By Elisa Morgan
WANTED: Female Friend. Age: Less (as in age-less). Location: Present. Availability: When needed. Skills: Non-judgmental listening ears and voice given to both constructive critique and compliments. Pay: Reciprocity.
On the subject of friendship, I’m very clear: I know what I want in a friend. That’s easy. Harder – for me - is being friendable. Approachable. Open to the new. Willing to do the work of investing from scratch.
During a break at a women’s event, I’m lunching with the leadership committee. I respond politely to their inquiries, “Tell us about yourself, Elisa.” Where do I start? I could wade in and begin with the story of my parents’ divorce when I was five, my mother’s struggle with alcohol, my uber-vigilant life as a child and adolescent. That would take too long. And require too much energy. I still have another presentation ahead.
Instead, I could skim the surface of “me”. I speak, and write. Yep, I led MOPS International for twenty years. Great husband. One super duper grandchild. Two grown-yet-still-growing kids. Uh Oh. Suddenly I’ve dipped into the deep again.
I paddle back to the shore.
How do I open myself to friendship in such a way that I stay safe and yet risk knowing and being known?
Time for some honest self-examination. How badly do I want to be known? Honest answer: it depends. On my mood, my current circumstances, my schedule, my needs. But friendship doesn’t wait to form just when we are in the mood or need it. It’s formed in the daily and the dramatic so that when we need it, it’s there.
Deeper now. What am I doing to risk being known? Hmmmm. I share. I do. I open up. In fact, I can be honest to a fault. So much spilled out so that others sit staring and wondering how they can ever connect with my messes. That is, until they realize they relate. By that moment, the conversation has moved on.
But I also hold back. I busy myself with busyness. Busy busy busyness. “I’m gone all week!” “I could fit in a breakfast – oh but I have a meeting right after!” Three-minute voicemails serve as catch-up “conversations”.
I want friends. But how friendable am I willing to be?
For the rest of this Weekly ReFill click HERE and enjoy the My Fill Column in the Friend O Mine digizine. And tell your friends – be FRIENDABLE!