No Regrets

When we are young, first forming friendships, we tend to ‘end up‘ with people who are the closest in proximity to us. Though not necessarily likeminded. Or even likeable. Neighbor kids. Classmates. Teammates. Even family members. That’s who we spend our time with. Like an unwritten rule. Geography defines it. That is your friend now. Looking back…how often was it that those were people who were good for you? How often were they people that were good to you?

My father, in all his capacity as an understanding male role model, would tell me, “you don’t need to cry about everything”. And the still much loved, “you’re too sensitive.” And I remember the very first time he said both to me. When I was ten, I went to my first birthday party overnight. The four other boys decided together to lock me out of the basement room where we were supposed to sleep. After an hour of silently waiting on the stairs for a change of heart that would not come, I had to go upstairs into a home I did not know and ask the mother if she would call my dad to pick me up. I asked her what did she think he would say. She didn’t know my dad, and whatever her answer it would only be speculation. But I remember hoping this stranger would offer some sort of comfort. Anything. She told me, “he’s probably going to wonder why he has to come get you at 11 o’clock at night because you couldn’t handle it.” Though very close to home, the memory is that I was miles away.

But these are your friends…

As we grow older, friendships are less able to be outlined on a neighborhood map. All hail the driver’s license. And we make different choices if all goes as planned. We have choices. We don’t need anyone to call dad anymore. We make friends at work and school. We actively seek the likeminded. And those with similar interests. Which brings about a whole new set of issues. And realizing how few people truly match that criteria as our standards change.

I am an extreme introvert. I have never been much for ‘sportsball’. And swimming, tennis and golf don’t provide much of a male camaraderie. I rarely dated before I was married and I didn’t drink until well into my 30’s. This cut out a huge chunk of being exposed to other groups, new people, places or the snowball’s chance in hell of ever finding anyone I had things in common with, let alone got along with. Even less of a chance, someone I respected as a human.

Older still…we become even more mired in the day to day. The responsibilities of a household. A family. Work. Time is so precious. And so very limited. Where did the years go? And what sorcery is this that friends still don’t simply fall into your lap?! Life has changed, but the A-Ha moment of realizing you have to actually work for a real friendship has remained a constant. I suppose we merely stop being in denial of this as we age. It has always been true.

I do not subscribe to the toxic modality of bonding over similar hatreds, or negativities. It isn’t real. It doesn’t last. And you will become one of those hatreds or negativities. The scary and very exhausting truth is that meaningful friendships require an unnerving degree of intimacy. If you accept it. The sharing of both joys and failures. The openness of fears and hopes. The vulnerability of faults and shortcomings. The whisperings of secrets and needs. The giving up of pasts as well as present. And mutual acceptance of all of it. Indeed, it sounds terrifying. But superficiality has never intrigued me quite so much as someone who bares their heart to me. Who wants and allows me to see it and embrace it. Even on it’s ugliest of days. Of which I have many myself.

In these years of upholding the heaviest day-to-days, wearing our lifetime of battle wounds and struggle for only the chosen to see, friendship now importantly becomes about one thing. Time. The most scarce of commodities. Years on, now, from first being cruelly locked out, I have learned about investment. I have learned just how meaningful that time is. I have learned to see my investments through. Because they matter. Because hearts are precious. And they do exist. These are the things that will forever mean everything to me. And absolutely make all the difference. I won’t let anyone tell me It Doesn’t Matter…I would refuse to believe it.


41 thoughts on “No Regrets

  1. This was beautifully written and so very perceptive. I could relate to many of your feelings and experiences. Thanks, Sam.

    1. Thank you so much! Until my daughter started experiencing some of these uglier childhood things, I didn’t reflect much on exactly how they form us as adults. That look is always beneficial πŸ€—

  2. You’re right, and it so does matter. What you feel, what you want, and what you need always matter. Every single time. Beautiful post. ❀️

    1. I believe it, always. Thank you for understanding!!

  3. Reblogged this on Praying for Eyebrowz and commented:
    This one resonated.

    1. Thank you so much πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€—

  4. One of my points in my list of 49 things about me was that I often think I’m not cut out for relationships.

    This post feels familiar to me.

    Of course we need relationships, but as we get older and multitask obligations (family, work)…we get choosier whom we want to spend time with. And, what’s more, we give less of a fuck when the opportunities aren’t there to be social.

    I can be and often am an extreme introvert. Part of that is our hearing issues…it takes more effort. And all that. I get it.

    But then we can also appreciate on a whole other level the relationships that do prevail, right?

    1. I think at *least* 6 times out of 10 people I meet would never guess Im an introvert, but then most of those people are work aquaintainces and that’s the one place I don’t show it. Because I can’t. That is where introversion does not equal shy….its those remaining times it absolutely does.

      And yes, I 100% agree those disadvantages and roadblocks in communication make all the difference in nearly every situation. Ive always called it a ‘make or break’ where its going to work off the bat, or not at all. And that is very exhausting.

      Yessssss, I cherish anyone who has taken the kind of time it takes to really know me, and will *actually allow* me to know them as deeply. Surface and shallow is physically painful and meaningless to me and many people will walk away once you get underneath that layer. I’M TIRED!

  5. The complexity for me is in what you said about people baring their soul to you. As an INFJ, this happens a LOT to me. People telling me all kinds of intimate details that I end up not knowing what to do with that. I feel a strong urge to empathize and support, but if I did that for every person who opened up to me that way, I’d drown. So, I’ve had to learn which of those individuals I could also bare MY soul to, and get the kind of response I would give. Guess what? The list is AMAZINGLY short.

    Friendships, relationships of any kind are so complex. And require so much of both parties in order to thrive. I’m so much better about recognizing the real ones. And I’m glad I can count you in that group.

    1. Wellllllll….I said baring their heart πŸ˜‰ Showing themselves without fear. In this instance the way I look at it is as an *exchange* of all the things I’ve mentioned. Anyone can blather on to a comfortable sounding board and intend to give nothing back. But this is where discernment enters. Knowing if you are exchanging investment or if you are just a stone of some kind. Sometimes it is hard to know. And often we are wrong. But in essence the truth lies in the exchange. And a beneficial one at that. It’s a process where time itself weeds the real from the passing.

    2. Likewise from a sista INFJ! All the darn time!!

  6. Friendships… real friends are few and far between these days.

    1. Very! And time is so scarce.

  7. Sometimes Sam, I feel like you are writing as if we are talking…as if we were having a conversation that as you’re talking, I’m nodding my head up and down…walking with you down memory lane, grasping your hand when you tell the sleepover story and giving you a spontaneous hug as you say investment. Great post friend.

    1. This is so sweet πŸ€— Thank you so much for always understanding.

  8. Investment… I too see it that way.

  9. What a horrible thing to do to a ‘friend’. And what an equally insensitive, uncaring thing to be told by the mother! A lesson that has stayed with you. It’s the hard ones that give us the greatest learning if we so choose. ANd you did. It has made you more compassionate and caring πŸ™‚

    1. It’s funny as I was saying it, realizing that the apple fell very close to the tree with them. We are told the more the merrier…and these types of things were why it took me till so late in life to subscribe to that notion. SO late. It becomes about quality and not quantity AT all. Cruelty is never okay. At any age. It just serves to make us better and an example what *not* to be.

      1. You’re so right. Some of the best lessons I’ve had in life are the ones about what not to do

      2. I totally agree – this is how toxic masculinity is built. You were a small child and what they did to you was never going to be OK – and where was the parent supervising the behaviour of those kids! Appalling!

        1. I look back to the 80s and I always wonder where all the parents were! Nowadays we’re always nearby or involved. Back then they were nowhere to be found and we were always on our own! No one ever even checked on us that night and I never did another group sleepover. For the duration we lived in that neighborhood my mom was *not* a fan of that family! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

          1. Where *were* the parents? I always joke that my dad engaged in “hands off parenting.”

            1. I seriously have no idea. It was like we raised ourselves quite literally. My mom alway said my dad was like the dad in Christmas story…knew nothing about his kids. Looking up from the paper long enough to shout our names, then went back to whatever he was doing πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

  10. Sam I love this post. So beautifully written with supreme honesty and vulnerability minus the ego and hardness that often comes with confessions of past hurts. You also have some very valid things to say about relationships in general and in this spirit I would like to reblog.

    1. Thank you so much 😊 Thinking back to things like this while I have a little one of my own makes me reflect on just how deeply these events can hang on. It causes me a lot of anxiety with things she goes through but I also know she’s a lot better off in many regards than I was. And Im grateful for the things me take a look at adult situations and relationships as well. Thank you again for this πŸ€—

  11. Yes, a beautiful post- I came here via Unleashing the Cougar’s reblog, and you have a new fan now πŸ™‚ Thank you for sharing your honest reflections and truths, G in Australia πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you so much πŸ€— I am glad to meet you! Thank you for your understanding!

  12. Lovely. I’ve come full circle now in my 60’s trying to love just about everyone I meet…at least at first. Trying to spread goodwill hoping it will come back to me in some form. I am not necessarily hoping to form great friendships, just hoping to eliminate negativity in the world (finally). Yes, I finally realized that I too am an introvert, but I can still be kind to my fellow human. We all need kindness, especially those who act unkind (like those boys who locked you out). The more someone is mean, the more I try to understand why these days instead of getting angry or defensive (after I calm down a bit). This is all fairly new I admit and I’m retraining my brain to embrace it, but I hope it has rippling effects in the long run…xo

    1. How have you been??! Thank you so much. That is a great guideline to follow. Kindness and understanding regardless. A lot of people will say once somethings happened theyre “done”. Which is fine I suppose. But i still believe understanding or getting to that point is the undercurrent we surround ourselves with. If we put it out, it is returned. Well, hopefully. Its difficult to be understanding when it is’nt returned. But I also believe that is a matter of character to stay true to trying. It makes me happy to hear that positivity of goodwill! Im laughing because I’ve only admitted to myself the last few years that I’m an introvert, though I’ve always been. Not painfully shy by any means which is often attributed to introverts, but I have *really* come to terms with my hardline introverted traits and it’s made all the difference!

  13. I am finally doing very well. Thanks for asking. And I hope you are too.

    1. πŸ€—πŸ€—πŸ€— I’m so glad to hear that!!

  14. This one hit deeply, and judging by all the heartfelt personal comments, you connected with many readers. I stopped by after your sweet comments on my friend Marlene’s blog, and this is the first post I read and now I’ve got all the feelz. You write well and I like where your brain goes, even when it finds hard stuff.

    1. Thank you so much! I always feel a little weight off when my friends here can relate to what’s going through/been in my head! At least then I know I’ve gotten it out properly, oy! I’m glad you clicked over from Marlene and I’m looking forward to reading your page as well 😊

      1. Thanks for the follow πŸ™‚

  15. nice post friend. thank you for allowing me a view.

    1. You’re welcome, brother. Nice to meet you.

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