In late September, before I left for a vacation with my husband, I was caught up with all most closest friends and family and bid them goodbye. While I was going to be on Facebook a bit and try to scan my emails occasionally, I was planning to be off-the-grid as much as possible. I said farewell and off we went on our dream trip to Greece. Cue forward three weeks and I felt like I came home to a rapidly changed world!
One of my closest friends, who was scheduled for a c-section the week after I
was to get home ended up having her baby two weeks before I returned. Not only was I not at the hospital with her as planned, but I wasn't even in the country. Others surrounded her, organizing meal drop-offs, helping babysit her other daughter, and cheering her up with love. All I could do was send an email of congratulations from afar... I whispered a prayer of thanks that she had built an entire community of friends who could love her well in my absence.
Another close friend, in the span of those three weeks, was so inspired by a friends detox program that she ended up not only starting the 21-day process herself, but already had other friends paying her to do their shopping, chopping, and cooking so they could join her in the cleanse. She and I are friends who tell each other everything in our weekly calls, but in missing 3 weeks-- I wasn't there to bounce ideas off of, cheer lead for her courage, or help think through pricing and possibilities. This diet wasn't even on her radar when I left; when I returned she had the beginnings of a business! I whispered a prayer of thanks that she had other friends who not only supported her in that entire launch, but who first gave her the idea, and some who became her first clients.
A similar thing happened with my sister who had a job opportunity come up, interviewed, got it, turned in her two-week notice, and started a new job, all in the span of my vacation! Again, prayer of thanks that she has an awesome community around her who helped validate and cheer her on along the way.
My life felt like it was placed on pause while I went off on a much-anticipated vacation, but there was no stopping the lives of everyone I loved while I was gone. All I could do was come home and give them my time on the phone to catch me up on everything that had happened in their beautiful lives: new babies, new vision, and new jobs! (What relief that it was all good stuff and not any crisis's!)
Our Friends Deserve All The Love They Can Get
I hear from many women who feel threatened if their friends make other close friends. Their egos get wounded because they interpret that interest in more friends as though it means that they are inadequate. And that can't be further from the truth.
The truth is, that when our friends make other good friends, it means our friends are healthy! It means our friends know the value of community and know what it takes to foster love in lots of different places. If we love our friends-- we will want others to love them, too.
All I did was go on a vacation. But it limited me from being "there" for my friends. All of us will have times in our lives where we can't be as available-- busy work periods, parents who need us, kids who are going through a rough patch, wedding planning that consumes our attention, having a baby that puts us out of commission for a bit, or going through a health challenge that leaves us without energy. There are any number of things in life that can constrain us from being the kind of friend we ideally would want to be; and many of them are to no fault of our own.
Our friends deserve having as many friendships as they can foster. They are better off with it. And so are we.
We're better off with them having other friends? Absolutely!
- Less pressure and obligation: They don't lean on us too much, expecting us to be and do everything.
- More meaningful time together: They're typically happier and more centered with more friends so our time with them will feel more energetic and positive.
- More fun and opportunity: We will get to meet their friends at some events and possibly get exposed to more people we already know are wonderful (because our friend has chosen them!)
It's Our Responsibility
If we're feeling jealous, it's not her fault. It's our responsibility to make sure that we are initiating time with her and making the most of the time we have together.
If we feel resentful that she isn't meeting all our needs, it's not her job to do so, but rather our responsibility to surround ourselves with a circle of love.
We need to foster additional friendships, too; not to replace her (and maybe not even ones we'll enjoy as much as with her!) but to feed other parts of our lives and to ensure that we have our own support system of meaningful friendships.
We all -- us and our friends -- need as much love as we can handle! :)
Leave a comment: What other perks have you experienced in your friend having other friends? Or... what has made this especially hard for you?