At one time or another, everyone has felt the need for friendship. We desire the connection that comes in sharing common interests and experiences. It may become a feeling of desperation. To sense that you do not “fit in” with the crowd can be discouraging. It may be difficult to approach your peers with concerns of inadequacy or embarrassment. Depression and anxiety can prevent one from risking vulnerability in social situations. Perhaps you are not specifically looking for new friendships, but instead recognize the need in someone else. To act upon this instinct can shape our character through compassion, selflessness, and empathy. The sincerity needed to form meaningful relationships requires time, patience, forgiveness and understanding, all of which come with practice.
During certain periods of my life I was self-centered, dishonest, and uninterested in my “friend’s” lives. I hunted for what I could gain from the relationship. I was not concerned how my behavior would affect my friends or family. Most of my relationships were short-term and I really didn’t care if they disappeared as long as I got what I wanted from them.
On the contray, there were those friends, the truiest of any who stayed true. Those who loved me, even when I was horrible. They forgave me when I abandonded them and they waited for me to return when I was confused.
Later in my life as social situations became less frequent and most of my time was spent at home with my daughter, I found myself feeling very lonely. I craved the interaction of other adults and a chance to leave the tediousness of my own mind. I intently prayed to develop friendships. I prayed to meet other mothers that shared my interests. I was reminded of these prayers while reading a journal entry from almost a year ago. As I read the definition of the type of friend that wished to uplift my spirits, I realized I was reading the perfect description of my sweet friend, Ana. My life had been blessed by Ana through her willingness to listen. Regular treats and goodies appeared at my door. She also asked simple favors of me that made me feel needed and trusted. She set an example for me at a time when I needed righteous influences in my life. She exemplified a charitable person and how to accept and love others without reservations or judgment.
My confidence is greater now and I pray for the opportunity to bless others the way that Ana blessed me. These opportunities creep in slowly, like the morning sun casting through the window. I see the same needs in other women that I have experienced. I see that look like any minute they are going to burst into tears. I see that lonesome or rundown, unsure, or insecure look on the faces of so many women. We find ourselves lost in our own thoughts and the only way out is a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen. Most often a deep psychological analysis is not necessary to form meaningful friendships, but rather amusing one on one attention can bring healing to an individual’s self-esteem.
I have recently encountered one woman with common feelings of insecurity and depression. I wonder how I can make an impact on her life the way that Ana made an impression on mine. I openly share my mistakes and weaknesses with her, not because I am proud of them, but as a way of saying, “see, I’m not perfect. Don’t worry, I won’t judge you.” This is done in absolute sincerity, risking judgment for the chance of friendship.