I think these two mutually exclusive, though closely related, ideas are extremely obscure and multi-dimensioned; in fact, I think we all individually have our own ideas about what each means and how they look. By extension, I do agree and believe that there are certain cultural and societal expectations that we do indeed need to follow. That said, I think age and understanding of one's self and one's own needs also help us learn how to be good friends and good people.
I always wonder if I am a good person. And I often feel I could be a better friend. It has taken me many years to understand how important certain life events and moments are and even longer to appreciate how to mark these moments properly. For instance, I let my mother-in-law see my wedding dress before my wedding. My mother was crushed. I did not understand fully what this type of gesture actually meant personally to my mom. I only knew what it meant to me: not much. There was no statement or underhanded anything that I was trying to do.
But I was not sensitive. I did not know.
I also have on several occasions in my life bailed on events for selfish and silly reasons. Only now do I appreciate how unfair and ultimately self-centered these actions were. I am learning that others do matter and that gestures are, indeed, quite important; actions DO speak louder than words.
Another example of something I never understood: family members' needing to rely on each other for support (whatever support it is they need). Before having children, I was not all that keen on care-taking for family. I felt I was being used. And I didn't like feeling that way: family are not free babysitting.
But then I had a child and I realized that, no, actually, for the most part, my family was looking for someone they could trust to care for their children. And, wouldn't it be great for my family's children to get to know and spend time with me?
Um. Yah. I am a slow learner.
All these things you are learning about me today are kind of my dark little secrets (that likely you all already know)....
And I feel ashamed.
I wish I was born knowing a bit more. But I am not stupid or naive. Just slow.
I also am a bit passive aggressive, though I am getting better at this. Rather than telling someone exactly how I feel (especially the negative), I'd do something to passively express my feeling. Like leaving events early - or backing out...
I need to do better (and am doing better) in this department.
AND if I say I am going to be somewhere - unless I am dying - or e is sick - then I will be there.
This is new.
Because I lost a friendship once that was quite dear to me. But it was heading in a direction I didn't like and so I behaved in ways I really DON'T to this day like. I looked bad. I feel bad.
I want to be a better person.
I am striving to be a better friend: to find the balance between my needs, my immediate family's needs, and then the needs of my family and friends.
Wish me luck.
Forthright and honest.
Giving of my time and my energy...
I think of one of you who read this - though there are many of you who read this and fit the same description - who no matter what is going on - always finds time to give to others. You give of yourself wholly to family and friends. You know how important your time is to others. You are kind. Even when your so busy your head could spin, you still stay until all hours at important family and friend events. You are my example.
What does being a good friend mean to you?