Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A week of friendship


Friendship is a funny thing. When I moved to my current neighborhood, I met a group of women who all had children the same age as mine. We had a bunco group, a book club, and a playgroup. As the kids grew older, people started drifting apart. Some of the moms moved on to other groups based on who their kids were hanging out with. Others got jobs, got busy, and stopped coming to gatherings. The book club disbanded first. The bunco group, which in the beginning had people begging to join, started begging for people to play. There remained a core group of ladies who stuck together. Kind of exclusive, they reminded me of high school.

For most of the time, I was on the outside. Even though I was included in the get-togethers, I didn't feel like I fit in. I had a job--actually, a career, and I was a runner. Oh, and I liked my husband. All of those things set me apart from most of the women, who were, at the time, stay at home moms. While I had a few close friends from the group, most of the friendships I did make with the women felt superficial to me. I'm not good at superficial. At a lot of the parties, all the women would sit around the kitchen, eating appetizers and talking. Loudly. I'm not good in big groups. I didn't have a lot to say. Finally, I stopped going. I didn't like feeling badly about myself because I wasn't "one of them".


As I continued to focus more on running, I started meeting other women runners outside of the neighborhood. These friendships blossomed. I started to realize that there was life outside of the bunco and playgroup ladies. My runner friends "got" me and accepted me. We had running in common, but we forged friendships based on goal setting and encouraging each other to be our best. There was no competition between us. My confidence in my running and in myself grew. This is what I imagined friendship to be.

I gradually stepped away from that neighborhood group and began to nurture my other friendships as well, my friends from the past who were always there for me. I started to reflect on why was I putting so much effort on relationships that weren't being reciprocated? What was so important about "fitting in" with a group of women who lived in my neighborhood? What really did I have in common with these women, besides our children and their activities? Why not focus on my real, meaningful friendships?


I have been off work this past week, and I made it my mission to reconnect with friends that I've neglected. Life has been almost overwhelming the past 6 months, and now I am in a place of calm. For a while, I couldn't talk to anyone about all that had happened with my son this year. Initially, I shared my issues with my running friends. But I finally opened up to my old friends. Should I have been surprised that there was no judgment, just lots of support? My friends were still there for me.

So this past week, I saw some of my friends from high school. And some old friends from work. What is it about those old friends, that you can just pick up where you left off and not skip a beat?

Of course, I saw my sister, who is and always will be the one who knows me best. Even though I have 2 other sisters, there is not the same bond that I have with this one. Truly, she is my best friend.

I also spent some time with some of my running friends, a group that continues to grow as we get to know more and more of the women in this amazing community! The support that I feel from all of these women is like nothing I've ever experienced in my life.

I'm grateful for this week of friendship. It felt good to reconnect. I am so lucky to have such amazing women in my life.

What does friendship mean to you? 

Interestingly, I had already planned my week of friendship post before DebRuns posted the Wednesday Word blog prompt! Coincidence? I think not...

Check out what the other bloggers say about friendship.



58 comments :

  1. I love that you made friendship your focus this week! Like anything else, we have to nurture those to help them grow. Yeah the running community is definitely unique and running friends are some of the best, wink wink!

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    1. I am so happy I was able to connect with so many friends this week! Looking forward to seeing you next week! Yep, running friends are the best!

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  2. I've had some similar thoughts on friendships the last few years. Life is too short to spend time and effort on friends that don't reciprocate.

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  3. I don't see my old friends often but how true, it's like we saw each other yesterday.

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  4. I have very few close friends, but my running friends are the best. Nothing like going on a long run with them to share our lives.

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    1. We don't run together (we all live pretty far apart), but we meet at races, dinner, and do frequent group chats. They get me.

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  5. I never do well in group settings or at parties, it's just not my thing. I feel uncomfortable. I actually have only a few people I feel really close to. A few friends are far away now and we only talk a few times year, but they still feel closer than folks I chat with every day.
    I've always had a hard time keeping up with folks though, daily stuff is so consuming, I have a hard time balancing stuff i guess.

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    1. I'm like you...I tend to get bogged down in daily life! It was nice to have time this week to get things back on track!

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  6. This is lovely. I need to make more time for friends, but like you said, it's amazing that with great friends you can just pick up wherever you left off no problem.

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  7. I love when you're able to meet up with old friends who you haven't seen in ages, talk for hours, and pick up right where you left off. That's a true sign of a great friendship.

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    1. Oh my gosh, yes! It was great to pick up like that!

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  8. We go to the cookouts at the neighbor's....that's the extent of friendship anymore. My only friends are online.

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    1. Isn't it tough? With work, family, and life...it's hard to make time for much else.

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  9. Friendship to me is something precious... I lost my best friend to cancer 8 years ago... you realize how sweet real friends are when that happens.

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    1. I lost a good friend to cancer over 15 years ago, and every once in a while something crosses my mind that I would love to tell her...

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  10. Wow, so well written. Friendships are hard & I guess I don't put enough energy into them. I just feel I don't fit in, why try. My daughter is my best friend. FB running friends like you are great! Women groups - so much drama! But women who run are always full of encouragement and positive energy!!!

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    1. It's so good to hear this from you. I love that your daughter is your best friend. I think that's amazing!

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  11. Great post Wendy I think the best friendships are the ones you really don't have to work at. You just seem to relate easier and can say things without having to explain where your coming from.

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  12. Love this!! Best sentence: "I'm not good at superficial" ...neither am I... I'm not good at pretenses and not being completely honest... It's just not worth it my time. Interestingly, I met some great ladies through a mom's group when I moved to LA, and then we changed neighborhoods, and I haven't had as easy a time connecting with some of the women in our new neighborhood and school district. So my core friends are still from the old neighborhood, and I came to terms with not having to be really good friends with the parents of who my kids hand out with.... And I'm looking forward to making more runner friends as that is becoming a bigger part of my life every day.

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    1. Runner friends are the best friends, I think!!

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  13. I relate to so much of this! I love my blogging friends because they 'get' me.

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    1. I feel the same way! I love my blogging friends.

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  14. What I consider friendships have definitely evolved. In our first neighborhood, everyone was our age and we had BBQs and block parties every weekend. In our second neighborhood, everyone was much older...*crickets*. I've been trying to reconnect with what was once my closest friend. She has gone through a really difficult time and I've tried to be supportive and patient. But at some point, you just stop trying. My sister is truly my best friend but I don't get to see her but a few times a year. She will visit next month. Yeah! I'll be seeing you soon, Sista!

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  15. Over the past few years I've said goodbye to some friendships that weren't serving me, and I'm all the better for it.

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  16. Awesome! I'm so glad you found some friends who were worthy of you and vice versa. I am fortunate to have some great friends, and while there are some I have had to move past, I cherish the ones I have.

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    1. I'm in a good place with friendship right now. Glad you are too!

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  17. Great post Wendy I think the best friendships are the ones you really don't have to work at. You just seem to relate easier and can say things without having to explain where your coming from.

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  18. My best friend is a non runner and I don't think we really have anything in common but we were so close in college and remain close. I can talk to her about anything. Then there are my running friends that love to talk about their training and their goal race coming up. I think the variation of friendships are the best.

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    1. That would be my friend from high school and me. I just love her.

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  19. I'm a big believer in synchronicity. That's so funny that you were already planning this post.

    I've reconnected with a few college friends via FB. Every few years or so I get to visit with my friends from high school. Ironically, I moved to MD after college, they ended up down there too, a little later, but then I moved to VT, then TX, now back to NY . . . and they've been in MD all this time.

    I've made some good friends online & managed to meet up with some of them even though we live far apart.

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    1. I"m truly amazed at the friendships I've made online. Who knew?

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  20. I am so glad you found a group of women you connect with. That is so important. It is also wonderful that you got to reconnect with friends during your week off. I love doing that in the summer. During the school year I am no fun at all because I am so busy. But during the summer I am like "Hey guys, remember your old pal Megan???" haha.

    There are many people I work with who I like as *people*, but I just know I don't connect with on a friendship level, and that is okay. I love and appreciate them, even if we don't connect outside of work. Most of my true friends are just a handful of people I know from high school or from performing in musicals. They are just the type of people you described- you can not see them in awhile but then we pick up just like not a day went by. I am so thankful for those relationships.

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    1. Most of my coworkers are like yours...we are friendly, but not friends. Every once in a while tho, there is that connection, and I'm fortunate to have made some friends with coworkers over the years. You just never know who you'll connect with. My runner friends? They're just the best...

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  21. As I commented on Holly's post earlier, if my circle gets any smaller it will be a dot! Seriously, I've lost touch with almost everyone I ever considered a friend. Honest to goodness, I have three actual FRIENDS. Tons of acquaintances, but three FRIENDS. And none of them live close by. Sure, internet buddies are great, but it's not the same as a real life, flesh-and-blood friend showing up on your doorstep at 9pm with a bottle of wine and two glasses like I used to have. I miss that so much. I moved to this town 10 years ago in January and have never felt like I fit in here. The only place to meet anyone around here is at church or at a bar, and I'm not into either of those things. lol

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    1. That's tough. I think it's hard to start new somewhere. Hopefully you can find some local friends who share your interests!

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  22. I would say my good friends are 50/50 runners/non-runners. I've also found that guy friendships are much easier than women's because there's much less drama! :-)

    I'm so glad my word fit so perfectly into your week. Thanks for linking up!

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    1. I used to feel that way about guy friendships, but the friendships I've cultivated now are so low drama, it's refreshing!

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  23. This is a great post. I have felt similarly as you in large group situations! I love that episode of Friends, oh Phoebe!

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  24. Love it. I think the truest friends are those that are always there for you, no matter what, and for whom time apart or distance don't matter.

    I have also experienced the cliques, big-time, with circles of friends. It made me realize the importance of being able to truly be yourself around certain people - you shouldn't have to "try" to fit in! Quality over quantity when it comes to friends, for sure.

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    1. Absolutely! I don't know why it took me so long learn this, but there it is!

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  25. I'm so glad you were able to take some time and reconnect, Wendy!! To me, friendship extends beyond the day-to-day and definitely withstands the test of time and distance; I have friends that I don't see for several months at a time but, when we meet up, we're off to the races like we've never been apart!

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  26. I remember asking my mom once who her best friend was and she replied her sister. My sister is my best friend. I'm hoping my daughters will share this as well. I love my friends that share my adventures running, swimming and riding. They love me even when I stink!

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    1. You're lucky you have girls. My sons are pulling away. I hope that changes!

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  27. The older I get the more I appreciate those true friends and move away from the fake ones. It's sometimes hard to find good ones, you are lucky!

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  28. How funny that your week of friendship coincided with this week's Wednesday Word! You know you have a good, and strong friendship when you can pick right up where you left off. I have a running buddy who is one of my best friends, and also a core group of friends from college. As for my college group, we don't get to see each other often. But when we do get to hang out together it always leaves me buoyant and happy and wishing we could spend time together more frequently. :)

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    1. I definitely need to do a better job of seeing my friends more often!

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  29. I have no words to express how deeply this powerful piece resonated.
    Thank you. Again.

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