Category Archives: Friendship

The Work in Relationships

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“People are in your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime” goes one of my favorite quotes. Here’s another: “Friendship is optional; people are allowed to opt in or out of a friendship, and so are you.” Actually, that second one is my personal (and original) mantra.

 What about the lifetime friend who somehow turns into a seasonal friend? What about the lifetime marriage that turns into a less-than-a-lifetime marriage? What do you do when your best friend inexplicably turns cold or your boss from hell also happens to be the guy who signs the very paycheck that puts food on your table? When your children disappoint you or your parents drive you up the freaking wall for the umpteenth time? What do you do? What are you willing to do?

In my opinion, few things can hurt as the realization that a relationship with someone you love and/or respect has reached an end. It’s harder to deal with it when it happens for no reason at all; not one that you can see anyway. The first response is to take a step back and depending on the relationship, your next instinct may be to walk away, or in some cases, RUN away! Pride may also kick into high gear at this point.

We’re often told that marriage is hard work and not for the faint of heart. What we’re not told is that in actual fact, ALL relationships that matter to us are our business. It’s our job to nurture them, protect them, fix them if broken, and improve them. Here’s a thought: if a relationship is not working, the first place we should evaluate is our role in its failure before looking at the other party. Depending on the kind of relationship it is – friendship, marriage, work related etc – we may also need to put in extra work because it’s not possible for it to be a 50/50 split in its maintenance at all times. A pregnant friend may not be able to put in as much work or effort in your relationship for a season. That means you’d have to pick up the slack. A grieving friend may not have the effort to meet you half way. You’d need to meet them more than half way. Your over-protective parents may need to be loved exactly as they are, since you’ll never have other parents. In that case, you would need to do the work necessary to both keep your sanity and respect/honor them.

My challenge this week is to assess my failing or failed relationships, make the decisions that need to be made, see what, if any, work I need to do to rejuvenate them and then move forward, with or without them. This means that I’ll have to be willing to see some uncomfortable truths about myself e.g the energy and work invested in them or the lack thereof. I’d like to think I’m a good friend/partner/employee but alas, maybe not always and maybe not to everyone.

Join me in assessing your own relationships. If your marriage is on the rocks or you can’t stand your boss then make an honest assessment of the situation. What kind of work are you willing to put into your particular relationships? Remember that sometimes, it’s better to be happy than to be right so you may need to compromise. You may need to forgive or ask for forgiveness, even when you feel they should apologize first. You may end up having an uncomfortable conversation or two – or God forbid, more – with certain people and some of those relationships may be beyond salvaging and you may need to let them go.

Be advised that sometimes, talking to other friends about your current situation may not be helpful, so take every piece of advice with a grain of salt. Of course, sometimes it’s easier to tell a stranger who cares so feel free to share with me and ask questions; you know I’ll definitely reply.

I challenge all of us to roll up our sleeves and do the work necessary to maintain our relationships. In case you haven’t heard, relationships make life worth living; they make the world go round…or maybe that was love? Either way, here’s to stronger, better, healthier relationships!

Three cheers!

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Ode to Friendship

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Have you ever had someone do something so great for you, unexpectedly? It could have been a stranger (like the security guy who quite randomly and unexpectedly gave me a free pass to the viewing deck at the Rockefeller Center in NYC), or an acquaintance or even a friend. They may have given you good advice, time, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, a monetary gift, maybe they even connected you to the right people for your career….the list is endless. The point is, if you’re like me, they gave you exactly what you needed at that time. Did you thank them? Do you remember them or were their actions forgotten shortly thereafter? Do you try to be like them to others?

Well, recently certain people showed up in a big way for me. This post is about them. This post is about saying “thank you” to unexpected friends at an unexpected time. This post is to inspire you to think of those that have shown up for you, to thank them in your own way, to remember them as often as possible, and to be one of them as often as you can. Here are a few of them who made a positive impact to my life these last couple of weeks.

C, my friend and hairdresser sure didn’t think he’d be earning his stripes as a therapist when he agreed to do my hair. Try to imagine what it must feel like to be washing a client’s hair while she cries, applying hair stuff while she cries and putting her under the drier while she cries! I imagine it must have been quite uncomfortable, and yet he hang in there with me. Eventually, I was able to share the cause of the tears. He in turn gave me very good solid advice that quite literally saved my sanity. It also strengthened our friendship and trust.

Maggy unexpectedly stopped by my house. Maggy told me that she hadn’t planned on coming over on that particular day but felt she needed to. I wasn’t expecting her either. That visit brought us much closer and she ended up giving me advice on both a professional and a personal matter. On that day, she brought me friendship and clarity on an issue that was threatening my peace of mind. Maggy also removed intimidation about certain things that were overwhelming me. Tell me God didn’t arrange that. Actually, don’t because I won’t believe you.

M is a man I’ve known practically my whole life. We met quite randomly on that day; I was going to the store to get some soda and french fries (my latest addiction:) ) and bumped into him. He is responsible for a recent (and lasting) burst of optimism and enthusiasm regarding a certain major decision in my life. He is also responsible for my latest life motto: ACTION NOW! I doubt it was his intention to inspire me forward on that particular day in that particular way – we were just hanging out after all – but God knew that I needed him and so he came. It’s quite a nice feeling to have a friend re-enter your life, but when they bring with them what he brings with him, it’s definitely an added bonus.

My mum! Yes, I was surprised by this one since we’ve had a challenging time these last twelve months or so. I didn’t realize how much a certain person/situation was stressing me out until I told her about it. Talking to her allowed me to vent and gave me access to tried and true advice, which stopped me from making a radical decision that may have turned out to be a mistake. I needed what she gave me, and God knew she’d be the best person to give it. In addition, it brought us closer than we’ve been these last twelve months.

MPrissy is a friend I’ve know for years. I won’t say much about her because I simply don’t have the space. Let me say it this way: she’s the friend to whome I recently wrote “Oh my God, I really  am FAT…so depressing…” and she wrote back “…inbox me…” because she knew that this wasn’t normal talk for me; these are not words that typically leave my mouth. Simply put, she gets me. When I need a friend who gets me, I get her (get it? hahaha). Seriously though, I’m the lucky one here.

This list should be much longer because so many people have added to my life. I also accept that this list is unfair because it only focuses on the last couple of weeks, and even then I know I’m leaving some people out. My word count doesn’t allow me to name them all here but, what I do hope it allows me to do is point out the many ways we can be a blessing to someone else. It’s quite humbling to be the recipient of so much goodness so in turn, we should strive to add goodness to someone else’s life. We should be the friends we wish we had, or in my case, we already have.

I hope this inspires you forward. Of course, I also hope you come back often and share your experiences in the comments section. Remember, 2011 is the year to say YES to life and as evidenced by today’s post, to say YES to friendship.

My Facebook Quandry

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In a nutshell, I’m embarrassed by just how much time I spend on Facebook. I’m also afraid of turning into one of those mindless updaters that make you want to hurl something at their heads. I especially hate the 3rd party updaters; “Jane Smith is wondering what to eat for dinner since her hubby decided to eat with his buddies at the university. She’s thinking she might have ice-cream for dinner. She’s so naughty…” Ummm, lady, you ARE Jane Smith you nitwit!

*Sigh* I have to go back to life pre-facebook, if for no other reason to prove that I can. So why don’t I, you ask? I’ll tell you why:

1. I’ve friends in different continents, countries and states so it’s nice to “see” them and hear/read what they’re up to lately

2. I can more easily stalk my little sister to see what she’s up to. Ok, I don’t really stalk her but she’s a teenager who doesn’t always communicate with me so it’s nice to go over to her wall and read about her shenanigans. I don’t judge either. I promise. Really!

3. I should be ashamed to admit this but it’s kind of nice to actually think up things to write or post coz I’m under the illusion that my “friends” care about it. To be fair, I really do post interesting stuff (said the Facebook addict 🙂 )

4. It’s nice to be in touch with friends from high school and college. I really do like some of these people

5. I may not talk to all my ‘friends’ all the time but sometimes I do and it’s nice to know that they’re right there if/when I want them

Now, reasons to exit Facebook:

1. Some of my “friends” seem to annoy me more and more on a daily basis. I’ve recently taken to hiding their updates.

2. It’s clear that some of my “friends” are no longer people I’d be friends with offline. It’s time to say goodbye.

3. I don’t know how to delete some of these “friends” without hurting people’s feelings. I guess I’m not a good breaker-upper (I know that’s not an English word but I like it so it stays 🙂 )

4. It’s turned me into a lazy friend and from my incoming call log, it seems to have done the same to my actual, real life friends. Not cool

5. I feel exposed. Some of these people are people I wouldn’t tell some of the stuff I post on my wall. Keep in mind that I don’t post explicit stuff or super personal stuff but still….the idea that someone might read something on my wall that would give them greater access to my life, thoughts, etc just weirds me out e.g. if an actual friendm says something like “hey Mia, have a safe trip…sorry things are tough right now….congrats on the new car…” then some random guy or gal would know that I’m traveling or going through a rough patch or bought a new car or whatever. So weird. It’s like yelling my info out in the middle of downtown DC or Times Square. Who does that???? Facebook, that’s who!

Also keep the following in mind:

1. My privacy settings are really high. You can’t even search for me on Yahoo or google. It’s completely private

2. I don’t accept hugs, play games, accept gifts etc. Basically, if it requires me to accept anything, I don’t accept it. I say this to say that only my “friends have access to my info”

I point this out to say that I really do use Facebook to keep in touch with my friends and acquaintances but it’s all getting to be just a little creepy. I’m also logging on several several several times a day, which is so lame! I know I could quit but I feel guilty. Seriously! I feel like I’d be throwing out the baby with the bath water, so to speak. In other words, I feel that by deleting my entire profile I’d be tossing out the useful contacts along with the useless ones.

So….I’m in a quandry when it comes to Facebook. What’s a girl to do?

A Paradox…a most ingenious paradox…hahaha….

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That’s a line from one of my favorite operettas, The Pirates of Penzance. What a great show! Anyway, I seem to have entered an interesting phase in my life: the randomness phase, complete with irony and a paradoxical existence.

I’m going to spare you all the details and save those for my shrink 🙂 However, I did have a moment of realization today that even though things are not working out the way that I’d like, there’s still so much good happening – and what a pleasant surprise! The thing is, I’m quite the type-A person and I want things a certain way. To be fair to myself, I DO work my tail off so that I can have the outcome that I want. Since you don’t know me, allow me to tell you how well that plan has been working: it hasn’t. Not by a long shot, but let’s let the shrink deal with that 🙂 🙂

All of that being said, I am learning to remember as often as I can that just because I have a plan doesn’t mean that it is the BEST possible plan. As a Christian, I am reminded often to trust God and let me tell you; it’s no easy task. However, there is something to be said for that because according to my favorite verse (Jer. 29:11), he evidently has a plan in place for my life, and yours and everyone else’s. I hope that’s true because I’ve done all I can do.

Let me end by sharing with you something that has held me together through the toughest times: He sees what is in front of us and ahead of us. We only see what is in front of us. Obviously I hope that if you’re reading this things are going great in your life. Fantastic even! If not however, take heart and dare to allow the paradox and ironies in your life. You might find that your friends have fled when you needed them BUT then a friend you wouldn’t even think of asking for support steps up to the plate and gives you what you need, and then some! Just go with it and trust, and don’t forget to be thankful. Even if you’re not a Christian, trust in the knowledge that all will be well.

I hope to hear from you on this and if you’d like to, definitely feel free to share your thoughts or comment or whatever you’d like. God bless and hang tight!

Facebook – Finale

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A funny thing happened on the way to the fair. Haha, I’ve always wanted to say that and it cracks me up every time 😀 Seriously though, I thought it’d be good to post an update on my latest issues with FB. On the very day I posted about Facebook and its shenanigans here on my blog, I was able to log into my account and then actually got a response from their help team. As it turns out, they DO exist! Whoddathunkit? I don’t know if one had anything to do with the other, although I’d like to think that it did.

Needless to say, I didn’t deactivate my account because after I painlessly logged in, I realized how much I really would’ve missed certain friends. I am however considering trimming down my friends list, from 300+ to something more manageable like 50 or 10. I don’t wanna go through Facebook withdrawal so maybe I should try to cut it down 1o at a time.

Any advice? I’d appreciate it.

Taking Chances

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Today I took a chance on something and you know what? It felt good! I started this blog as a way to help me grab life by the horns and sometimes I forget. Well, not today! I normally put this stuff in my “Yes Trail” – which by the way you should check out; it’s near my “About” page – but not today. Today I’m putting this right here so you all will know that I TOOK A CHANCE and I’m ok, no matter the outcome.

Of course I won’t know the outcome until hopefully tomorrow, maybe later this week or next month or maybe never. Either way, I hope that I’ll remember this day, especially if my chance doesn’t work out as hoped. I just felt that it was important to have a witness to this, the continuation of a life that is lived with more YESes than NOs. You, my reader, are my witness so thanks!

Pop over to the Yes Trail and follow my YES path and then pop back over in a few days and watch this space regarding the outcome. Until then, take chances and make an effort to live the life you want by saying YES to life, love and opportunity.

YES to the future 🙂

10.27.09 Update:

It totally paid off to take a chance. I got the answer to my question and I’m happier for it. I’m happy to have answers but more importantly, I’m proud of myself for daring to ask what I needed to ask and know what I needed to know. I’m proud of myself for taking a chance and taking a leap of faith, while hoping for the best. Take a chance but remember to remain open to the outcome.

Good luck! 🙂

It’s not over-yet!

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I’m not gonna lie; even though I’m back from a summer of crises, I’m still facing some leftover stuff. That’s a nice way of saying “I still have some shitty and weepy days.” I’m not even kidding; I have days (or hopefully, moments in days) when I feel like things will never really get better. As if things couldn’t be worse, I find that as a christian my faith isn’t always the rock I’d hoped it’d be and even worse? Sometimes christians haven’t exactly been supportive, as though somehow this was all my fault…maybe if I was just a more perfect christian, went to church more, blah blah fucking blah 😦

Anyway, I was having some such moments and lucky for me I had a friend. My girl LT (you know who you are :)) happens to be loving, supportive, understanding, compassionate and so much more AND she’s a christian who understands where I am and why I’m there. There was lots of talking and tissues involved. In the midst of it all, she said “it’s not over yet.” Such a simple statement and yet she might as well have YELLED it coz that’s exactly how I heard it. Don’t get me wrong: a lot of what was said was helpful to me but this simple sentence was a lifesaver tonight.

I share this to say that if you’re out there feeling like shit, try to remember that it’s not over yet. As cliche as it sounds, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and no, it’s not a train 🙂

To my friend LT, thank you for being the kind of friend I’ve needed these last few months, weeks, days and tonight. I love you and I’m thankful to you. Big hugs and kisses your way.