Sorry I haven’t been around recently. In addition to the usual rumble and tumble of everyday life, I also took some time out to visit one of my best friends for her surprise 40th birthday. It is ironically fitting that I start this post talking about my friend Lisa because she was the first friend who really taught me how to be a friend. Of course, I had other friends before her, but much of those experiences were highly conditional upon social rankings or what resources I had to give (not necessarily material goods, but precious resources nonetheless). Lisa unconditionally loved me, probably even more than some of my family members. She genuinely cheered for me when I succeeded and gently but firmly scolded me when I acted inappropriately. She helped me grow up, and did a fine job, if I may say so myself.
Over the same weekend of Lisa’s party, I had a run-in with two other friends of mine. I can’t get into the details, but let’s just say each of them – for different reasons – put me in a terrible position. The kind you shouldn’t ask friends to do. I ended up mending fences with one and cutting off the other. It has all been incredibly eye-opening and painful for me, as I’m sure as it has been for them. The friend I said goodbye to – and I did actually call and say goodbye – is someone I’ve known since I was 19 years old. I never could have imagined we would be this far apart from one another, and that it would be me insisting on circumstances staying that way. The whole weekend has had me thinking about friendships, and as I quickly approach my 40th birthday, what kind of friendships I want for the second part of my life. Which brings me to the title of this post: What Kind of Friends Do YOU Have? Cheerleaders, Competitors, or Leeches? Let me explain:
These are the crown jewels of friends. They are generally positive people who root for your success and happiness. While they’re an optimistic bunch, they don’t blow smoke up your ass when you’re wrong, and make sure to set you straight. They’re also the kind of friends who are still happy for you, even when things are wanting in their own lives…at most, they will feel a ‘velvet envy’ – meaning, they’re excited for you and just wish the same for themselves. If you find yourself one of these, grab onto them for dear life because they’re about as rare as a big winning lotto ticket.
The competitor friend does really like you. Really. Just as long as they feel they’re one up on you in the rat race of life. Maybe not in all areas, but in enough to make themselves feel better. It’s a shame because otherwise, they’re a great hang. And even more of a shame because most friends fall into this category.
We’ve all had at least one of these – the vampire friend. They call you constantly, to the point where you other family and friends are wondering what the hell is wrong with them (and resentful of all the energy they suck out of you). They’re never really happy, even when things are going well for them, and when things suck, boy has the world comes to an end. What’s even worse is that when you offer some constructive solutions, they’ll give you lip service that they’ll think about it, then just go back to complaining and sucking the life force right outta you. Because that’s what they feed on. Get it?
Run, don’t walk, away from someone like this – not just to save yourself, but to hopefully get him or her to someday get their shit together once and for all.
Throughout the entire debacle, my cousin Lee was counseling me. Lee is not just my cousin, but is also the older sister I never had. I revel in her awesomeness, and she’s not just a family member, she’s my head cheerleader. And you know what she said to me after the whole weekend-crappy-thingy? “Sometimes, the universe brings these kind of situations to a head all at one, in order for you to clear out the negativity from your life and start a new cycle. I think that’s what has happened here for you, honey.”
And you know what? I believe she’s right on. Thank you Lee (and Gia, of course). Thank you Lisa. Thank you Raina. Thank you Erin. Thank you Michele. Thank you Jason. Thanks to the friends who are my soul sisters (and one brother).