There is an old but sad proverb, “Friendships come and friendships go.” And that may be true, but I believe friendships are always worth it. Even the brief ones teach us something and add to our lives.
I enjoy my eclectic group of female friends. You know, darlings, it takes time to build a friendship. Because one has to understand the emotional psyche of a woman. We come in a complex and complicated package. Complex is putting it mildly because we want emotional intimacy. But it often becomes tricky and perplexing because of the thinking patterns of women.
The question is: What type of woman friend do you want to attract? I have learned that the survival rate of friendships depends on their similarity. In other words the closer the woman is to my way of thinking the better the chance it has of permanency. If one of my friends disappoints me or vice versa, my goal is to have an open conversation to fix what I don’t want broken.
It is very important to let down your guard when you care. Vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness. Try not to let your insecurities silence you. Personally, I have no qualms about showing my vulnerable side. This has boded me well.
Remember it is never too late to pick up the phone to reconnect with a lost friend. After the age of 50 you have the time.
TWO DIFFERENT FRIENDSHIPS
Many women pass through our lives. A select few have become near and dear. While many others have become wonderful acquaintances. In every relationship, there is a chance of misunderstandings and aggravations. People are people.
I recall two friendships that were saved because we let down our barriers and showed our vulnerable side. I am glad. Two very different stories. Two very different lessons.
A FRIENDSHIP GONE ASTRAY
My friend and I have enjoyed each other’s company. This includes evenings spent with our husbands. A few years ago we made plans for dinner and a concert. Another friend of mine asked at the last minute to join us. I did not mention this to my friend. Instead, I immediately agreed. After that evening, I felt our friendship cool.
When she saw me, she would give me a kiss hello but she never picked up the phone to call. I did not call. Summer ended and we left Chicago for our home in California. Over the winter we did not communicate.
Upon our return to Chicago, one evening my Ultimate Concierge and I ran into our friends. Our husbands were very friendly but I felt the chill in the air.
Her friendship mattered so I called her and over the phone asked what was bothering her. She was very open and her honesty made me happy. She told me that something was bothering her, but that she didn’t want to talk about it on the phone.
I said, “Let’s meet and talk.”
She replied, “Fine.” That is how she talks. When she used clipped words I got her gist. I was puzzled and looked forward to our meeting. But, I’ll admit, it was with trepidation. Why trepidation? She is a very strong woman!!
MENDING A FRIENDSHIP
We met and had a very open dialogue. She shared what upset her. It had nothing to do with inviting another couple. What upset her was a comment my other friend made that I happened to agree with. By the way, I still do agree with my other friend.
I was truly shocked by my friend’s evaluation of my other friend’s comment and to my response. I felt and still feel she took it to extremes. Nevertheless, I validated her feelings while trying to make her understand my point of view.
We have continued our very close friendship because I opened the door and she was open to a discussion. I respect her for her willingness to converse. If she did not care she would have shut the door in my face. I know her ‘attitude!’ We both allowed our vulnerability to save our friendship. We are closer today than ever.
Women pride themselves on the degree to which they will allow another into their personal thoughts. When they do allow this, it gives them a greater connection into the details of each other’s lives.
Some women prefer to stay close to the chest with their true thoughts. However doing so, they miss out on the opportunity to have an honest exchange. In these instances, the friendship does not have much of a chance of surviving.
Our friendship was tested. Obviously, my friend needed to vent. I wanted to listen. Our willingness to take the time to meet was a silent message, we cared. I am smiling.
I HAD FINALLY HAD IT
It takes a lot for me to say, “I am done.” There was a friendship that had highs and lows over several years. I decided my friend’s last comment was the last straw. After reasoning with myself, I sat down to write an email that would end our friendship. I was, DONE!
But I wasn’t! Isn’t changing our minds a woman prerogative, darling? Of course it is. That is what makes us interesting!
Several months after I told her I was ending our friendship, I was going through files and found an email from her 19 years old. I was glad.
I sat down and wrote this email.
For the past month, I have been redoing my file cabinet folders. I am not a paper saver except for certain sentimental ones.
You sent me an article in an email, ” I Wish You Enough.” I found it as I was meandering through my stash of papers. Thank you for sending it to me 19 years ago.
In reflection, I owe you an apology and I hope you will find it in your heart to accept it.
When you wrote to me several months ago apologizing to me I should have been gracious. I should have accepted your kind words. I am sorry for my actions.
Words count, especially the written word, and your manner of expression finally touched a negative nerve in me. I just did not want to be chastised any longer the way you chastise.
In reflection I understand that this is you. And if we are to be friends and I hope this happens, I will try to overlook your comments and I hope you can be gentler with me.
I believe in fate. I believe finding the email you sent to me 19 years ago was a positive message to rekindle our friendship. And I hope you agree.
I look forward to hearing from you.
My girlfriend’s reply:
Thank you for your heartfelt letter.
We are living through turbulent times. (2+years of Covid – social isolation- masks-political unrest-war-and seeing loved ones face terrible health issues.)
Life is short and carrying a grudge is not healthy.
We have shared a lot of fun times and memories together.
Time to put the past misunderstandings behind us and begin anew.
I hope you will play Mah Jong and canasta with us this summer. We return from Palm Springs at the end of May.
Forever in friendship.
BE A VULNERABLE WOMAN
Vulnerability is powerful. In my mind, it is a sign of courage. Many women think vulnerability is a weakness, it is a positive strength.
I have come to know myself better and feel empowered because I am authentic with my feelings. The greatest friend is an authentic friend. I am smiling!
THE JOYS OF VARIED FRIENDSHIPS
I genuinely love spending time and sharing information with my friends. You are all my online friends and I delight in writing my stories for you. I treasure my offline friendships and there is nothing I would not do for a friend.
After the age of 50, we have time to nurture our old friendships and welcome new women into our lives. I will try and nurture an old friendship and I have already welcomed a new friendship into my life.
Have you ever said goodbye to a friendship? Have you ever later changed your mind? Please share in the comments! I would love to hear your story.