Friend (noun): a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard.

I’ve had a rocky relationship with friendship for my entire adult life. Most of that time I’ve avoided forming deeper attachments with people, keeping my distance to avoid being let-down. I was afraid of being hurt after a life-changing event that left me reeling and feeling very much alone. I found it was much easier to rely on Matt rather than put my trust in anyone else, but that’s a heavy load for one person to carry.

In the last couple of years, I’ve started to take more risks, putting myself out there and trying to build relationships with people I’ve met here and there in life. I’m not sure what made me open up at that particular time - perhaps it was the loss of my mother, or subsequently becoming a mother and wanting to connect with other mothers (so I could learn how to cope).

It’s been an interesting process for me. I know that sounds so clinical, but I’ve tried to take a step back and really look at myself as a friend. You always hear that “to have a good friend you need to be a good friend” and I’ve often wondered if I am. I know I have my faults and I can be annoying and also geeky, but I do genuinely care about people around me, even if I don’t always show it well.

So, how’s the friendship game going for me now? Sometimes I feel bruised. I’ve realized that I never actually grew out of some of the super-sensitive tendencies I had as a kid. Sometimes I feel beaten and I honestly don’t know what I’ve done wrong. You can’t open up to the good without letting in the bad sometimes as well. There have been times I’m sorely tempted to crawl back into my comfy shell. Then I get to experience something really good that I know I would have otherwise missed.

So…

Mostly I feel blessed. I have people in my life that I can laugh with, share my struggles and talk about the minutiae of daily life. It may not be an essential for living, but it makes life so much more enjoyable. Yes, there is a risk of hurt, but that’s part of life and people aren’t perfect. A true friendship will have an overall positive impact that will outweigh the occasional negative every time.

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Written in participation of Bigger Picture Moments, “A moment where you recognized the role your faith plays in your every day life. A moment where you take note of motherhood and the importance of what you are doing. A moment that made you stop and breathe in the bigness of it all. The hugeness that is life and the small moments adding up to one Bigger Picture.” Check out this week’s posts at Life Set To Words.

Definition of “Friend” from Dictionary.com.