Monday, August 4, 2008

Having Friends

Never in my life have I had as many close friends as I do now. In gradeschool my parents actually bought a house in a new town when I was in fifth grade because I was getting picked on too much and didn't have many friends. I'm not completely sure why it was this way in gradeschool, but in general I don't think I was a very friendly child. I didn't learn much about being friendly until I went to college. In high school I had a few friends but only one that I thought really wanted to be with me or that really cared much about me. I just never seemed to fit in, and I still wasn't all that friendly of a person. In college I thought I had lots of acquaintances, but only a couple friends. I had very low self-esteem in college, so whether I had friends or not it never seemed like it. Also, in college I didn't date much and my friends did...so that left me as a third wheel often. Praise God for good counseling at the end of my senior year in college. Had I not been able to realize a few key truths, moving 2000 miles away from friends and family would likely have put me in a huge downward spiral. I met David 6 months after graduating from college, he took the place of the "friend" emptyness I had always felt.

But it wasn't until 2006 when David and I joined our small group of young married couples at church that I started to have more and closer friends. It certainly took several months to be able to feel close with them, but that's part of meeting new people and taking time to get to know them. Compared to some friendships my relationships with these girls may not be considered all that close, and I assume this is true only because I've heard a few girls in our group comment about how much they miss having the close friends they had back home, in college, growing up, etc. For me, not ever having had the type of friendships I have now makes me so appreciate what I have. I don't feel lonely anymore, like I did most of my life.

So, why? Well the whole self-esteem thing is a big factor I'm sure. One of the first things my counselor told me in college was that I would have more friends once I started enjoying who I was. Until I enjoyed who I was, I wouldn't feel comfortable around other people, and people in turn wouldn't feel comfortable around me. He was right. God has taught me lessons about love over the last several years that have made me mostly happy most of the time with who I am. So I can enjoy life with and around others.

Along with that, getting over fear of rejection has also made a difference in being able to be close with friends. I rarely asked others to do things with me until the last couple of years. I was afraid of either rejection or afraid that whatever I planned would not turn out to be fun and I would be responsible for someone else not having a good time. I think one reason God gave me David is to help me learn not to fear these things so much.

I'm always wondering when I meet people if they have many friends. If I think they don't, it makes me really really sad. I know what it's like, and it sucks!

For whatever reason it is 3am and I have not been able to sleep for the last hour and a half. But at least I am awake and thankful of something, rather than awake and angry at something!


Esteban said...

Thanks for sharing. It sure it interesting that we both recently blogged about the same thing. Friendship can be so wonderfully complex.

Like you, I have valued and appreciated so many of the new relationships in our lives. PCC has been such a blessing to us and we cannot imagine NOT having the relationships we have formed since we moved here two years ago... (I can't believe it have been that long). And now, with my recently new found relationships from our small group, I must admit that this is a really great time in life -- especially since Noah gets to have two and soon, three playmates that are his age!

Anyway, get some sleep and your week! :)

Rach said...

This is so interesting to be reading right now. I've been thinking A LOT about the subject of friendship, lately. It soooo makes my heart happy to know that our small group has helped to serve this purpose in your life. I guess I just love seeing how simply being connected can make people feel so differently. It is awesome to read just how fulfilled you are feeling regarding friendships. I am truly so happy for you. I can relate to some of what you said...especially being afraid of rejection if an activity I planned were to not go so well or just fear of rejection if I were to invite someone to do something. Thanks for sharing this. It was great to get a little glimpse into your thoughts on the seemingly ever-popular subject of friendship. Maybe I'll blog about it sometime, too. :)