On Saturday, I was reading blog posts from #NaBloPoMo and ran across a post from my friend Brandie over at Journey Of A Thousand Stitches. She was speaking about the walls that some of us build when it comes to friendships. I sat and almost cried, because while I have lots of friends on paper, I don’t always feel that my friends are close. I know most of that comes from the fact that we are all adults and most of us are married and/or parents, and we just don’t have the time to sit around as if we were teenagers. Then I’m reminded that I didn’t have those types of friends when I was a teenager either. My parents were strict. They’ve eased up quite a bit with the grands, but us kids. WOWZA! I am indeed one of those children that appreciate a set of parents that laid down the law, but I’ll also be the first to admit that sometimes when I was a kid I thought that they were doing the most.
What really brought this post about is the fact that when I sat down to think, I was reminded about the fact that lots of people consider me a close friend, and I won’t extend the same courtesy to them. Even my best friend and I do this roundabout where neither of us wants to accept the defeat of being the needy one, and I’m usually the one that concedes.
It also doesn’t help that everyone considers me loud. Seriously. And it bothers me. Seriously. Not because I’m in denial, but for the majority of my interactions, I am not that. My LAUGH is huge, and loud, and lately, all of a sudden complete strangers are coming up to me to say that they love my laugh. I found it odd the first time. And the second time. Then, the third time happened, and I almost got creeped out. Seriously (I’m going to see how many times I can fit that word in.) Then it started happening regularly. So, I was like, “Ok God. I hear ya. My laugh is unique to me. If other people love it, why can’t I? Loud and all.” Yes, I talk to God like that. It’s our thing.
Another problem that I have is being a bit jealous of the fact that I don’t have a sister tribe IN THE CITY with me like Carrie Bradshaw did in Sex and the City. I mean, I’m aware that they were all flawed, but they were friends. They traveled together. They had a standing Sunday brunch date. It was wonderful. It was also fake. Well for me it was.
So, basically, I have to get over myself enough to start fostering relationships in the right way. Amazingly enough, I don’t start with people that I have known for a while, because I don’t want to hear the whole “You’re acting different,” thing when I’m attempting to step outside of my anti-social box. I asked a couple of friends what they do to foster friendships, and then I asked the head of this household and this is what they had to say:
Amiyrah from 4 Hats and Frugal says:
We’ve recently built a relationship with our mail carrier. It was actually [my husband’s] doing. We made a point of finding out what time she puts the mail in our box, and the little boy and I try to greet her. With each question she’s asked us, we’ve asked the same kind of question in return. Her family life, how much she loves her job, her favorite things to do on the weekend, etc.
Brandi from Mama Knows It All says:
…start by being intentional about wanting to build relationships with folks. When you go into the store or go to check your mailbox, make sure you’re not on your cell phone, look up, smile. Look at folks and make eye contact so that you can start a conversation.
Mandi from Chewsy Lovers says:
I’ve built a relationship with my child’s teacher. She spends just as much time with him as I do so I thought that connection was important. I always attend things at the kid’s school and I never miss parent teacher conferences because I want her to know I’m invested in the kids. But we have normal conversation I know what she likes, her alma mater, things she’s into and I think that building that relationship has made her more invested in my son. Not that he’s her favorite but she looks after him. Buck says all the time you have to take care of what takes care of you and I’ve taken that approach with their teachers.
Shomari aka Mr. Houseful says:
Pay attention to the little things. Be genuine.
He has such a way with words.
I know that I do all of these things for other people, but my advice is to let those same people who you love wholeheartedly do it for you. No one likes being used, even if it’s from the receiving end. We need to make sure that we’re not doing “charity work” to make ourselves feel better, while cutting people off from loving on us.
Does any of this make sense? I know that I’ve had lots of word vomit as of late, but so many things that have been on my mind, I’m able to write about and just get it out. Let yourself be loved, and before you know it, those pesky walls that we’ve built around ourselves will come a tumblin’ down, and we’ll find ourselves smiling a lot more.
I promise to do better. And do big hearty laughs as much as I can. Starting today.