Was I My Sister's Keeper?
According to the dictionary the meaning of friendship is the emotions or conduct of friends, the state of being friends or a relationship between friends. If that’s the meaning of friendship, what is a friend? Per the dictionary a friend is a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations. With those two meanings, how many of us can say we have friends? Or have been a good friend?
I remember in Elementary school I had a lot of “friends.” I pretty much played with every one on my block and in class. Back then no one taught me what a real friend was. No one ever told me, just because you get along with someone doesn’t mean they are your friend. I learned the true meaning of friendship when I became an adult. Let’s take it back to the 80’s.
Growing up I was always shy, which meant it wasn’t as easy for me to make friends with people. If we became friends it was because someone else initiated the conversation or it just happened. If I could have stayed in my room forever and played with my paper dolls, I would have. But my mom made sure we went outside, which is how I made friends. They were my neighbors, classmates, and anyone else from Cherry Hill that came on Bethune Road. As I got older my shyness kicked in more. My introvert life was becoming real. I wanted friends but I didn’t know how to make friends. Then I met my best friend.
We met in the 6th grade. She was from Cherry Hill but lived on the other side that I wasn’t allowed to go to. For some reason when we met, we instantly clicked. We started calling each other cousins because someone in her family had my last name. We argued like friends, then we made up like family. We planned on going to the same high school together, which we did. You saw her, you saw me. Then everything changed. We made it to high school and 9th grade was just us two. We met other people but we stayed tight until she left. I moved out of Cherry Hill and she never came back to school for our 10th grade year. During this time there was no cell phones to stay in touch. No social media to find someone that you haven’t talked to. The summer going to the 10th grade I remember it seem like she disappeared. We lost contact for years and some way, I still don’t remember how but we found each other again. We was just about to finish high school and we still considered each other our best friend. During the time of absence we made other friends but that didn’t matter. We became adults and in our eyes, we were living our best life. Before the kids, we partied together, shopped together, gossiped together, and everything else. There was still something missing. I knew we were friends but it didn’t feel like a true friendship. Years passed by, we had children, horrible relationships, horrible jobs, our family members were tripping but we pressed on. Then it happened.
In 2014 I reached out to her via email because during the work day that was the best way for us to communicate. I remember saying to her that we haven’t talked in a while and I hoped everything was okay. In one email she told me she didn’t think we should be friends. She said she was evaluating our friendship and thought it was time to stop being friends. In 2014 I was an adult but I wasn’t as mature as I am now. When she told me this I was angry and blamed her. I talked about how I always been there and I went on. Some nasty things were said between to the two of us. I found out she said things about me that were lies to her mother. In my mind I felt like I was the perfect friend. I listened to her relationship problems and gave her advice. I always included her in stuff that I was doing. Anytime I had something at my house, she was invited. Even though certain family members didn’t like her, I remained her friend. I was talking to her mom about it and she told me it was because she stopped taking her medication. I never knew she was on medication other than for migraines. I said to myself this girl was crazy. I am calling her crazy because she came off her meds, not knowing years later I would realize I was going through a state of depression myself during that time. Even during our blast of emails, neither of us picked the phone up to see what was going on. We let our friendship go from that. A friendship that started when we were 11 years old, ended when we were 34. That one day we said forget is and we moved on. Here it is 2018 and I never spoke or seen her again. I honestly have no idea how she is doing. I do think about her and her kids but what can I do.
When I sit back and think about the perfect friend that I thought I was, I know I could have done things better. I could have called her more. I should have visited her home more. When she invited me out, I should have taken the time out to go. When she told me about her abusive relationship I should have been there more but honestly I didn’t know how. The problem was I didn’t take the time out to constantly check on her because I was busy with my own problems. I was going through relationship problems and she was going through relationship problems. We both were having issues with our kids father. We both was struggling with our job. Trying to rebuild our relationship with our mother. We both had father issues. The both of us had so many similar issues going on but I know I could have reached out more. That day I emailed her, we hadn’t talked in a couple of months. I could have reached out before but I let my problems outweigh our friendship. I could also say she should have reached out. We both was the strong friend that everyone depended on and looked up to. We were the one that was dealing with so much but kept it inside thinking someone would eventually reach out to us. We buried everything and cried when we were alone, hoping someone would call us and ask if we were okay. We allowed 23 years of friendship to vanish because we didn’t communicate with each other.
We all have that strong friend that seems like they have everything together. Or you may be that strong friend. Don’t take that person for being strong and think they don’t need anyone. As I sit here I ask myself, what kind of friend am I. I feel like I have always been there for all of my friends but did I pray for them or just give them my advice. I believe when they needed something, I gave but did I remind them when we got into an argument that I gave. Did I comfort them in their time of need, yes? But did I go on about my business the next day. There are so many questions I can ask myself. I can say it was God’s plan to remove them from my life, which may be true. But what kind of friend was I when they were in my life. I wish I could go back and do things different. I wish I could call her and say I was sorry. I want to hear her voice and find out what really happened. I don’t think that it’s a friendship that can be repaired and I don’t think I want it to but what if. Am I different today than I was 4 years ago, yes? I can’t go back and change who I was or make things different but I know I am and will continue to be better now.
The problem we humans have in life is, we don’t want to tell the truth. When people walk out of our life, we always look at what they did. Do we ever sit back and reflect on the role we play? When a relationship fail we say they shouldn’t have done what they did. Or we say we didn’t need them anyway. Have we looked at what we could have done better? When that family member stops talking to us, do we ask if we did anything? Do we try to repair the relationship or just let it go? When that friendship we had where we were inseparable suddenly ends, do we wonder what we could have done better? Let’s be clear I am not talking about abusive relationships. I am not talking about those people that we were good to but they treated us like crap. I am talking about the good friendships that suddenly ended but it was something that led up to it. I am talking about the stupid argument you had with a family member and both parties were just being immature. I am speaking about the relationship you had that was supposed to last forever but you stopped being there.
We all play a role in it, whether we want to admit it or not. I know for a fact, there was some friendships that I could have done better. I could have gotten out of my feelings after an argument and reached out. Then there are some friendships where I know God wanted me to let go. Yes everyone is in our life for a reason and some for only a season. But no matter if it’s a season, a lifetime, or a year; we have to be sure we are being a true to friend to them while they are part of our life.
In 2018 there was two friendships that crumbled. I can’t even say if we’re still friends but I know we have stepped back from each other. I also know God said He can’t take me to where I need to be if I continue to associate myself with people that don’t align with His word. Only God knows if those or any other friend/relationships can be repaired. For now I’m walking with God. For now I am only associating myself with people that align with me spiritually. That don’t mind taking a backseat to God. Friendships are important to me but my relationship with God is more important.
When I started writing this blog my intentions was to talk about real and fake friends but as I was writing it I realized at times I was a fake friend. I noticed I could have been a better friend to a lot of people. I knew I needed to be transparent about the role I played and I hope this blog helps someone to be transparent also.
I Choose Me