I'm a crappy kind of friend

I've shared recently about my fear of making personal phone calls, but as I was searching deep inside of myself with God's help ("Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."--Psalm 139:23-24 AMP), I realized that I'm really bad at this thing called friendship.

It's not that I don't want to have friends; it's not even that I don't recognize the traits of a good friend, the actions it requires to become a good friend. It's simply that friendship carries a risk--of pain, of loss of control, of being betrayed. I'm deeply afraid of those things although I am working a little bit each day towards casting off my fear.

In fact, the hardest part of this is my fear of making NEW friends. The people who have known me for years have learned to accept me and my lopsided connections and interactions. But when I meet someone new and strike up an interesting conversation, I am later paralyzed by the idea of trying to extend an acquaintance beyond the initial conversation. I believe I've lost the opportunity to make many friends because of this.

This weekend, my husband and I went to dinner at our favorite restaurant. Our server was a beautiful mother who I initially met a couple of years ago at my daughter's middle school. She volunteered, just as I did. We had a couple of pleasant conversations then, but it never went beyond that. Although at that time I had her email and phone number, I would never have dared to call her. In my mind, that was crossing a professional/personal line that was inappropriate. (I have to admit here that I see "all or nothing" thinking at play in my life often...this is one of those places!)

She recognized me, and of course, I recognized her. But her recognition went deeper. She had seen the episode of "Hoarders" that I had been on with my mother. All of a sudden, I realized she already knew more about me than most people want or need to! She was very kind, and as we were leaving, she gave me her email address and asked me to keep in touch.

I was blown away! Knowing myself far too well, I came home and emailed her that evening. I knew that if I waited until the next day, I would chicken out and miss the opportunity to make a friend...AGAIN. And I'm done missing opportunities!

I did warn her in my email that I struggle with making contact, but that I was happy to have bumped into her and hoped that we could get together for coffee soon. My schedule stays busy, but I refuse to let that be an excuse for not stepping out in faith and making new habits, learning new responses, and having new friends!

I'm hoping to meet up with her next week...I'm carving out time to grow this friendship. She's already stepped out...now it's my turn. And while it scares me, I know down deep this is how it works.

Father, thank you for giving me opportunities all the time to step out and create a new pattern, practice my new story--the one of the beautiful, meek but confident daughter. Continue to bless me with people who are patient and understanding, and allow me to bless others by sharing my struggles as I keep moving forward in recovery with your help. In Jesus' name, AMEN.

Comments

kisapele said…
me to girl, me to...I used to think it was that I hated small talk, or hated telling my story so I wouldn't and then I would feel that they didn't really know me anyway. But the truth is, women in particular frighten me, I am eternally untrusting and wary of them. I take things slow and follow the signs that are all around us...you know, like the one you experienced. People are brought into our lives for a reason, we should try our best to embrace the opportunities to learn and grow.

Love <3 (its Rene BTW)
Ceci G said…
Thanks, Rene! I knew that this wasn't just for kids who grew up with a hoarding parent! It's a big step to acknowledge of distrust and try to embrace each opportunity. <3 you too!

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