So as I reassure myself that my other friendships are still in fine--or at least decent--shape, I have been asking myself what went wrong with the one I mentioned last night. I have a few ideas, which I am going to post today as a reminder to myself and a warning to others of what not to do to a friendship, and also just because I need to post them.
1. I met this friend through chronic pain, if you will: I introduced myself because I needed to use the banister to get down the stairs and she was standing in the way. From then on, we talked about chronic pain, and when the bipolar episode hit, we talked about that. I honestly cannot recall a single conversation--or even a single sustained moment of conversation--that was not about one of my health problems. DON'T DO THIS, people! I cannot emphasize that enough. Even in your time of need, even if the bulk of your conversation is about your problems (as is sometimes appropriate), find a way to insert bits of conversation about other things, for your sake as well as the sake of your friend and the friendship.
2. For a few different reasons, I do not have a phone number for this friend. (Yes, I will still call her a friend until further notice. Call it wishful thinking, but that is what I feel like doing about it.) As a result, I was dumping just as much on her as I was on my other friends, but with my other friends, it got diffused throughout the week. With this person, I saved it up and dumped it all on her at once. DON'T DO THIS EITHER, people! That can be overwhelming.
3. Above all, I treated this friend like an old friend when she was a new one. What I mean by this is that I had been leaning on her heavily when I was just getting to know her. The other friends on whom I had and have been leaning that heavily are friends I have known since last year, while I have not leaned on any other new friend that hard. Lesson learned: DO NOT TREAT NEW FRIENDS LIKE OLD ONES!
So what am I going to do about this situation? I plan to do absolutely nothing; I mean that, and I hope I can manage to keep to it. I will be polite, and friendly if she wants to be, but I will let her call the shots. Either I saved the friendship in time or I didn't; only time will tell.
"Don't tell God how big your storm is; tell your storm how big your God is."
I believe in God.
I believe in God.
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- I am a bipolar, Jewish young adult (had my Hebrew birthday, the one I count, and turned 23 this past January) who also suffers from Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. I love life and I live for my best friends: they are my purpose and my reason for trying so hard. I remain passionately devoted to those I love; I will not let my disorders make me totally self-centered. I like to read, write, and sew. My Rabbinical school plans did not work out, and I am now hoping to go into the field of Early Childhood Education. Please note: I am currently maintaining only Carried in His Hands. Enjoy!