Becoming a Better Friend - Part 2
Much mail has poured in following my last blog post.
You know, when I decide to write and publish something, I sometimes wonder if anyone will care. "Will anyone resonate with this?" "Will this be a bunch of noise in their inbox, or will it add to their lives?" Often, I jump in, trusting that if it matters to me, it may matter to at least one more person. And one person makes it worth it.
So last week, I shared about my time in the rose garden, and what I learned over there while sipping the-best-tea-in-the-world.
As I finished writing and got ready to share it with the world, I had a feeling that I had forgotten something, but I could not grasp it. So, being the impatient writer that I am, I pressed "send." And then I also sent it to my friend, who had inspired it.
Within minutes, I was reminded of the one point I had forgotten to mention. Conveniently so.
The evening before we were supposed to meet, I learned that there was most likely going to be a lot of rain the next day. The day when I was going to be on the road for 8 hours with a pup in the seat next to me. That felt pretty daunting, and as I scanned the horizon on the trip, it occurred to me that it may not be so wise to make a stop along the way, that maybe it would be best to push through. Considering that option, I texted my friend to let her know of my possible change of plans.
I did not hear back from her that night, and the next morning, the sky looking somewhat friendly, I let her know that I would see her soon.
We met, we had a heart biggering time (see the previous post), and as she walked me to my car, she told me how glad she was that I had not canceled, after all. Something in her voice made me pay extra close attention. "I was pretty devastated that you may not be coming," she continued. For the twenty-plus years that span our deep friendship, she and I had made hundreds of plans together and canceled a bunch of them, too. Sometimes at the last minute, with nothing more than a "no worries, sweetie. I will see you soon," from either one of us. This was different. Because, right now, everything was different. She explained that she felt so "needy" (her words) and so sensitive (my words) that any broken hope of possible connection was painful. I got it. And I got how much I had not gotten it.
So there it was, "the missing point." The conveniently missing point.
As an addendum to the original list, I now want to add two points:
If you make plans with your friend, don't break them. Better to not promise than to cancel. This is a different world and what was ok "before," no longer is. Her words (yes, she is a beautiful writer): "Don't say you are going to connect, and then don't, if at all possible. When you are not seeing anyone or having anything in life just for yourself, other people's commitments to you are like pitons that anchor you and hold the weighty burden of your life. When they pull out, you fall."
When offering help, be specific. Because life is so overwhelming, it's hard to think of answering vague requests. Instead of "what can I do for you?" ask: "I am going to stop by the Farmer's Market tomorrow afternoon. What can I pick up for you?" "I am going to drive past your house, may I drop off a bouquet by your front door?"
So there you go. Thank you for letting me take you with me on this ride of becoming a better friend.
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