I realised something today. I don’t actually know how friendship works.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not a reflection on my friendships. I have wonderful friends, amazing friends, friends for whom I would walk through fire. Friends with whom I can laugh but friends who walk quietly with me in darkness when they need to. Friends who were friends to me when I couldn’t be a proper friend to them, but who persevered anyway. Friends with whom I can pick up a friendship after a yearlong absence as though it’s been a gap of a week. I think I’m actually a bit boring when it comes to chatting on and on about how amazing my friends are.
This is a reflection about friendship itself. It struck me that I’m friends with my friends because of my friends. Most of my interactions with friends are instigated by them, not because I don’t want to spend time with them, but because I’m too scared that they don’t want to spend time with me. I don’t want to be a bother, or drag them down. Because for most of my adult life, friendships happened in spite of my husband’s wishes. I worked hard to keep people at a distance, and got very good at it. What I didn’t get good at was letting people close.
So now I’m working on learning that. I’m going to try to be confident in instigating contact with those people whom I love so dearly, who have been light and strength to me. I’m going to continue to care for them, and be a part of their lives, and support them, but I’m also going to try to be more gracious in allowing them to care for me, in seeking that care when I need it rather than letting them seek me out. And I’m going to try to stop second-guessing everything. I have no idea why my friends like me. But I’m going to try to tell myself that I don’t need to. They do like me; they do seek me out; they have proven, time and time again, that I can trust them. Now it’s time to get over it and start to return the favour.