I have a love-hate relationship with polaroids. I love the intimacy and ability to capture a single moment in time that cannot be replicated and that a single photo illustrates a story that can have hauntingly beautiful or painful memories. I, however, loathe the idea that it can also be a reminder of what once was, and how different life is now. Like, I’m sure everyone over the course of our lives we have watched friends come and go. With each friend that leaves, there is a paper trail of memories left in their wake. It can be utterly heartbreaking because for some time those memories can be tainted with resentment which at its core is just hurt. However, in recent weeks I have come to love the polaroids that I had stuffed at the back of a cupboard in a tin. I used to view a fallen friendship or relationship as me failing at a basic human concept, but I have come to learn they are not failures, not even in the slightest. They were experiences and relationships that suited who I was at a particular time in my life or vice versa for the friend.
The more I wrote on the post about evolving friendships I realised I was being pulled in a different direction. I started thinking more about the present day and how I handle myself in my friendships today and what I know not only myself, but my friends struggle with.
If I am honest, there is one grey area I have been battling with this past year. I am in constant moral deliberation with myself about it. A promise I made myself was to try and become a better person, meaning treating everyone with kindness, even If they are testing me, and boy do people like to test me.
With that, I have been learning the real emotional cost of treating people how you want to be treated both socially and romantically. For the most part, there are some pretty spectacular people in my life. However, on the odd occasion, there are times when it is brought to my attention that someone’s behavior affects my life far more negatively than it does positively. I’m sure I am not alone in having those thoughts. So, I wonder at one point do we turn around and say, ‘okay, enough is enough!’ Or is the lesson to be learned here that we should find the emotional courage and strength to persist and let these people who are affecting us in an emotionally damaging way, understand the depth and destruction of their actions in their own time?
The idea that someone is letting me down and I’m tolerating their behavior made me wonder and squirm, petrified at the thought that I may have caused anyone to feel that way from my own actions. So, I asked myself “how can I be a better friend?” And “what can I do to make the people in my life happier?” The answer, let them know they are valued and appreciated. (Which I hope I was doing before!)
I wrote another question out, “what are the little things that make you feel valued in a friendship?” and what I realised is there was no complicated answer, it was so simple, having compassion, caring and offering support is fundamentally what it takes to be a good friend. I decided to forward the question to a few people who mean a lot to me. What I received in return was not too surprising, but it was a gentle reminder that It is so incredibly easy to be kind and to make someone’s day a little brighter and better. (I have included the list at the bottom of this post, I highly recommend reading it)
We are all unique, and as individuals, we all require vastly different qualities and functions from the friendships we have. I have learned that friends have this remarkable way of contributing to your life in such a way that with a single message or hang out it can alleviate feelings of inadequacy, nervousness, sadness or anxiety within milliseconds, which is a lot faster than battling something on your own.
I think there are times where we as individuals forget that our actions or lack off can have consequences and affect people in a way that is detrimental to their emotional wellbeing. So, take notice, be there for people and treat people exactly how you want to be treated. No one has too many friends, and no one is too busy to send a message, the power of a ‘just checking in’ or ‘did you get home safe?’ message is that it can be so effortless to send but completely change how valued or appreciated the person on the other end feels.
As always, never be a stranger.
– M xx
What people value in friendships:
Thanks to all the beautiful friends who took part....
“People making time for you, even if it’s a five-minute call once a week. No one is ever too busy to not check in with someone even a text message.”
“When your friends make you see your own worth after a guy fails to see it.”
“When friends take the time to give me good meaningful advice. Because it shows that they care, that they are empathetic and understanding and that they want the best for me”
“Being invited makes me feel valued. It makes me feel like I am considered/ wanted/ enjoyed. Even if they know I can’t go, being invited makes me feel like I belong.”
“When people wish me luck before an interview or date or something like that, makes me feel more confident and also makes me feel they get how neurotic I am”
“When someone says that they’re proud of what you’re achieving when you don’t feel yourself, it’s the best feeling knowing you’ve got support from your friends”
“Messaging just for the sake of messaging, not needing a reason to say hello or to check up on someone is always nice!”
‘When you’re having a really low moment after dealing with being hurt from a guy and your friend writes you a huge paragraph taking about your worth and deserving better, Just knowing that your friend is always there.”
“When they send a simple text or message letting you know they are thinking of you. It’s as simple as that and make you feel special and cared for.”
“When you don’t see or speak to someone for days, weeks, months or years and then you come back together and its seriously like nothing has changed and you lift right off because your friendship and appreciation for each other is super grounded”
“When someone randomly just says hey have a good day today- you go crush it!”
“When things are effortless and seamless. The ones where you don’t need to catch up regularly, but it feels like not a day passes, a great friend is knowing exactly what you need.”