So, some of recent posts have stirred up a response lately.
A Dud Dad caused a bit of a shit storm – but more about that later. That can be another post.
Road Trip! caused a stir as well. But not because I swore in it or that I admitted we were going on a road trip in a campervan. No, because I defined the nature of the friendship of the people we were travelling with.
I described them as long-term, infrequent contact friends, not ‘daily waterers.’ I have many of these friends – without Facebook, the relationship would be just as intact, but certainly less updated. If we are within a bulls roar of each other in our travels we will touch base, if something dire happens we drop and run to assist, but the contact can be sporadic and even annual. The ultimate in low maintenance, yet no less meaningful for it.
The term daily waterer was not meant as a derogatory one, but just a point of reference, but it hit home with a dear friend (DF) of mine.
She rang me and asked if I was upset with how often she contacted me, or wanted to see me. I asked her what brought all of this on, and she mentioned my blog post. She wanted to know if she was a daily waterer and was I pissed about it?
(Yes, I see the irony of this conversations direction!)
Blessed lady, of course I am not pissed about you wanting to see me, or hear from me, or tell me something.
NOT AT ALL. It is a compliment, and just the way that particular friend ship works. You need or want to touch base regularly. Ok.
I am extraordinarily low maintenance as a friend, in general – I don’t count favours, I don’t need long coffee fueled chats ( I enjoy them, but I don’t NEED them- I have a psych, a blog and 2 dogs!) I love socialising, but I need time to recharge and refuel. But mostly I’m low maintenance purely become my time is taken up elsewhere…
She admitted that she is frustrated by how I seem to always be busy, which I both apologised for and then didn’t. I AM always busy because I work shift work, full-time – so when you are having a wonderful day off on the weekend, I am cramming in a weekends worth of parenting in the morning hours before going to work at midday. If it’s important, I’ll reshuffle, if it’s not, I’ll take a lazy coffee with my boys in pyjamas thanks…or I’ll be at work,by 7.
…and to have her lower down on the priority list than she would like – well, I explained that if she truly needed something, I would be happy to elevate her priorities, but that she often had no idea about what my personal priorities were and that when she was bored and wanted to curl up on the couch and chat, I had just come home from work, was having a late dinner and was getting ready to go to work first thing in the morning. Or was busy being mum and wife to people I had not seen for 48 hours.
….and that it was easy to feel distanced from me – which I acknowledged and then reassured her that I did not need constant contact to feel secure in our friendship – maybe a funny text, or a FB message could sustain me, as I often went much longer time and distance without speaking to my husband than I did speaking to her – and I am very happily married! That a lack of contact on my part actually spoke to how secure I felt in that she still loved me even without communication.
We had a long chat, in which I reassured her and she reassured me and we agreed that she was a daily waterer, but she would promise not to lose her proverbial shit with anxiety and paranoia when I failed her in my contact quota and I would promise to make her feel more important without feeding her level of insecurity either. It was a frank and honest convo, one which I reflected on during the rest of my holiday, testing it out, thinking about whether I had been fair to both of us.
I asked my psych once if it was alright to define my friendships, as I had previously been quite the nut job as a friend, trying to be all things to each person and being really shit at it, and she said it absolutely was. She said that not all friends will give what you need, and not all of them can, or want to. So it was perfectly alright to have different friends for different things, fulfilling different aspects. Just as I am different things or offer different attributes to different people in my role as a friend.
To all my friends, whatever type of potted plant you may be, whether you are my friends for a reason, a season or a lifetime, I say THANKS! And don’t sweat the small stuff, because I try really hard not to.