If you are young enough to have been a Daisy Scout or if you are old enough to have a kid in Daisy Scouts, you have heard the cute Make New Friends song that goes: “Make new friends, but keep the old. . .One is silver and the other gold. A circle is round, it has no end. . .That’s how long I want to be your friend.”
Even before hearing this lovely song, I was a super loyal friend and still am to a point. I missed out on a lot of connections with cute boys because if a good friend showed interest in a boy I thought was attractive I made myself scarce so that the friend could make her connection. I was young, innocent and had placed the value of loyalty over self love. I now realize that while that was nice sometimes, I should have fought for some of those experiences for myself. It is, as always, a balance and my scale leaned a little too heavy on the loyalty to others.
It is 2021 and I’m thinking about friendships again. I have an incredible best friend that I have loved since 1989? I really do not remember the date. I know we have been besties for 30 or more years. I have always been loyal to her and luckily she has stuck with me all these years even during times when I was a bit whack-a-doodle. LOL I have another friend that I have known almost as long although we do not speak much anymore. She has had a lot of events happen in her life that has taken her attention from me and it is absolutely understandable. I miss the closeness we once had but I will forever be her friend regardless. My third Bestie and I have been friends for nearly 10 years but I feel as if I have known her a lifetime. She is magic. I am a lucky, lucky gal.
Since I am rich in gold friends I tend to think I do not need silver friends. However, I don’t always get a say so. I became friends with someone very different from me because my husband said she seemed really cool. Our kids were similar ages but she was a lot younger and really outgoing. We did a lot together because our kids attended the same toddler events. I was not always comfortable with the big gatherings she liked having with playdates and other activities but she was very sweet so I dealt with it. Eventually our friendship did not pass the test of time and our different values eventually eroded the little bit of connection we had. I swore off new friends and said I was done. Like I have total control, right? Up pops this terrific lady who befriended me and I could not be happier. She is wise and I finally have someone older that I can look up to. Our friendship is easy and very reciprocal. I am so glad I opened up heart to her as she is a terrific person and makes my heart happy.
So the song is mostly right. Making new friends can be rewarding. However, I wish we could add a third verse to the song. Something like, ” If that friend is very toxic. . . You might have to say goodbye to her. Your heart is very worth protecting. . .So feel no guilt and know that you have worth. ” I know that it makes the song less cutesy but I feel it is important to teach our girls this very fact. I did not know this as a young woman and I allowed toxic people to influence and manipulate me all in the name of love and loyalty. In the end, they dumped me like trash and I was left confused. Even now, I have seen friendships crumble especially during this divided political circus.
I have to share that it is very okay to be selfish with your heart and if you are at a point in your life that you are comfortable with your skin and your moral compass it is okay to say goodbye when a friend is not whom you think she is then do it! It is not your job to make anyone else happy. Life is short. Be kind and courteous but if you see your “friends” are going another route let them go and feel good knowing you do not have to work so hard at trying to hold onto something that might not be worth your time and effort. That is a huge life lesson but a good one to master. I have finally realized that my happiness should never hinge on another’s approval or love. I also fully understand that I am worth loving and I add value to others’ lives. I deserve respect and I want to be loved the way I am instead of the way people think I am.
I have lost friends even because of Facebook. I am not on it but when some of my “friends” started using the social networking site, they became so engrossed in keeping up with the digital friends that I was left out. I didn’t want to be on Facebook as it did not offer me anything I needed which further alienated me from them. In the end, I came to the conclusion that it was okay to lose those friends and if they are happier having friends who can give them thumbs up rather than a call on the phone or a meetup at lunch then so be it.
So, every once in a while take stock of your friends and think about what you gain from that friendship. If it is heavily one sided or you are finding yourself not being your true self in order to fit in then it may be time to move on. Just like sexual relationships and marital relationships, friendships need nurturing and growth too. Life is short so don’t let people who do not make you happy and fulfilled take up any of your time.