One of my least favorite parts about the healing space or “industry” is how love-centered it is. From religion to guided meditation to angel cards to crystals, people largely get into “healing” as a response to feeling rejected romantically, not being pursued romantically, or dealing with someone they once loved romantically moving on to someone else.
As I spent time working on some side projects this month and juggled dealing with life overall, one question kept popping into my head: What about my friends?
What about healing in the friend space? So many of us put so much emphasis on chasing and maintaining romantic relationships that we largely fall flat as friends. As a society, we’ve normalized being the kind of friends who go ghost for weeks to months at a time on our friends, and we’ve praised “low maintenance” friends for accepting that—something we would never ask of or expect from our romantic partners.
I don’t think it’s healthy nor preferable to speak to your friends every single day, or even see them multiple times a week, but I do think we should extend the same grace and gratitude we do not hesitate to show our romantic partners to our platonic friends. If for no other reason than people deserve to feel loved and appreciated on multiple levels and all love is the same love at its core. We shouldn’t make a habit of only reaching out to friends when we need an ear to vent to, someone to shop with, or a moment to brag about how great our lives are.
In my opinion and experience, for the most part, people we allow to be close to us are not high-maintenance friends. Unless that person is massively self-centered, they generally are not going to request all your time, energy, and compassion. Most just want to make sure they are getting back the energy they give in all relationships—platonic or romantic—which is an reasonable and healthy thing to do. However, in this current wave of “maintaining” friendships online, opposed to reaching out, there is a resistance of sorts to being a present, tangible presence in someone’s life. We equate watching someone’s Instagram stories and liking their tweets to being good friends. And while that might work for some, it doesn’t work for all—and that is okay. I am absolutely not interested in being ~social media friends~ with people I care about.
My father has always emphasized to me the importance of quality over quantity when it comes to friends. His five closest friends have been there for him for decades, and he has been there for them. They show up for one another, support, love on one another, and uplift each other through all hardships and in every good moment.
One thing I’ve also realized in talking to a few people about friendship, is many of us are afraid of asking our friends to give as much as we give. As long as we are not overgenerous with giving our time and energy, it should be no big deal to expect that in return. All of us are working hard. Many of us have health issues whether it is physical or mental, most of us have family drama and work drama and life drama. Some are even married and have children! Sometimes I fall into a deep depression or get wrapped in anxiety and distance myself from everyone. Everyone!
The reality is that we make time for the things and people we consider important to us, and we should be humble enough to be kind and soft-hearted if someone we care about brings it to our attention that we are not being the kind of friend they feel they deserve. I dealt with my own twin sister coming to me and stating how important it was to her that I be more present in our relationship, and, while it had stung at the time, it is now something I do more enthusiastically and consciously, with the goal of giving what I receive.
Whenever I distance myself, my friend Joi is someone who consistently reaches out to me and checks on me until I am back to being myself. This is not something I’ve asked her to do, and it’s not something that drains her, because I do the same for her when she needs me to. That’s what it’s all about—getting to a place where the giving and receiving is mostly balanced.
I’ve recently recommitted myself to being more present in my friend’s lives and being more open if I feel like I need to do more, or if I feel like the other person could do more. This has not been 100% well-received—one person said I was being high-maintenance and how I made them anxious about how to be a friend to me. At first, admittedly, I was hurt by it, but I eventually came to a place of forgiveness where I realized that was a projection and not at all true, and that while that person clearly couldn’t hold that space for me any longer, I wouldn’t let my heart be hardened against being vulnerable with others, or repairing that relationship in the future.
It’s also required me to take inventory of who I called a friend and who was actually deserving of that title. I’ve given less and less of myself to the people who cannot be a friend to me, and I’ve lost far less than I thought I would have lost when I’d first contemplated letting them go. That’s not to say I don’t feel for the loss of their friendship or miss what once was, but to say that the more I give to the people who also give back to me, the more my cup is filled and the less I’m drained.
I had to remind myself it’s okay to not be liked by everyone. None of us are here to be loved by every single person we encounter, and it is an ego response to martyr ourselves or do the most for love whether it’s romantic or platonic. I told myself over and over that it was okay to let go and release until I believed it, then I practiced it, and now I am living in a state of releasing and getting back more than I lose.
I realize that this post appeals more to people who are emotional or empathetic or compassionate—otherwise, more aligned with the typically feminine boundary—but I know this is an issue that permeates all friendships.
Ask for what you give. I bet you’ll be surprised by the results.
If this helped you, consider helping me! ♥️
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