“They will ignore you until they need you” – Unknown (or my mom)
A recent experience had me wondering what the definition of friendship really is… And I love that I have this tremendous public platform to help me figure it all out.
As a person who has been known to say things like “I have to because my friend asked,” or “I’m doing this for a friend”so needless to say I was stunned when I ASKED and got crickets (no offense to any actual crickets who may be reading this.) Have you ever had that experience? Eye-opening doesn’t begin to describe it.
Now, I’m not calling anyone specific out on the carpet. Instead, I’m calling a whole lotta people out on social media because it’s way more fun. Yes, I am calling out anyone who’s ever been a half-ass friend. Why? Because this circumstance made me question so much about myself. Do they not like me? Are they keeping their distance because I have “mental illness?” Are they mad at me? Have I offended them in some way? Why do they hate me? Are they pissed at my politics? Do they think I don’t care about them? Am I a horrible person?
Then I stopped. I was done. Why? Because logic set in forcing me to realize: I did MY part. I extended the offer. I communicated. This issue lies with THEM.
I have heard numerous times that people’s reactions reflect who THEY are, not who YOU are. In their world, it’s all about them including their “all about them” attitude. If you guessed “What is self-serving behavior” Congrats, you just won final Jeopardy. When people ignore or don’t support the things that are important to their friends, they aren’t being good friends. In reality, you’re in a one-sided relationship.
So why am I choosing to speak about this publicly? Because I blamed me. I took on all the woe and accepted it all as my fault. I accepted being a horrible person. I accepted that my illness has prevented me from being SUPERFRIEND like I think I should be. I accepted that my preference to stay in my comfort zone as of late has made me appear aloof, elusive and awful. I also accepted that acceptance of all THIS is straight up B-A-N-A-N-A-S and that if I continued to blame me then I have surrounded myself with all the wrong people.
The irony here though is that a) Fake Friends won’t read this post b) Fake Friends won’t realize this is about them c) Fake Friends will blame me because the sky is blue. And yes, they are FAKE FRIENDS. Fake, PLASTIC Friends to be more specific (because who doesn’t like a Radiohead reference from the 1990s.) Before the dawn of the fake friend apocalypse, I tried to be the best kind of friend I could possibly be. I never said no. No was not a word in my vernacular. Perhaps I overcompensated too much for the fact that I was trying to escape my depression and anxiety by being TURBOFRIEND (she’s SUPERFRIEND but waaayyyy more attentive and with that flashing star from Super Mario Bros.)
What are my takeaways from all of this as it pertains to the definition of friendship? Am I going to ignore people? No. Am I going to practice more self-blame? No. Am I going to go off on them? No. Instead, I too can practice one-sided friendship. I too have crickets at my disposal. And best of all, I can start saying NO which will be both healthy and fun! Is it stooping to their level? Maybe, but I’m okay with that.