At 29, I was the most alone I’ve ever been.
I was a new mom.
My daughter had been diagnosed with a terrible heart condition that had two symptoms (fainting, death) and no real treatment options. (Thankfully, we later found out she was misdiagnosed.)
I was suffering from terrible postpartum depression.
My husband was a new dad and didn’t know how to deal with a new mom who was suffering from the fear that her new baby was going to die any second and postpartum depression.
I had two female friends. One – a drinking buddy from before I had babies and another – a woman who lived far enough away that our friendship was maintained over telephone calls.
I wouldn’t wish those months on anyone. Ever.
But I realized something.
I needed friends.
And I remembered my grandma telling me that to “make a friend, you have to be a friend”.
I made an action plan.
And I enacted it.
I made friends.
And I made a lot of mistakes.
But my list of friends got bigger.
I remembered my dad telling me that if you have “three really good friends in your lifetime, you’ve lived a good life.”
And thinking he had to be wrong because I had so. many. friends.
I learned I’m not always the best judge of character.
And had to accept the hurts and bumps and bruises of trusting people who didn’t deserve it.
My list of friends got smaller.
And I learned that there are different types and levels of friendship and that’s good too.
I’m still learning.
And sometimes I feel like I’m the only person in the world who didn’t figure this stuff out in grade school (or middle school or high school).
But I am figuring it out. I think.
Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned:
Not everyone is going to like you. And that’s okay. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you, or anything wrong with them. It just is.
It’s not about finding people with the same lifestyle or opinions or personality. It’s about finding genuinely good people who will accept you.
Good relationships – whether romantic or friendly – take time to build.
Real friendships allow for disagreements and honesty. They allow for quiet times and needy times. They allow for quirks and failings. They champion successes.
You will have friends and you will have friends. You will find people you genuinely admire, people who make you laugh, people who help you through life’s bumps, and people with whom you share movies and television shows and books. Sometimes all of those people will be wrapped in one person. Sometimes, not.
Loneliness happens. Even with friends. You need to learn to deal with it.
Be kind and be honest. To others and to yourself.
I’m curious. What are some things you’ve learned about friendship in adulthood? What do you value in a friend?