The Value of Friendship

So much has been written about friendship; from the trite to profound, but the truth is we (the human race) are a gregarious species. Our survival is dependent upon living in cooperation with others. Part of that living in cooperation is making and having friends, and that is sometimes easier said than done.

As I have been traveling down this healing path, I have had to ponder the question of friendship more than once. Sometimes, I was trying to discern who was no longer healthy for me, because they fed the fuel of my tendency to be taken advantage of by narcissists. Other times, I was un-friended by those couldn’t deal with the fact that I was suffering from PTSD, they just couldn’t handle it.

I pondered four questions: What is friendship? How do friendships endure? What’s the difference between an acquaintance and a friend? And how much do we need to protect our hearts from the risks of true friendship?

When I really love someone as a friend I do not protect my heart, because I think to protect my heart means I’m not giving freely of myself. When I commit to a friendship, I share my thoughts, hopes, desires, and secrets without reservation. My friendships are based on honesty. My friends and I know the difference between telling each other what we need to hear rather than what we want to hear.

I also believe that a healthy friendship is symmetrical. In other words, both parties are equally committed to the relationship. I’m committed to supporting and encouraging my friends and being there as they grow and change. I’m committed to seeing them through the minutiae of life. And hopefully, I can do that without judgment. The symmetry is, I know my friends will do the same for me. That doesn’t mean that there are times when people need time, and space because of life circumstances, ill health, or whatever life happens to bring, but the underlying commitment is never wavering, no matter how much time passes. A non-spoken loyalty.

I also have people in my lives who are more like acquaintances rather than friends. These are people that I sometimes meet for a meal or activities. They may be a constant person in my life, but I keep them at arm’s length. My conversation may be little more than scratching the surface,  the idea of sharing something intensely personal causes me some anxiety. These are the people I know who are going to be in and out of my life, but they are still just as precious to me. Besides just hanging out and having fun, they may have quite a lesson to teach me along the way. In fact, I have learned numerous lessons from my acquaintances. They tend to look and react to the world through a different lens. And, I kind of like that, it can be interesting.

There have been times when a friend has become more of an acquaintance because over time we grew apart. When that happened, I felt a sense of loss, but I also knew the decision was a healthy one. The opposite has been true too. I have had distant acquaintances that have become a steady and lovely friend; the kind of friend that I can’t imagine not connecting with on a regular basis.

As I found myself dealing with the mental anguish of PTSD, I was consumed with shame. I was ashamed of what I was remembering, my changing financial situation and the roller coaster emotional ride I was a constantly experiencing. I thought my friends would think that I was damaged and ugly and if they discovered the “real me,” they wouldn’t like me anymore. In fact, some people did back out of my life. Perhaps they were really more acquaintances than friends all along. But I can say with unequivocal certainty that my true friends have not run away. In fact, they took many steps closer to me. And because I am more open, and authentic I have also made some wonderful new connections in my life.

As I pondered the way I interacted with people in the past, I would say, I behaved more as an acquaintance than a friend. I shut myself off from showing any feeling and wouldn’t let anyone get close to me. I was always the smiling, tell me anything, kind of friend who had no needs, just let me be there for You. Now I have learned to show my vulnerability.

Now, I believe I present myself to the world  from a place of honesty. I’m not ashamed that I have PTSD, but I don’t wear a banner across my chest that announces it either. When I have a bad day, I have a bad day, it doesn’t mean I’m a terrible horrible person that no one will want to be around anymore. I know the difference between a friend and an acquaintance and although I love to hang out and have a good time, I am recharged and at my best when I spend time with a true friend.

I have chosen to have very few acquaintances. I value a deeper emotional connection to the true friends I have in my life. My circle of friends has also grown smaller, which I love. The key word here is “chosen.” I thrive on more intimate relationships with those wonderful and beautiful people who have joined me on my journey.  Acquaintances can be fun companions and there for you in times of need. There is nothing wrong with having acquaintances in our lives. However, for me, the time spent engaging in a deep connection is how I keep my cup filled and how I hope I’m able to fill other people’s cup.

friend

 

Thank you for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph

http://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph/dp/1514213222

https://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph-ebook/dp/B013XA4856

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28 thoughts on “The Value of Friendship

  1. Alexis Rose August 29, 2016 / 3:26 pm

    Great comment. Yes, I agree we have to willing to be vulnerable and our true selves in order to have meaningful friendships. Have a great day! Alexis

    Like

  2. Yonason Goldson August 29, 2016 / 2:56 pm

    I’ve written elsewhere that the Hebrew word for friend (re-ah) is similar to the word for evil (ra’ah), because we only get close enough to become friends when we make ourselves vulnerable. Without this, trust is impossible, and so is friendship.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Alexis Rose August 20, 2016 / 2:06 am

    Thank You Li, Im so glad the post resonated with you. Im now following you too. So happy to connect with you. 😃 Alexis

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Li August 19, 2016 / 11:41 pm

    So comforting to read this post. Have been really struggling myself lately with friends, in terms of not feeling like I can truly trust them. Relatively new to blogging and finding the people online are way more friendly than in real life 😁 https://beingis.wordpress.com feel free to follow back, be much appreciated ✌️

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Alexis Rose August 12, 2016 / 12:29 pm

    Thank You for reblogging my post. 🙂

    Like

  6. Belle Papillon 24/7 August 12, 2016 / 6:25 am

    Reblogged this on Belle Papillon 24/7 and commented:
    Perfect timing to reblog this topic about friendship as it is one of my BBF’s birthday today. As we get older, we realize that it becomes less important to have lots of so-called “friends” and instead we choose to be surrounded by a handful of REAL gems.

    It is quite challenging to cultivate deep connections in this day and age where people prefer to stay glued on social media over human relations. It is not that easy to find true friends who will see your real value and accept and love you unconditionally for who you really are.

    Thanks for this excellent post.

    Namaste!
    ❤ BP

    ❤ BP

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Alexis Rose August 10, 2016 / 11:12 am

    Thank You! Yes, there is something about spending time with a good friend that just makes everything okay. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  8. shelie27 August 10, 2016 / 4:31 am

    “I’m recharged and at my best when I spend time with a true friend”

    I agree, and know exactly what you mean, Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Alexis Rose August 9, 2016 / 8:37 pm

    Thank You for reblogging this Jason. I really appreciate it! 😀Alexis

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Opinionated Man August 9, 2016 / 8:00 pm

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    What is the value of friendship to you?
    Note: Comments disabled here. Please visit their blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Alexis Rose August 6, 2016 / 3:47 am

    Thank You so much for reblogging my post. I really appreciate it. Im sorry that you have gone through this recently. Its always painful when that happens even if it is the best thing to do. Hugs to you this weekend! 🙂 Alexis

    Like

  12. dancingpalmtrees August 6, 2016 / 3:32 am

    Reblogged this on A Call to Witness and commented:
    Timely Blog Post. Spoke to My Heart as I’ve been going through some issues with one whom I thought was a friend who has now been downgraded to acquaintance.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Alexis Rose August 5, 2016 / 10:02 pm

    Thank You K E, I really appreciate your feedback. Friendships are one of those tip toe subjects for me sometimes. Its great to hear people also think about these subjects. 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  14. K E Garland August 5, 2016 / 9:41 pm

    I’ve been pondering this very same thing for a very long time. Thanks for verbalizing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Alexis Rose August 5, 2016 / 8:41 pm

    Thank You so much for your feedback. Its sometimes not very easy to see friendships change and come and go, but a definite part of life as we become more comfortable with how we want to be in the world. Have a wonderful weekend! 💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Courage Coaching August 5, 2016 / 6:33 pm

    Beautiful post!I especially like this ”the time spent engaging in a deep connection is how I keep my cup filled and how I hope I’m able to fill other people’s cup”.
    I definetely feel the same about friendship and I know who values me and who doesnt..I also have less friends now, because I have finally chosen healthier people who accept me for who I am! Good for you Alexis and I am also very glad you met Lottie on here..These sort of friendships are soul enriching! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Alexis Rose August 5, 2016 / 3:01 pm

    Words cannot express how grateful I am that you are in my life. Thank You for all the kind words and support and thank you for reblogging my post. 💜💜💜 Alexis

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Alexis Rose August 5, 2016 / 2:59 pm

    Thank You! Whoa…let me moo my eyes so I can write this. 😂 You have been an imcredible friend and support to me. I cant imagine what I did before you came into my life. Thank You for reblogging this on run rabbit run. My heart 💜💜💜

    Liked by 1 person

  19. run.rabbit.RUN August 5, 2016 / 2:46 pm

    Reblogged this on RUN.RABBIT.RUN-The blog behind my personal PTSD memoir ; written by a BRAVE SURVIVOR to inspire other sexually, physically, emotionally, and ritually abused SURVIVORS! and commented:
    I was feeling a little flat today, and was skimming through my reader and came across this beautiful post from one of my dearest friends, Alexis. Although we have never met [although she has been subjected to some bonkers and silly video messages from me ;)] Alexis is SO special to me, not only because she is such a thoroughly lovely human being! but because she is the only other ritual abuse survivor I have connected with this closely. There are not many of us brave enough to write so openly about our dark experiences which are just so brutal and so personal. Alexis is a remarkable woman, and having read her amazing book, ‘UNTANGLED’ where she documents the horrific experiences she went through as a little girl, I have so much respect for her. She writes with a delicate beauty, far removed from the brutality of her early trauma. This lady is my inspiration, who spurred me on to begin the process of writing the run.rabbit.RUN triology, and has given me invaluable advice on how to proceed following my v exciting offer to publish my writing on the My Trending Stories web platform. She is my precious poppet who in my mind is, like Mary Poppins “practically perfect in every way!” and I LOVE HER TO THE PTSD MOON AND BACK! You will love this post she has written on friendship, and how PTSD and other invisible mental health problems impact on the friendships we tend to have. A lot of my bestest friendships are with people with PTSD, [not that I dislike non-survivors! I’m not exclusive!] haha. It’s just that we ‘get each other so well,’ and have unspoken understandings and profound mutual respect for each other’s sheer AWESOMENESS! I love you Alexis! From your friend, Lottie Fisher [ace author person and fellow PTSD survivor BADASS! ] 😉 xxxxx

    Liked by 3 people

  20. run.rabbit.RUN August 5, 2016 / 2:22 pm

    This is beautiful lovely-I feel quite tearful reading this. You are a brilliant friend to me and I’m sure many others 💝💝💝 (the important ones who you want in your life.) I would love to reblog this on the RRR if you don’t mind? ❤ My life would be proper pants without my precious poppet haha 😂😁💝❤

    Liked by 2 people

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