What kinds of behaviors do we expect from our friends?
We expect them at their very best to be kind, supportive, loving, connected and loyal. We expect them to be happy for us when we succeed and comfort us when we are failing. We expect them to be understanding and on our level, or at least, we expect them to attempt to understand. We expect that we can trust them and we expect that we can tell them anything.
At their worst, we expect nothing, really. And when anything other than nothing happens, then everything is satisfactory and status quo.
There are different kinds of people we have in our lives that provide us with different types of satisfaction. In a sense, friendship is heirarchical. Friendship can be linear and chronological but not always. Friendship can be fluid. It can flicker on and off. It can be constellated across the sky. It can burn out. It can wilt. The bottom line is, friends should make you feel good. There should be a thread no matter how short or long, that connects, that should and is willingly followed right to its end point. When there is no longer a thread, or the thread is frayed, or there aren’t good feelings, there isn’t friendship anymore.
I rack my brain for what I can do better, what I did wrong, and how or why things frayed in any and all of my former friendships. I’ve asked myself what made me the kind of person who was at the mercy of bad feelings and disconnected threads. I wonder and wonder and wonder, until I realize I want to excommunicate people. I realize this because I’m asking questions that nobody should have to ask about people they care about. I realize this because I am alone in certain friendships. I realize this because my friends can’t be happy for the good things in my life and they remain mostly un-supportive, unfeeling and uncaring about my milestones and failures.
With this realizations, I think about how to tactfully and respectfully end things with people, or if and how I can. And then I realize something else: I don’t have to excommunicate people. Because these people have already excommunicated me. They haven’t gotten me birthday or Christmas cards, they haven’t visited me, they feign interest in making big plans with me and then make those same plans with others. I have been excommunicated. I have emptied my pockets. For whatever reason, and it’s a reason I don’t know, I’m the one who has been ostracized. And I don’t care who knows that I know that. I don’t care who feels they ‘won’ by reading this. And you know why? Because I already won.
I won because I realized if I were to craft a definition of friendship, it would be something like the following:
“Friendship is lasting relationships that mean more than any other relationships. Being among real and authentic friends doing anything at all will make you feel fulfilled and joyous just from the pleasure of someone’s company. Friendship gives the ability to be yourself, feel comfortable, confident, loved, supportive and cared for. Friendship is the merging of hearts, even if those hearts are completely different and it is totally unlikely that they ever could or would merge. Friendship is understanding. Friendship is finding joy in tiny moments. Friendship doesn’t have boundaries, and it doesn’t know judgment, and it is beneficial. Beneficial for everyone involved in the relationship.”
I came upon this definition by experiencing recently, real friendships and real relationships that have fulfilled me in all or any of the aforementioned ways. If I was excommunicated from friendships that did not give me this… well, so be it.