True Friends

It’s been almost seven months since my car accident and I’ve learned so much from this experience. Granted, I never wanted to be in this situation, but it’s happened and the only thing I can do is focus on getting better, take the good out of this difficult time and {hopefully} encourage others with the things I’ve learned from it.

Before  I continue on, I want to say that this post isn’t me being passive aggressive, “bash” or have a “pity party” for myself. If I’m being honest, I have thought about typing up/publishing this post for months and months now. Every time it reappeared on my blog calendar, I would scribble it out and schedule something else. It’s not exactly an easy topic, or one that will make me many friends. This has been on my heart and I thought I would share it with you. 

I’ve always known that hard times reveals your true friends, it’s a fact of life. It’s been quite a while since I faced something truly life changing, or something I would classify as “hard”, but I would definitely say the accident has been major in my life. It’s changed my outlook on health, the things I used to take for granted such as work, driving and even standing, and it’s also changed my thoughts on friends.

hardtimes

You may think the quote above is a bit dramatic, but if you truly think about it, it’s true. When you face a difficult situation, it’s not uncommon for people to step back from your friendship, treat you differently, or possibly even pull away completely. It’s usually not an easy task to “walk” with your friends through valleys- sometimes you just don’t know the words to say, how to react, or you just are uncomfortable with everything. Truth is, it’s during these times where they need a TRUE friend .

Qualities of a true friend:

  • They check in on you. It can be as simple as a text or email, but these things mean a lot. Trust me. It’s better to text them even a simple “thinking/ praying for you” than letting days, weeks, months go by and not saying anything. You may have a friendship where you don’t have think you have to do these things, but if they’re going through a difficult time, these things mean the world.
  • They encourage you to get out of the house, even if you don’t want to {occasionally}. It’s so easy to wallow in your grief or pain and start having a pity party for yourself. Sometimes you really do just need to get out for a bit. It’ll make them feel “normal” for a little while.
  • They are there for you. There may be awkward silences, or moments of crying, but you will remember the times when they were there. It’s amazing how sometimes even just their presence can make a world of difference.
  • They do everything they can to help you. I personally dislike inconveniencing anyone for anything. I’m the type that does things the hard way so I don’t have to ask anyone for help. Truth of the matter is, everyone needs help at sometime, and usually when you’re going through a rough patch, you need help. Offering to help makes it so much easier than having to ask. {Don’t offer to help if you aren’t willing to actually follow through}
  • They don’t gossip or share your difficulties with others. Sometimes there are situations where others may ask, or someone needs to step in, but no one likes their “dirty laundry” or issues out there for anyone and everyone to know. Be discerning.
  • They surprise you with things you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be big {or even often}, but a small gift card, a little trinket, a book, a drink or meal…those things can really brighten someone’s day.

I could keep going, but these are the things that have meant the MOST to me during these last eight months. I’m not going to pretend, I honestly am surprised that some people who I THOUGHT were close friends haven’t contacted me once, or some have stopped checking in altogether. Yes, the accident is in the past and I am slowly recovering, but still it’s nice to know that they care, even just a little bit.

I don’t want a pity party, I promise. I guess I just have learned who TRULY are my close friends during this time. Have some actions {or lack thereof} changed my friendships with some people now or in the past? Absolutely.

hardtimes2

There WILL be some people who God has put in your life for just a season. It’s true, some people will walk through life with you for a few months, or years, and then the friendship fades. Honestly, sometimes this can be a good thing. Who really just wants “fair weathered” friends?

hardtimes3

I can’t wait to hear you all weigh in on your thoughts on how you would classify a true friend, how others have shown their friendship, or even listing the ways you feel like you could improve on being a friend.

In closing, I want to say that some of my blog readers {many whom I have never met} have been some of the sweetest friends a girl could ever ask for. Your comments, emails, words of encouragement have honestly helped me so much during this chapter of my life. I’ve learned so much from your example on how to be a friend. Thank you just doesn’t seem like enough for the things you have taught me.

Comments

  1. Sindhu says

    I don’t know what to say, honestly! This post has brought back many memories that I wish to get over with some day. I’ve had more ‘not really good’ friends than the good ones. I’m not blaming them, for it’s because of all those people that I’m stronger today. I couldn’t digest to this day that my best friend who I thought was one of the best things to have happened to me just ‘disappeared’.. We promised each other that we’d keep in touch no matter what. I did but she didn’t. She was a wonderful person but that’s how life is.

    On the brighter side, I made some fantastic friends recently in the blog world. I’m so glad about that…. Thanks a lot for this post Paulina… :)

  2. says

    Girl … you just put so beautifully into words what has been inside my mind for the past year! I had to re-read your entire blog post twice to let it all sink in … each time, my jaw dropped because what you wrote fits me ‘to a T’! In March 2012 I had a hysterectomy … and although I am not the first or last woman to have this done, it was a ‘big deal’ for {me} and consumed my life while I was living through the ordeal. I did find out who from my circle was a true friend as they ‘did the little things’ like you mentioned — just to let me know they were thinking about me and sending good thoughts my way! I didn’t need to inconvenience any of my friends, but it sure was nice to know they were thinking of me during this difficult time! Oh, how I wish I had know about your car accident sooner, sweetie … I would have been the first one in line to send some love and hugs your way! You are such a dear person and I find so much inspiration in the pages of your beautiful blog! I agree with you, I’ve ‘met’ the nicest people in blog land, and you, my friend, are at the top of the list! Hugs – xoxoxo

  3. says

    First off…{{HUGE HUG}}

    I applaud your wonderous courage in posting these feelings! The song I will survive by Gloria Gainer was running through my head as I was reading. ;) You WILL survive and get by without fair weather friends, like you said, who needs them? I can honestly say that right at this time, I don’t have a bestie in my life (you already know that story). I have “friends” but see them more as acquaintances to be honest, but no one that’s really there…know what I mean? Well, I’m doing just fine. I have a wonderful family as do you and in the end, I’ve come to realize that family IS everything and they will always be there for you. You are an amazing and sweet person and I have really enjoyed our talkes…even when you called me Momma Tina ;) hahaha. I wish you so much luck with your health and am still praying for you. I’m also glad that you are learning lessons from all of this. I wish you didn’t have to, because face it, they aren’t fun, but I’m glad that you are such a smart girl and see that yes, there is a lesson and that there is something you can do about it then you’ve taken action. Again, I applaud you, your faith and determination!

  4. says

    Great post! Friendships (quality vs. quantity) have been something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently too. Glad our “season” is 25+ years strong. Love ya!

  5. says

    uugggghhh! Once again you have me totally thinking, almost in tears ( not in a bad way!), and reevaluating myself. Something I rarely take time for so I’m glad when you put these personal posts up, and I thank you for it. I think your list is exactly what I would write describes a true friend, and my own thing is I wish I had more of them. I was always one of those girls who got along better with guys than with girls, simply because I related to their humor and less pettiness than I could with girls… now that I’m older it pretty much sucks that I don’t have any real friends that I can count on. No pitty party here either, just stating the facts. I think about it a lot now… I know I have the friends that leave a fb message to here and there or the acquantences of other girls, but no really true friend. The one friend that I am the closest too, hasn’t always reciprocated the “true friend” qualities and I find that I am always the one giving in that relationship, but sometimes I don’t know if that is simply because she doesn’t really know how to respond the same or not. Since I have two little ones I worry a lot about whether they will end up like me, and I try to instill a strong want/understanding of friendship with them, even at their young age. I will remind them to treat everyone as they want to be treated ( because honestly it is those negative things you do in your life to others that tend to stick out the most when reflecting ), and to keep in contact with those true friends they make in high school, as I’ve also found that college friends are so great to have but often when college is over they all move back to where they came and it is the high school friends that seem to be there again. And I completely agree it is those small things like a simple hello that really can change someones whole day. Fabulous post, and now that I’ve bored you with my life hehehe I wish you a wonderful day!
    Hugs!
    Lisa

  6. says

    What a heartwarming and thoughtful post Paulina. I have found in my life that friends do come and go, but family is always there for me. I sort of feel like Tina in that most of them are acquaintances more than a true friend. We had what we thought were many good friends until we moved (mind you that move was less than 10 miles away) to a different neighborhood. After many Christmas cards and calls to catch up I soon gave up when those things weren’t reciprocated. So I think I feel more guarded now and don’t get too friendly. I then had a new neighbor who I thought would be a good friend. But you know she showed up at my door EVERYDAY sometimes twice a day for the first two years we lived here. That’s just overbearing. She knew what time my hubs came home, when we ate…and she would always show up then. ACK! I can honestly say me hubby is my TRUE BESTIE and my mom and I are very close. I honestly feel some of the best friendships I’ve ever had are here in blogland. Such warm, thoughtful and caring ladies even though we’ve never met.I treasure so many of them. You my dear are one of those treasures. I continue to keep you in my prayers that the aftermath of your accident will soon find you feeling like yourself once again. BIG HUGS to you and thanks for this post. I think so many think it, but you had the courage to write it.

  7. Katie says

    Okay, I can’t resist. I have to admit it. It doesn’t come out of a specific time of difficulty in my life, but out of years of experience none the less. What I would have to say about true friends is that they aren’t only your friend when you have a “hot” and available brother. I have been hurt by that many times over the years, either overtly or by always wondering how many of my friends actually cared about me for ME. It’s no fun feeling like you are only the means to an end. So I guess the more general way to add it to my list would be that True friends care about you because you are YOU, and not because they think they can benefit from being your friend in some other way.
    I’m afraid there’s plenty more I can say on this topic . . . but that the rest might not be coherent at present. I also know that I’m not the perfect friend. I am very much an introvert, so being around people wears me out and if I’m already worn out by life/emotions/decisions (which has been very much the case in the last couple years), it’s hard for me to take the plunge and make myself be social. I’m also very ADD and constantly distracted by my to-do list, which doesn’t usually have people on it, though I’m working on that. In this (and so many other things…) I know my Lord still has much to teach me and grow in me, but I’m so grateful that along the way, through all the valleys of friendlessness, he has shown himself faithful and true, and those time have given me more space to make him my priority, my All in All (my theme song in lonely times in Alabama).
    Thanks for having the courage to write. And for putting up with annoying people who write excessively long comments.

  8. says

    I love this post, Paulina! It is so true. I would add that the true friends just let you talk and don’t try to brush over your feelings or your experience. I had a personal tragedy a few years ago and I was shocked at the number of people (including family) who wouldn’t let me talk about it. I would start to talk and they would change the subject. Some people never mentioned it, like it never happened. I was also happily surprised at the number of people who openly asked me how I was going, asked how I was feeling, and checked on me, even weeks/months later. Just the acknowledgement that something awful had happened made me feel SO much better. I try to be a good friend myself, but I’m not always that great at doing the right things. I am always there to help if needed, and I always listen, and I do send those texts, but I always feel I could do just a little bit more.

  9. says

    Thanks for reminding us all that being a good friend is all about being there. When I had my hysterectomy, my church offered to bring in meals for my husband and me. Instead, I asked them to provide lunches brought in by any of the women who woukd like to help while they’re here with small chores that I couldn’t do. It seems like they couldn’t sign up fast enough! Someone came every day at noon, brought me lunch, vacuumed, did laundry, emptied the dishwasher, brought in my mail and various other things. When my husband got home from work, he made dinner and cleaned up so I could get to bed early. The ladies kept coming for two weeks and gave me something to look forward to each day. I learned from there gracious TLC and have been inspired to do the same for others many times since. My only caution to other care givers is to make your visits short–more than 20 minutes can be very tiring at a time when so much rest is needed. When I visit in the hospital, I make it a point to stay only 15 minutes per visit, but come as often as needed. I also try to bring something like a handwritten Bible verse or an interesting local news clipping or a magazine of interest just to let them know I was thinking of them. You’re so right about it being the little things that make the difference!

  10. says

    I’ve lived my life feeling like I’ve never been a ‘good enough’ friend. I struggle with severe social anxieties and the fears I feel often affect my closest relationships. Naturally, people assume that I’m being distant, selfish or just not a good friend, when I’m dealing with something that keeps me from being there for them. Ugh. It sucks. So, in answer to your questions, I need to do ALL of the things you’ve listed…while being paralyzed with fear. So, I just have to figure out how to do it while I figure out my own issues. TMI? Probably, but it’s true :)

  11. says

    What a heartfelt post. I had to go back and read your post about the accident. I thank God that you are okay after that. My heart was racing reading the account. About 5 years ago, I was a passenger in a serious one-car accident where we flipped, rolled and crashed into a cornfield. The car was completely totaled but we were able to crawl out with only some scratches and bruises. The police officer said we must have had angels watching over us. I thank you for the reminder to reach out and do those little things that let friends know you care. Thanks for sharing.

  12. says

    i TOTALLY picking up what you’re throwin’ down, girl. when my dad passed away, i was rather hurt that only a few friends called, text, sent flowers (or rather, flower – i did get one plant) and even came to my dad’s memorial. i didn’t want to be selfish, but just liking a status update on facebook doesn’t make me feel loved. i needed people to be there, and many people who i thought would be, just weren’t. it was hard, but i was SO SO SO thankful for those who were there for me, especially at my dad’s memorial. it meant so much to me and i’m tearing up with just how thankful i am for them.

    may god continue to bless us with people who love us, even if it’s for a season. and may god love others through us. <3 <3

    lauren

  13. Janet S says

    I, too, thought about what you said and know how important friendship is to me. I have a special friend that I’ve had since we were 10 years old and I just turned 51 this week. She has been with me through good times and bad times. We have lived in different states since we were 18 years old, but we still remain close. I thank God for her every day. :D

  14. says

    My mom always tells me that people come into our lives for a reason or a season, and it is soooo true! Sometimes it is painful when friendships and relationships change, but it is simply closing one door to open another. The real challenge and joy, though, is to look back at the good times and be grateful they existed because that “season” WAS for a reason. Try not to regret that it is over. Just be happy that it happened. Paulina, you are a shining light of courage and inspiration. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. And I know that we don’t really know each other very well, but seriously, if you need anything, let me know. You have a fan and a friend here in Michigan, and you are in my thoughts as you continue to recover from your accident. Sending lots of love!

  15. says

    I’m new to your blog so I didn’t know all of this was going on with you but awesome of you to post it. We all need reminders to be good friends some times. And everyone who reads your blog who was good to you will feel appreciated. I sincerely hope you continue to get better and keep publishing the beautiful projects that brought me here whenever you are well enough to do so! Best wishes.

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