The other day I was cleaning out my emails, and I came across a very old email from a former best friend and it got me thinking about how my friendships have changed over time. The gist of the email was how, at the time, I was a bad friend and how my friend felt that I was so consumed with my infertility struggle that she needed to take a break from our friendship. On top of that, she said I should consider taking antidepressants and seek a counselor. Wow! It still kind of hits a nerve when I read it.
The reason I am sharing this with you is that there have been times when I’ve thought “I wish someone that cared about me, that really knew me could’ve shaken me out of the depths of my infertility struggle. Why didn’t any of my friends try and slap some sense into me? Why didn’t one of my friends tell me I wasn’t being a good friend or that I was neglecting them?” I remember thinking that the people around me just didn’t understand how I felt, how hard life was for me at the time or how alone I felt.
Well, after reading this email, it turns out one of my friends attempted to; however, after reading the entire email a couple of times, I now question the “slap some sense into me” approach. All this approach did for me at the time was to put me in the defensive mode (I also found my email response to her).
What did help was the more loving, gentle, conversations from friends, where they expressed how concerned they were about me and how my infertility struggle was consuming my life. (Although, I recall needing to hear the same things over and over again before I could really hear them.) It was also the times they would simply listen and let me express exactly how I was feeling, without trying to “fix it.”
Looking back, I know it was difficult for the people around me to provide support. They didn’t know what to do or say to help me and a lot of times, I wasn’t open to discussing how I was really feeling. What I do know is that I am grateful for those friends that remain in my life, the ones that saw me at my worst and now get to experience a more present, happy me, one that can still get down, but one that can now also be the supportive, patient friend when needed. This makes me think about the following quote: “We have three types of friends: friends for a reason, friends for a season and friends for a lifetime.”
Have you noticed changes in your friendships similar to what I’ve shared? I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. It’s always great to hear that I’m not the only one . . .