New Year, New Year’s Resolutions. We all think about them; some of us commit to them, and some of us even write them down. Some of us make a resolution to be a better friend to our girlfriends.
What does it mean to be a better friend? Guest blogger Danae Matthews shares her experience realizing what a real friend truly is.
I have a friend, for this story let’s call her Sarah, who quite frequently says to me that she doesn’t need any more friends. Until very recently I chalked up this particular one-liner to be some sort of defense mechanism. You don’t need any more friends?? Who could ever say that? That’s like saying you don’t want to participate in the world or something!
But then a night came when Sarah and I had plans to meet some of our mutual acquaintances downtown. It was later in the evening and Sarah had been feeling sick all day. I told her several times to stay in, that I would be absolutely fine meeting the group by myself. However, Sarah told me that despite the fact that she was feeling miserable, she hadn’t seen these particular friends in quite some time and that it wasn’t right to just ditch out on concrete plans. Throwing on an outfit and some blush, she pulled herself together and did the best she could at pretending to have a good time so they could.
This moment showed me something. Sarah didn’t want (or need) any more friends because she already gave 110% to the ones that she had. Come hell or high water she was always the kind to be there for them. Sarah was the friend to initiate plans, follow through, listen to their stories, administer what advice she could, give birthday gifts, and always managed to toe the line between being refreshingly realistic without ever being hurtful. At least, that was always the friend she had been to me.
It made me take an inward look at the way that I run my relationships. Sure I may have (in theory) had a lot of girlfriends, but was I a major player in their lives? Was I someone they knew they could count on? Someone who would come through at a moment’s notice? If our situations had been reversed, I admittedly would have called and cancelled dinner had I felt the even remote chance of coming down with something.
And yet when hearing that Sarah didn’t want more friends, I looked at her like she had the problem. Like the goal in and of itself is friend acquisition, not maintenance.
We are fooling ourselves to believe that friendships aren’t as serious, valuable, or taxing as the relationships we enter in with significant others.
So in this new year, I vow to be a new girlfriend. What does that mean? Well for one, it means to not worry about making new friends. Of course if an opportunity presents itself I wouldn’t turn anyone away, but my main goal is to foster the relationships I currently have. I want to be the one to call my friends, not wait for the phone to ring. I want to be the one to be waiting at the restaurant because I’m not always “running late.” I want to be the person who will pick up any phone call at any time because you never know what someone might really need. I want to be the person that people think of as their rock, their true girlfriend, their Sarah.
DANAE MATTHEWS writes on her little space on the web, Danae’s Corner. Danae’s Corner is a part of the on-line women’s health resource, Women’s Health Base.
How will you be a better friend in 2012? How can you become the rock for your girlfriends? Is there someone who is always there for you? We want to hear your stories!
Thanks Danae! You’re welcome to come back through the year to report how your 2012 of being a better friend is going!