, especially when you feel like people always disappoint you. I recently read that you shouldn’t focus on trusting friends, but you should focus on trusting yourself. Trust that you’ll be able to handle situations when it comes to being disappointed by people you love. I want to be a lot more open and receiving when it comes to others and hope that having this mindset will allow that.
Priorities in Life
As I get older, I’m reminded that everyone has different priorities in life and that’s out of your control. I used to always take everything close to my heart, and I still do occasionally, but I try to control what I can. It’s easier to close off friendships because of fear of getting hurt. I’m trying to tell myself that in order to experience great happiness, sometimes you have to experience great sadness.
I like to think that life is how you take it, and your perspective will indicate how happy you are.
Diana Elizabeth says
I love that you know that there are different friends for different parts of life, the going out, etc. That is so wise to realize! I never expect someone to be ALL the things I need because I have different people who fill different areas. To put that kind of pressure on every person is unrealistic. Some are more available, some are busy but will always respond and show up, and some show up in a crisis, and some don’t know what to say but they still care. Some are great gift givers, some are great thank you card writers and are generous. Some are not good at remembering birthday but they will get in their car and show up at your door when you are in dark hole. I say enjoy everyone for what they bring to the table, if it’s good, keep them, we all go through phases too, some we are closer to in different times than others, and some are constant. I think you have a great perspective so early on. I’ve also accepted that some people can be acquaintances and not everyone is a friend and that is OK! We can still love and enjoy the company and cheer acqutancts on, and friend chemistry is a real thing! So if it isn’t natural or feels like a fit, that’s ok too! 🙂 I really liked this post!
Huong Vo says
What a thoughtful article, Demi! You are right. Having different types of friends for different areas of your life is a good thing. Having a variety of friends totally helps. For example, it’s good to having blogging friends who understand what you as a blogger and it’s okay if some have no clue what you do. Heck, my three best friends are not bloggers nor are they influencers and I’m okay with that.
The next to the last sentence you wrote is true. I experienced GREAT sadness when I lost two former best friends whom I thought were indeed my bffs. However, they just up and left with no explanation for their guys. What did I gain from that? One good best friend and we’re going on 14 years this December. It is sad when you experience sadness, but you do know what to look for when it comes to true good friends.
When you have time, I hope you read an old article of mine: Three Signs: When to Let Go of a Friendship.
Thanks for sharing!
Demi Bang says
Hi Huong! Thank you for reading. I used to disagree about having different types of friends for different areas in life, but now as I’m getting older, it makes more sense.
Congrats on 14 years of friendship! That’s amazing and I hope I can also say that someday.