I’ve been struggling lately with some of the friendships in my life. As someone with a disability who let that mean I wasn’t as worthy as other people, I often clung to the idea I had to have a lot of friends. That having a lot of friends automatically made me “cool” or valuable. But as I get older, I realize it’s much more about quality versus quantity and I’m just not sure if the quality is there anymore with some people, or maybe even that it ever really was.
But then I go back to that age-old question I always pose…where’s the boundary between expectations and getting what you need? Part of me thinks I’m wrong for expecting anything out of people or out of my friends. That if I just let those go then I would be much happier. But the other part of me thinks there’s nothing wrong with wanting a friendship to be a two way street. I get so exhausted sometimes from putting myself out there and trying to be a good friend. I don’t mean that to sound like I’m the greatest friend ever because I certainly have room for improvement too. But sometimes I can literally just feel everything kind of piling on top of me because I’m texting this person, trying to make plans with this one or trying to include this one. Then I end up not getting a response, the person flakes out and the friend doesn’t make any attempt to include me. I don’t think anyone really likes to feel like they come in second or don’t mean as much to the other person as the other person does to them. It honestly makes me feel like an idiot sometimes.
I try to remember what Buddhism or the Dalai Lama would say about compassion. You’re supposed to give it without getting anything in return. It’s not supposed to be an “I’ll be there for you as a friend and be compassionate but only if you give me that in return.” Sometimes though, I just feel like I empty out my compassion tank so I don’t lose a friend or hurt anyone’s feelings.
I know what I do feel though. I feel extremely lucky for those friends I do have that put in the effort. Who send me cards and flowers just to show me they care. Who call or text to check in. Who are there at the drop of a hat when I need to talk, even if they don’t live anywhere near me. Who just…care and show that they do. The rest I think I’ll figure out with time but at least I know I have some great people by my side while I do.