I have a hard time keeping friends. I have a hard time keeping friends because the following criteria are important to me:
– You must be supportive
– You must not have jealousy towards the other person
– You must be a person who isn’t threatened by your friend’s successes
– You must understand that you’re not in high school anymore, and you will probably only see this person once a year if that
– You must be drama-free (again: this isn’t high school anymore; we don’t gather a squad to gang up on others)
– You must lift each other up, not bring one another down
– You must be an all-around loving individual: racist, homophobic, or otherwise offensive “jokes” are unacceptable
You might be saying, “But C, those are all obvious and necessary aspects of a friendship!” To which I would reply: no doubt about it! But there are few who adhere to them all.
Now, I’m not saying I’m perfect. I definitely sway from the criteria now and again (who doesn’t). But I certainly can say the following about myself:
– I am always supportive – I will never relish in your failures, and will always join joyfully in your successes.
– I am never jealous! – I could have a bit of FOMO about where you are, or totally wish I had that handbag of yours, but I would never purposefully disregard your existence based on that. I won’t make you feel guilty for living a good, successful life. And I won’t fail to acknowledge something that makes you happy, just because I may feel that you’ve received enough attention from it from others, or just because it doesn’t make me happy (as in, it’s not something I would personally get joy from). What kind of friendship is that? If it makes you happy, it makes me happy.
– We all have a little drama that we bring to a relationship, but I can assure you that 99.9% of the time I’m making an effort to have the drama dissipate. While I may be controversial (if you hold a position that doesn’t preach equality), confident (I am not afraid to speak up), and hard-headed (that’s the Italian in me), it’s for fighting for equal rights and opportunities, not to create arguments or drama.
– I have no reason to ever bring a friend down.
– I’m an all-around loving individual.
I have found that there are so many women who have been taught to feel small or ashamed of themselves, that they’re unable to have relationships with other women where they can celebrate each other’s accomplishments. Instead, they go out of their way to ignore them or make them feel small and ashamed, as well. Rather than taking the time to share a compliment, they search for an opportunity to critique or tease or insult. Rather than being supportive when the other is down, they look for a chance to say, “I told you so.” Rather than reaching out to say, “Hey, what an awesome opportunity for you!” they instead pretend as though they never saw your opportunity in their newsfeed or heard it through the grapevine.
Women are not meant to feel small. Women are not meant to be ashamed or embarrassed by their success or their beauty or the things that make them feel happy in life. Women should feel comfortable to share those things with the world, unabashedly, and women should feel comfortable complimenting one another on those things. Just because you take the time to compliment or acknowledge a woman and her life, doesn’t mean you are declaring: “Your life is better than mine,” or “I am jealous of you,” or “Your successes are greater than my own.” That’s not how life works.
Individual success is measured by personal goals. If one person has a goal to keep themselves entertained in life (for example: buying and going to concerts frequently), then achieving that goal is a wonderful thing! If another person has a goal to keep themselves occupied by capturing beauty, and acknowledging their personal pride in a digital space, then there is nothing wrong with that, either! We all have a different purpose. We all have different goals. We all find our own happiness in different ways. I would never shame you for how you find pleasure in your life, and I should not be shamed for mine.
And I have been observant as to where women choose to direct their support: you cannot be selective with your friendships! If you wish to maintain them, then being supportive towards one individual who’s existence, perhaps, does not make you feel threatened and small, but avoiding supporting another woman in your life shows that the problem is not with that second woman but with your own self-worth. You cannot be an active member of one friendship, but expect the other to thrive despite your passivity.
When another person’s focus is to bring a friend down rather than lift them up, that only clarifies to me that they lack personal goals, self-worth, and purpose. If you have a purpose in life, being supportive and excited for your friends comes naturally. If you feel lost and unhappy, then that reflects in how you treat your friendships, as well. And I have no time to keep myself tied into friendships where the other individual is carrying that weight and bringing me down with them.
I am an adult.
I have dreams and goals and plans. I cannot waste my time on nonsense or inauthentic friendships that aren’t bringing me closer to achieving those things for myself. If you cannot help lift me as I aim to help lift you, then it’s time for me to simply let go.
I am lucky to have two female friends in my life – coworkers who have become like family – who are endlessly supportive, loving, and drama-free (B & M – I love you, ladies). I have found that I am drawn to friendships with women older than me because I know that my relationships with them will be authentic, they will be adult (ie. mature), and they will be a reflection of what true friendships between females should be.
It seems that the rumors of millennials are true: they’re so desperate to bring other people down as a way to climb up. They are so confused on their own purpose, correlating people’s failures to their own successes, that they have difficulty truly growing up. Someone struggling in their life does not mean you’re doing better, just as your personal struggles are not a reflection of someone having a better life than you. We all have our struggles. You do not climb higher in life by stepping on people’s backs, but by lifting one another up.
This old-soul can’t handle it, anymore. I don’t have the time or energy to waste.
I hate Mondays.