Minimum Qualifications

Something that has stuck with me over the past week came from a counseling session. My counselor and I have had an ongoing conversation about the realities of some of the past relationships I’ve chosen to be in, and how they have affected my present ones. I have a hard time with all types of relationships. I’m a person who can stay alone as long as I need/want to, but I’m happy when I have a few close relationships. I’m a person who is highly selective in who I choose to allow in my life, and I commit fully to them as a friend or partner. My husband sees this as a wonderful and respectful notion in our relationship. I support him through his creativity, I give my love to him unconditionally, and he has never felt a need to challenge that. We are mutual in our wholeheartedness and allow each other mistakes, as we continue to grow in our marriage. Friendships, however, are a different issue. It seems that others don’t wish to be invested like I am in them. I throw myself into being supportive, trusting, and committed friend. Often, I select people who cannot return the same to me, and after a while, I get my heart crushed with another relationship ending.

My counselor made a good point about this issue. I may subconsciously select these types of relationships, because I have more experience in temporary support. Since we have discussed my life extensively, I can see how this conclusion can be made. All relationships have been short lived for me. My longest relationship to date is with my husband, and maybe I’ve convinced myself that that’s how it’s going to be. Even family has been temporary. As a child, I knew many members of my family, but now, I can’t recall more than a handful. My immediate family members are a mystery to me. While we converse on a regular basis, I don’t try to be close to them.

The thing is, I’ve been searching for a person like me for a long time to be a kindred spirit, a bosom buddy, a Diana to my Anne. There are things only a friend can offer to a person, that a romantic partner cannot, and as my counselor has stated, it’s natural to wish for a friend to relate to. As my present suggests, I haven’t found what I’m searching for. For a short while, I thought I had found my person. We had a freaky connection that made it easy to talk to one another, but things didn’t work out. After that experience, I decided that I need to be selective about who I choose to be in my life. There are certain things that will be required from here on out, so I can avoid another heartbreak, and hopefully find a long term friend.

1. They will not talk to me about reality television– I don’t watch it. I don’t really respect it.

2. They can break plans, but cannot not make it a habit (nor will they allow me to do so)– I need a committed person. That means that if they break plans, they have a good reason (reading a good book is a completely valid reason btw), but I’ll start sensing a brush off or I’ll get really concerned for their well-being if the person continues to break plans without talking to me.

3. They’ll be honest, even if it hurts-I had a friend once speak to me about a comment I had made as an attempted joke that really hurt their feelings. I was so impressed. It meant to me a mutual respect that she felt comfortable coming to me, so that we could avoid issues in the future. I was able to amply apologize without the issue becoming a big one, and it also made me feel comfortable coming to her if anything serious came up later.

4. They will listen to the music I send them and will appreciate it-When I feel close to someone, I will send them music. I’ll open up my most vulnerable side, and send videos so we can talk about them. It may be strange, but I personally pick individual songs for people based on their personality, and I’m rarely wrong about songs people will like. To me, it shows that I am interested in who a person is and I want to find a kick ass soundtrack for them.

5. They will allow me to be depressed-I’m surprisingly close-lipped to my friends about how I’m feeling most days. My husband has learned the code words over the years, but I keep my depression at a distance in most circumstances. This may be because I haven’t found my person yet, but I also have experience of friends distancing themselves because they don’t want to deal with it. Depression is so hard to control, and sometimes pretending to be happy is too hard to muster. It is in those times, that I want my friend to stay close, allow me to let it out, and then help me move away from it.

6. They must enjoy reading almost as much as I do-This shouldn’t need explanation.

7. They will not compete with me-I’ve been in situations where a person always had to compete with me. If I had a good day, theirs was always better. If I wasn’t feeling well, they always had to stay home because their cold was “so much worse.” They lived in extremes, and it eventually got really hard for me to relate to them. They didn’t feel like they were able to be their true selves around me, and that made things very uncomfortable for us. They never wanted to support me, but asked for it from me triple fold. It became exhausting to constantly be there for a person who couldn’t be there for me in return.

8. They will agree with me about the frustration of turning books into movies– There are two camps in the book world about this subject, and my friend and I will need to be on the same team with this one.

9. They will know when to help, even if I don’t ask for it-As I’m maturing, I’m learning how to ask for help more, but I still fail sometimes. My friend will know when to reach out, and when to take the wheel and help me.

Maybe this list will get longer, or maybe it will change over the years as a relationship blossoms. Right now though, I need a friend that has these values for us to be healthy for one another. I know now that it’s ok to have standards for a friend I want in my life for the long haul.

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