Wednesday, February 12, 2014

BFF???

This can be deep or shallow depending on where you are when you wade in.
I have always thought that friendships eluded me. I felt that there was most likely something wrong with me for being unable to keep deep relationships with people, other than my husband.  I know that through our fifty years together he has been most forgiving of my deepest faults and accepting of my minor ones. 
I have learned through the years that I have always expected way too much of the people I have called my friends.  On the one hand I have always been attracted to charismatic personalities.  For a few of my BestFriendsNever or BFN,  beginning with Christa,( followed by Marissa, Margaret, and several others who shall not be named), it was admiration at first sight and a long time after to regret.  I really loved these women for their charm, wit, sense of style and I think, secretly , their apparent admiration for me and my qualities. Alas and alack, each of these friendships resulted in them betraying me and then moving along, out of touch forever.
I always did and still do,( and perversely so), miss their friendship.  They had me at go and when they went it left me with a huge emptiness I thought could not be filled.  I thought for a long time that everyone woman I loved and admired could not love me back and I felt a deep hole where there had been a best friend.  I felt there was something really lacking for me in the friendship department. 
Because of these failed relationships in my late teens and early twenty's I failed to be a good friend to others.  I had learned that friendships were expendable and if I was not very careful I would be hurt again. When you do not allow yourself to feel deeply you can shut yourself off from opportunities of more lasting friendships.  You can leave locations and companies and jobs with seldom a backward glance at relationships you have left behind.  I shut the door firmly on every job I ever left, to my regret now. 
My mom always told me you were blessed if when you were old you could count your good friends on one hand. I believed this. What I have now discovered is that if you hold to this and only seek a few good friends you are denying all the other good people and great qualities they have. I do not believe now that friendships should be limited.  Of course some people hold special places in our hearts, but we really need to be in relationship with as many people as we can.  I used to laugh at people with 800 face book friends.  I no longer laugh.  I see my sister-in-law and all the people who helped her plan and supported her through the marriage ceremonies of her daughter. I also see her daughter with 18 attendants at her wedding and am proud she values and honors so many of her friends.  We are a community to which we all contribute. 
Over subsequent years I have had many lovely friendships with many treasured and wonderful women, but I continued to search for a BFF who had the special haunting qualities of those who had abandoned me.  I ignored all the lovely roses and pansies, lilacs, hyacinths and irises around me and kept searching for the illusive exotic orchids which had escaped me.
Finally in my late 50's and 60's I learned to value the flowers of friendship which were offered to me and love the true beauty of these friendships which endured despite my stupidity.
I have finally learned to value the metals of gold and silver and even brass, copper, and iron. I have always been attracted to bling and glitter, flashing lights, and the exotic.  I still unfortunately have these attractions and denying them would mean denying a part of myself.  I am, however, more discerning about the value of what and to whom I am attracted.  Core values are very real to me now and I have thankfully lived long enough to re evaluate my life and friendships.  I have had wonderful experiences with old friends who have forgotten or forgiven my past mistakes and given me the renewed friendship and love, I was afraid I had lost. I also have new friends who mean the world to me and I am so thankful they have allowed me into their lives.
I am reminded of the hackneyed phrase" Make new friends but keep the old, some are silver and the others are gold."  And some who were lost were pure dross