One of the things I have really been trying focus on in the past few years is being a good friend. I realized how blessed I have been in my life with wonderful friends and I wanted to be there for the people who are always there for me. Sometimes it's really hard to find the right thing to do or how exactly to actually be a "good friend."
The biggest thing standing in my way was being too sensitive or taking things too personally. I found this out when I moved away to New York. I would end up seeing my girlfriends from back home when we would be on the road for the auto show and I felt so out of the loop. They were having all these adventures back home and knew each others day to day lives and I wasn't a part of that anymore. I started feeling defensive because I sort of felt like they were purposely shutting me out. I kept pushing them away by making comments or trying to hold on too tightly to the friendship. I finally realized that the only person making me feel left out was me. I could still be a part of the group and in their lives, it just wasn't going to be the same way. Unfortunately our friendship dynamic had to change because I made the choice to move away.
Out here in Singapore I'm learning lots of friendship lessons. Holding on to new and old friendships from back home is, understandably, increasingly difficult. Not only because of the ridiculous time difference, but not everyone has Skype and I don't have a land phone line so communication is at a minimum. And there's so much I'd love to explain about my life here, but a lot of it is just unexplainable! I miss my friends so much though, and try to make an effort to stay involved and make them feel like I am available.
I'm trying to figure out how to be a good friend to new friends. I'm surrounded by a lot of those here! I love it, but I struggle with how to not take things personally and to be available to new friends. I felt really bad tonight because I had to miss a new friends birthday party. I ended up getting scheduled at work tomorrow night so Del and I had to have our Valentines Day a day early. I'm sure she totally understands, but I feel really bad saying "yes," to attending a party or function and then backing out. I know how cruddy that makes me feel so I really try not to commit to something I think I may not be able to follow through with. I just hate letting anyone down.
I guess I'm just finding that it's harder to know what being a good friend is with new friends. When should suggest a girls night with wine and snacks? When do you need to just let them vent? When do you just back off and leave them alone? I'm trying to remember what I found before. The dynamic will just work itself out and I can't take it personally if it doesn't.