I have always been social. Friendship has always been very important to me. I have spent hours upon hours emailing, mailing, phoning, thinking about, praying for, and visiting with friends. I am definitely a people-person. I have always enjoyed making new friends, planning friend get-togethers and the like, and through it all, I've seen friends as a necessity. I still do.
After I had to burn a bridge (that still leaves me feeling guilty, unfortunately), I kind of turned a corner. I realized that sacrificing my time, my children, my spouse, my sanity, and my money on friendships that weren't, aren't, can't be, and shouldn't be reciprocated was kind of stupid. I mean, don't get me wrong, I will always value friendship. Service and love are the most important things, hands down! I love my friends. But I simply do not have the time to invest the way I used to. I don't. And it's left me feeling kind of down about it. A bit.
See, I don't comment on blogs anymore (although I read them). I don't email. I occasionally will still plan a get-together, but not very often. Weeks and months will go by before I remember to reply to a message on Facebook. And as I'm doing this (the "not replying"), I keep thinking, "This isn't me! I'm the best friend! I'm the go-to gal! I'm the planner! The one to rally! The glue that holds all friendships together!" And yet, through the midst of this jarring change, I also have seen something in myself that hasn't really been there before. I'm not sure how to describe it, but it's very much like relief. Kind of like freedom. This ability to not feel guilty, not worry, and not stress over relationships is so freeing! But it's still so new for me. In fact, just recently a friend of mine wrote, after I apologized for taking so long to reply to her email:
Honestly, please don't worry about returning my emails. I do love them and enjoy our friendship, but I would hate for you to ever feel any guilt about an un-returned email sitting in your inbox! So, send them when you can and I will, too!
Isn't that what true friendship is about? Especially amongst mothers? Our time is so precious, so divided, so needed. It's taken up by diapers, homework, laundry, cooking, cleaning, bills, dates, ouchies, discipline, teaching, comforting, church callings, community service, book club (hey, it's a priority for me!), and birthday parties. Friendship is important, too, but when it clogs up the rest of our lives, it's no longer a good thing. It needs to be nurtured, yes, but in a healthy way. My obsession with being everybody's best friend was clogging up my life. In a negative way.
So, friends, if you don't hear from me for a while, please don't take it personally. I can promise you that I still love you. I do. Friendship will always be important to me. In fact, I'll probably still plan a get-together this summer! I may even plan a fabulous weekly play-group for all those in the Utah Valley area (something I promised another friend. Whom I still haven't seen. Yet. Because of everything I just wrote). But I won't be worrying constantly about how I'm perceived. Or how everyone is doing. I'll be here for you if you need me and ask it of me --but don't be surprised if I don't seek you out. It's really not meant to be a slight --I'm just trying to be healthier all the way around.
How do friendships work in your life? Have you had to change the way you view personal friendship?