Saturday, November 5, 2016

What is a friend?

I use the term "friend" very generously. If you are my colleague, I see you everyday, I have vented to you and we chat about your life and mine, you are my friend. Apparently this word has different connotations to different people.

As I grow older (and hopefully wiser) I try to remind myself to be accommodating and accept things/people/views different than mine without having to swing people over to my side and see things exactly as I see them. It was this trait that helped me listen patiently to my babysitter defend Trump's campaign, to dismiss how he was a womanizer, to dismiss how he disrespects women and to actually listen to the things that make him an attractive candidate to a section of the voters. I learnt something new. And I left it at that. This is conservation of the limited energy I have :)

Well back to "friend", I remember remarking to a work colleague of mine, someone who I had gone out to lunch with, heard about his divorce and ongoing life situation and challenges first hand and chatted with on a daily basis. I remarked to him about someone else that "Grace is my friend" and he jumped back and said "Whoa whoa whoa, that's a big statement!". I wonder if he would consider me his "friend".

Yesterday our big boss was telling the folks who sit by me to be nice and say good things about the company as I had not yet accepted their offer. Or she would have to move me by pleasanter people. And I said No, I like it here, these people are my friends. And one guy immediately remarked "That is a very strong word to use" I don't know if I would say that.

I remember saying to my brother's wife that I think of her as my sister and she had retorted that she thought of me as her "friend" and not her "sister".

Learning from that episode, at one point I had said to my husband's sister that I think of her as my friend and she remarked "Hold on, it takes me a long time to consider someone my friend and I don't think of you as a friend".

These statements had hurt me very much at that time. But now I realize that a "friend" is different things to different people. And that it does not reflect on me - it is them not me.

So today I am grateful that I do have lots of people who call me their friends and I get to call them mine. I am very grateful that I also have a handful of friends who call me their soul sister and their best friend forever. I am also grateful that my husband, my classic introvert, thinks of me as his best friend :) And I am grateful that God has given me the wisdom to accept the different definitions of "friend" with different people and to let go and continue on..

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