02 January 2008

Thank Goodness for the Discomfort of Friends

I have not been writing much lately. I'm mulling over a few things. Focusing on different areas of life a little more...or trying to. I've written a lot that I haven't posted. Maybe someday, as appropriate.

But for now, I just wanted to express my gratitude for my friends. We all have different kinds of friends. Fun ones. Occasional ones. Recreational ones. Heady ones. Brief ones. Lifetime ones. Romantic awkwardness ones. Roommate ones. Sometimes the types overlap. Sometimes they don't.

But the ones I'm feeling grateful for right now are the ones who don't always only "make me feel good about myself" all the time. They care enough to make me a little uncomfortable sometimes. They tell me things I don't necessarily want to hear. They remind me of uncomfortable truths or difficult questions, from whatever perspective, I'd just as soon set aside. I may not always believe them to be completely right, but I know that they actually care enough about me to not smile and nod when they hear me say something they question or see me doing something they foresee as potentially or probably detrimental.

They say things like:
"You can do better"
"I don't see how that matters"
"You're not sparkly perfect"
"I'm concerned when I hear you say..."
all in context with other words of encouragement, usually, of course.

They seem to love me for who I am. They care about me, for whatever reason. And it will be hard for them if I make decisions they don't understand or don't believe to be best for me, but they'll not stop caring about me because of it. And they don't try to force anything on me. They don't harp on things. They just show their love by not pretending that anything I do is fine because hey, it's my life, right? Yes, the decisions are mine to make, but they remind me that I'm not the only one making tough decisions. And they sympathize with me but don't let me spend TOO much time wallowing without gently reminding me that others have reason to wallow as well, even if only by sharing their own struggles and questions. And I am reminded that we're in this together, and that even while trusting others to make the best decision for them, there is room for reminding each other of uncomfortable truth which can, seemingly paradoxically, alleviate discomfort in the long run.

It's late, and my thoughts are probably unhinging on their way out, so I'll just wrap up with a simple "thank goodness for my friends who show that they really care by not pretending that everything I do and say is perfectly fine yet do so without derision or personal judgement."


Danish Boy said...

So you say that sometimes the types overlap and sometimes they don't. Does that mean that you have friends that are just uncomfortable and thats it and you still like them? Now I'm curious. What category do I fall under? Um... Maybe I don't want to know. Sometimes it's nice to be unaware of those things.

agirlwho said...

I am also grateful for these kinds of friends. You are one of them, you know. :) I appreciate honesty much more than flattery. It takes a real friend to lay it down for you when you're struggling, along with a good measure of love. For me, I know when a friend has the spirit with them because they are able to make me feel good when I am around them, yet I don't feel like they are patronizing me. Anyhow, don't forget that you have this gift too. You're awesome.