Tuesday, October 1, 2013

To Friendship and Beyond!

My list of 2013 New Year's resolutions was a pretty tall order.

I have definitely accomplished 3 out of 15 goals and for the other, more vague resolutions, I feel like I've made some progress. (And hey, what was I thinking with #10 - meditating?! With a new baby  I might as well have put try to sleep every night near a construction zone or iron all the sheets in the house.

But I've been thinking ahead to what I want to do next year (because I'm that type of person) and I think I'm going to keep it simple and focus all my efforts on #6 from this year:


Why suddenly so motivated?

Because I'm a Kappa Delta and in September they sponsor International Women's Friendship Month, silly! It's been on my mind all month!

No really, it's even MORE simple than my sorority bonds:
I've simply come to the harsh realization that I'm not that good of a friend.

In my head I'm a great friend. I'm as loyal as a dog with a shock collar. Or a squirrel to a power line. Or a unicorn to it's rainbow tail. But out in the real world the truth is I do not show this by words or actions.

Big Clue:
I had 10 women in my wedding (and wanted to add more) and I've only been a bridesmaid 4x (three of them were family weddings and my bestie who had me in her wedding deserves a patience medal of honor). That to me means that I'm not doing a good enough job staying close to people. My head is one place and my actions are in another.

This year I've come to terms with the fact that I'm a procrastinating introvert. I mean well, but I dislike (strongly) talking on the phone and I put off writing by e-mail or letter until the moment has passed.

So here are some concrete steps I'm going to take to be a better friend!

1) Communicate. Stop trying to pretend I am ever going to call someone but instead use the written word with abandon.

2) Participate. A lot of the time I get stage fright about going somewhere (a la new mom groups) and isolate myself. This is a bad habit. I don't have many regrets from my 20's but one big one is that I lived alone in college, grad school, and New York.

Yes, alone.
That's right, by myself.
Yup, even at nineteen.

This means that when people had impromptu get togethers because they lived in the same house or had late night heart to hearts I wasn't there. I missed a lot of bonding moments. I never had to go to the library to find some quiet. I was lonely a lot. And I still have a hard time sharing.

3) Forgive. This is a big one for me because I never even realized that I didn't. My aha moment came during my most recent move when I found a heartfelt apology letter from a friend from high school who did something to me (me being very important here) - something very typical for a high school girl to do. In my head this had been an egregious crime that ended our friendship. When I read her letter (which I didn't even remember her giving me) I realized that it was such a stupid, trite thing. And I had just not forgiven her. I still miss her being in my life some 15 years later. I come by my unforgiving nature genetically but it's time to cut the helix, so to speak. I need to learn how to forgive and practice it. I think my friendships will be stronger for it. Plus, people forgive me all the time. Time to return the favor.

4) Thank. A lot of people have done a lot of nice things for me. And I need to be better at thanking them.

5) Be Present. A little bit like participation but more in depth. I need to just be there for people. Be more helpful, be more there. I don't know how else to say it. A good friend's mother died last year (a woman who had been a 2nd mom to me) and I was so consumed with doing the "right thing" that I wasn't really present at the funeral. I didn't know what to say or do so I just did nothing. And I think all I needed to do was be more there and be myself.

Anyway- so that's what I've been thinking on this Fall day, this first day after Kappa Delta's International Friendship Month.

Watch out friends, you won't know what hit you.


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