May 13, 2010

Being a Good Friend and a Good Person

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?

6 comments:

  1. Although we drifted, I always considered you a good person and a good friend. You are tops in my mind, but I can see what you mean about wanting to be better. I think I am too negative and see the bad in things and people too often. I am too quick to judge. Ahhh, to be a work in progress eh?

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  2. I think Patience and acceptance are key points

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  3. It's amazing how our understanding of life (and ourselves!), and our sense of personal ethics grow as we move into our thirties.

    We think we know everything in our 20s. We think we know everything at 16, frankly...but we don't.

    I really like what you wrote. I'm looking at things in very similar ways. Who am I, as a friend? Who am I as a wife, a daughter, a sister?

    Life gets more complex in lovely ways the more you're willing to look at these interconections and what you, personally, owe to the people you love.

    i love that you're coming to all these conclusions. Some people never do.

    And some friendships, sadly, have to pass away to teach us things we'll carry with us for our whole lives.

    You're a very smart lady, but then i knew that back during our drunken University conversations. I'm just glad you've stayed so smart and introspective, and grown more so.

    (And I, too, am slowly teaching myself not to flake on social commitments. It's hard.)

    xo
    M.

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  4. Anonymous14.5.10

    It's hard to think of something to add to the previous 3 comments. I agree that life is a work in progress and entering your 30s is a great place to be. I thought I knew EVERYTHING at age 16 and that my mother knew NOTHING. Then, in my 20s, I feel like I floated around not knowing what to focus on (though I may have appeared focused) or which people to surround myself with. I lacked confidence. Now I feel better, like I sort of know what I'm doing and where I'm headed and what the most important things in (my) life are. I have better perspective. But there's still (and probably will always be) room for improvement...

    Do keep taking stock and learning from your experiences but don't be too hard on yourself. You've got more figured out than I think you realize. And, we both have so much to be thankful for. Yay for that.

    --le

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  5. Anonymous14.5.10

    i keep writing msgs here and then losing them.. i think i realize now that i dont scroll back down the re loaded page.. SORRY to have been so absent, but know that i check lil' bloggy blog several times a day! even though i know you're at work.. im weird i know..
    aaaaaaaanyway, thank you for reminding me to continue working on being better.. at friend and person and all things.
    p.s. i hope you and e and jb have a lovely lovely weekend that runs slowly and smoothly and that your list is shorter and that you check everything off..
    anonimo

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  6. Anonymous21.5.10

    Hi teacher bud,
    The best friends I have are all LOW MAINTENANCE. I have to say that that is the most important quality to me in a friend. Weird, I know. But there's a simple explanation. If you go a day, a week, a month without talking to someone... it doesn't mean that you don't love them, don't think of them, won't be there if they need you. It just means that life is busy but you think of them often and when you get the chance to get together and enjoy a great conversation, you ENJOY the time with them! I love my low maintenance friends. I can't handle the "I called you last and you haven't called me back" kind of people.
    Anywho, that being said, you are a GREAT friend. You understand that life is busy and you don't demand things of your friends. Plus I wore new shoes the other day and despite the fact that we were sitting at a SOLID table you somehow IMMEDIATELY noticed and jumped up and came over to me so I could show off my new shoes and jeans. I heart my SB. : )
    hv

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Thanks for your thoughts!

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