Today is international friendship day, a day to celebrate those who are your friends. But what does friendship mean to me? Why is it important to have and celebrate friendships and how can I celebrate mine?
‘A relationship of mutual affection’. Friends are people who are there for you, who can support you in times of need and who share in your world and help you enjoy times of happiness. And for whom you can do the same. I think friends should be understanding of each other, have honesty and trust between them, and have a forgiveness of mistakes. But most importantly there is a need for a connection, for a friendship to be ongoing and sustained. Without connection there is nothing.
In this social media age, we ‘friend’, ‘follow’ and connect with other human beings and interact to a large extent through our computers and phones. Up until recently, I have largely interpreted the social media as a superficial world, and I questioned that these connections can truly be friends rather than merely acquaintances. However since starting to blog I have found and read other peoples writing that has been inspirational and made me feel that others understand me, and started to build relationships with some of those people, by simply beginning a conversation.
I am not, and have not been in the past, a perfect friend. It must be acknowledged that it would be impossible to be such a thing, but I feel that it is important to say that you have tried. I would say that I have love and admiration for others, that I do make myself available to those around me when I am aware of difficulties that they are going through in their lives, and I try to bring people into involvement in my life. However to a large degree through my life, I have diminished the importance I place on myself in the lives of others and therefore I have also neglected to properly maintain my connection with others.
A very good friend, once gave me a mug which says ‘Friends are like stars, you don’t have to see them to know they are there’. This mug is a very special mug to me, and even though it is now chipped, it is the mug I always choose to use, simply because it was given to me by someone I feel is important. I wish that I could see this person more often, but I fear that since I had children (and especially two at once!) we have drifted apart, although I think I am as much to blame for this as anyone. But what I do now realise is I do need to make contact with her if I want my friendship to remain intact in the longer term. If what is not there is not shown to be valued or cared about then the connection will become diminished.
I can be the worst person at phoning, texting, emailing, posting on FB, tweeting. It is not that I am lazy, I wish that that were my only excuse, but I constantly feel that I am ‘interrupting’ others’ lives with my not so important life, and that I am being judged, although the truth is that it is only me that is judging myself. Somehow I am better in person, if the opportunity arises, but this can be difficult to orchestrate if none of the above occurs! I have come to realise how lonely and cut off I make myself in this way. So I have experienced how the neglect of friendship and social contact contributes to negative emotions and therefore realised its essentialness for supporting my happiness.
So how can I adequately celebrate my friendships? To friends old and new I open my arms and say I am here for you as I hope you can be available for me. What has gone before and what is yet to come does not matter in this moment, but it is not irrelevant at all. I am sorry if my inaction previously has made you feel unimportant in my life, that is not true, but I have been otherwise occupied with a ‘busy’ mind and that is not your fault. I am vowing to make all of you feel significant and wanted, by trying to maintain better contact with you all.
I acknowledge it is hard to reignite a friendship where the ground on which it was based has shifted and changed, and maybe repair is impossible. I recently read an article by Kate @ Pouting in Heels about how she clears people from her life that have hurt her. This kind of friendship decluttering may in time have an important role in helping me to rid myself of the negative feelings that surround old friendships that are past their best. But I will not do so without knowing that I have celebrated my friendships for what they are, were and have the potential to be.
Thank you all for being part of my life, it makes it richer in many ways.