Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Two Great Recommendations

Sorry it's been awhile since my last post. I have been busy being addicted to the best website ever....Pinterest.com. It's such a problem that Mimi said to me the other night, "Mom, I'm just going to take the Ipad away from you and we are going to give it a rest...ok?" She moved slowly and spoke to me like she was taking a loaded gun out of my hand. If you don't know about this website yet, log on and get yourself addicted!

I also wanted to tell you about a book I just finished reading that I found amusing. The title is MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche. I kept seeing it recommended online and in magazines so I decided to give it a whirl. In a nutshell, it's about a girl who is originally from New York, goes to school in Chicago and ultimately ends up back in Chicago once she gets married. She has lifelong best friends, but they live in New York and she finds a gap in her life for a local BFF. So, she undertakes a year long quest to find the perfect BFF by "friend dating" at least once a week for a year. There were many times when I felt squeamish about her techniques....she would "pick up" waitresses, do speed friending, and even went so far as to rent a friend for a day. The outcomes though, were at times very amusing. The thing I liked most about the book was it made me think about the state of my friendships. I found myself reflecting on the type of friends I have and the status of those relationships.

In the book, Rachel talks about the type of friends she has:

BFF/Lifers: These are friends that know you inside and out, that you go to for everything, that you may not talk to for awhile but you can easily just pick up where you left off, and those that you can call in the middle of the night with a crisis.

Activity Based Friends: There are certain friends we call to work out with, attend a gallery opening or movie with, go out for a drink when you just need to get out, go shopping with, or someone to try a new restaurant with. These aren't necessarily the same people but you know who to call when you need a partner in crime to get out and "do" something.

Work Friends: Sometimes work people cross over into other categories as well but many times they are your work sisters/wives/husbands. People you spend the majority of your day with because of work but that you do really enjoy.

Acquantainces - These are people you keep in touch with either through email, Facebook, or see occasionally but whose friendship hasn't progressed past a certain level, for whatever reason.

The list goes on and on, but what I realized while I was reading the book was that I wanted to change a few of my relationships. There were a few people that I hadn't connected with in awhile, mainly because life is so busy, but that I missed. I found myself reaching out and reconnecting and making plans to get together again. I also made peace in my mind with a few relationships that I have. They likely are never going to progress or change in the way I want, and I realized that's ok. I can stop trying to make sense of the actions of a friend that I think should be different based on how long we have known each other. Up until this point, I believed that if you knew someone for a really long time the person should understand you very well, you should be "close" considering all the life events you have gone through together, and you should be getting satisfaction out of the relationship. Not so much. If you aren't getting what you want out of the relationship, and you are walking away shaking your head after your interactions, then maybe you should either downgrade your expectations...or quite frankly, just part ways.

One night after dinner Tim and I were discussing a recent interaction I had with a friend and how it frustrated me. He said "This is why I keep my circle small. I hang out with the people I want to, I know what to expect of them, and they know what to expect of me. It's that easy." Ok, he's a guy...this is how many guys work. He went on to tell me what my problem was. This always goes over like a lead balloon, doesn't it? Apparently, I have too many friends and I want to live in a meadow ablaze with flowers and bunnies where you get exactly what you expect and want from your friends and everyone is happy. Okay, he didn't say those exact words, but that is what I interpreted. He went on to explain that if you keep your circle small, like he does, you won't have these problems.

I do feel I have a small inner circle...those I really count on and hang out with most of the time but in addition, I love meeting new people, learning about them, learning new things from them, trying out new things with them. I don't think that is going to change anytime soon. It's just who I am. And where's the fun in life if you don't experience it and take advantage of it? Before reading this book, I think I lumped all my friends into one big friend category and didn't really think of them as distinct types of friends. I think when you realize the types of relationships you have, you will set realistic expectations for them which will ultimately make you happier with the level of friendship you give and receive.

In that same conversation, I was going on and on about how I thought I was a good friend but that this person had not been a good friend back, at least in my mind. I asked Tim if he thought he was a good friend. He thought about it for a minute and said he never really thought about it. "I think I'm a good person and I think I assume that my friends think I am a good person too otherwise they wouldn't be friends with me. And if my friends don't think I'm a good friend, then I assume they will just move on." Then came the "You know what your problem is..." followed by "you expect your friends to give you exactly what you want." Yes, that is true but it never seemed so stupid until he said that out loud. Everyone's idea of friendship and how to be a good friend are different and vary friend to friend. I have to admit, for the majority of my friendships, I think we are all getting what we give and what we want to receive. I'm sure there are some people out there who think I am a great friend and some people who don't. There are probably some people who wish I would give more or be a different friend based on their own expectations. I will admit it does pain me to think this is the case because I don't like to disappoint people but it's the reality of friendships I guess. Someday I'll be having the "I guess he's just not that into you" painful discussion with my daughter when she falls in love with someone who doesn't feel the same way. The same can apply to friends, I think...sometimes they just aren't that into you and you have to move on. On the flipside, sometimes you are both so into each other that you are in friend love...and that is always fun!

Even if your friend dance card is all filled up, I think the book is worth reading. If nothing else you will laugh. If you look a little more deeply, I think you'll learn alot about yourself and your friends.

Enough about friends...go get on Pinterest!

3 comments:

  1. This is such a timely blog, I've been having this similar discussion with my BFF's about those friends who kind of hover at the outer edges of my life. Decisions were made to jettison some and reach out to others, just as you say. I think I may need to download this book to my iPad for a read! And love the Tim's perspective as a guy... sometimes they are the best at "just keep it simple stupid". :-]

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  3. Kelly,

    This blog is so fitting for me. Since moving to VA and recently relocating to Williamsburg and not knowing a soul, I have been thinking a lot about friendship. I have made a joke about "renting a friend". I have some very close friends back in MA, and those are really my "life friends", and I realize that, they know everything about me and have shared both my triumphs and trials. But other friends/acquaintances are important too; they come in and out of our lives even if its for a season, but always for a reason, a little sappy I know. Tim's perspective is safe and simple, but men are like that. Women look at friendship differently, and always more emotional and complicated. My view if you risk nothing, you may not lose anything, but you never gain anything, whether its a friend, a different perspective or growth as an individual. Sometimes if you are lucky, you meet that one person that is "friend love". Life is about new experiences and continuing life's journey, and right now your blog just reinforces that nothing ventured, nothing gained and life is meant to be experienced. Thanks for sharing...got to add the book to my list!

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