Friendship should be a Two Way Street
Friendship…. This is something I think many of us take for granted, it’s a valuable relationship that teaches us from a young age about the true values of life. It teaches us that there are different types of families, some we are born into and some that we find by fate - that we can love someone even if they are not related to us, and that we can trust people not related to us by blood. People say that true friendship is rare, but this is not true. The truth is that every single person on this planet has problems at one time or another and battles insecurities and worries, and sometimes they will fail a friend. No one is perfect all the time, life happens to everyone. This doesn’t mean that they are any less of a true friend than others just that we are all human. We have to make adjustments for life. This doesn’t however let a person off the hook for never reaching out to their friend.
The main idea is that it’s important to keep in mind that friendship is not a privilege, but rather a responsibility. It takes work just like any other relationship between two people. In today’s electronic age most have smart phones or at least text capability. How hard is it to shoot someone a text with 3 words – “thinking of you”, or “I miss you” or “let’s catch up” anything to let that friend know that you value them and think of them too. I know that I may fail some of my friends from time to time as my life gets super busy, but I try very hard to reach out to most and at least send a text or leave a voicemail or a quick email. A lot of us communicate on FB even, which is still a connection.
If you have a friend who lives far away from you, then you probably know that it might be difficult to stay in touch. Maybe your lives are on completely different time zones or schedules and that friend is free when you are working, and maybe you call every week but never hear back, then are keeping track about who made the last phone call. This last idea is the thing that ruins many friendships. It is true that friendship is a two way street that needs attention from both parties, but it is also true that this kind of competition can cause harm to relationships. After all, you should value the moments when you are talking to your friend instead of writing down the number of times you do get to talk or for how long. In this case the person not responding back has some responsibility and if the person feeling rejected doesn’t speak up then they have to accept responsibility as well. I myself have an amazing friend who I have known since Junior High. She lives down south, many states away from NH. We don’t get to talk as often as either of us would like due to both of our busy lives with work and families. However, we each make it a point to reach out to the other on a consistent basis even if we can’t connect and just text that we want to catch up on our lives soon and that we miss each other. When we do get to talk (and sometimes its 6-7 months since our last call) we pick up right where we left off and there is never any hard feelings for our time apart. This is a true friendship that has lasted over 30 years.
However, that being said, there are some friends who never make the effort of calling, writing or texting you. They leave the responsibility of being friends in your hands, so to speak. The only time you ever make plans is when you reach out and ask them, or you send the HELLO text or you make the first move to start a conversation. I too, like yourself, have friends like this and I can tell you from firsthand experience it’s disappointing and hurts. I can’t tell you how often I hear this issue from clients and other friends experiencing it as well. It is more common than you might think. I only share this with you because sometimes we outgrow certain friendships in our lives and the universe is shining light on the issue to help you open your eyes. As I said friendship should be a two way street and if you are the only one making the effort to stay in touch then you might want to rethink this friendship…. NO ONE is too busy to send you a quick text every few weeks or once a month. We are all busy. We have families, kids, pets, work, responsibility….Everyone can come up with an excuse if they want one. Don’t let this happen. Sometimes friends just want to say Hi but other times they might be going through something life changing and really, truly need you to be there for them. Everyone has some down time when they can call you on their lunch break at work, or on their drive home multitasking, text you while the kids are napping, or even take their phone into the restroom with them to send a quick text. It only takes a few seconds. Is your friendship one sided? If you have such friends and can relate to this it is probably very frustrating for you, and this is understandable. In this situation you have every right to say that you wonder whether or not you have been true friends in the past.
Take a moment to reflect on the friends in your life and if you play either role in this scenario? I don’t mean to offend anyone, and if this rings true for you and as you read this, think you might be one of the friends neglecting your friendships, then maybe this can be a wakeup call for you to pay more attention to your friendships if they are important to you, rather than risk that other person deciding you aren’t worth keeping around. If you are one of the ones who always makes the effort to reach out, then maybe you will want to continue doing so or maybe you will want to ask that person just how important your relationship is to them? This could be a great opportunity to open up communication channels in your friendships. Give it some thought and I hope that this helps some of you out there feeling neglected in your friendships to know that you are not alone – again you would be surprised to hear how common this complaint is! Friendships do require give and take so if you are ready to commit to that, then I hope you have long, happy and healthy friendships for years to come!
by Lisa Ouellet