• Keeping Friends

Guest Post: Friendship lessons from a funeral

Published: March 6, 2017 | Last Updated: July 12, 2022 By | 2 Replies Continue Reading
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A funeral sparks some thoughts on friendship.

By Amy Feld

Last Saturday I eulogized my best friend. Her death from cancer was not unexpected, though still sad. The room was filled with family and friends, some lifelong childhood friends, others childhood friends with whom she re-connected—some close as sisters, some acquaintances, some recent additions to her inner or middle or outer circles.

She was an introvert, but you’d never from the crowd gathered to say goodbye. She could be hopelessly understanding, but also terse and unreasonable, often on the same day. She personified imperfection, as we all do. She was less socially awkward than she believed herself to be. She held grudges, but she never closed the door toward reconciliation. I know she had blocked many of the attendees on Facebook, including at least one of the other speakers, due to politics.

As a mutual friend and I drove home after the celebration of her life, we talked about what we wanted and didn’t want for memorial services. We wanted laughter not canonization, like the funeral we just attended.

After my friend left this morning I thought about how lucky I am to have such good friends in my 50s, and what I wish someone had told me in my 20s about friendship. I might not have listened, but it would have saved me angst and gotten me to a more satisfying emotional space to identify and welcome healthy friendships sooner.

I don’t need a roomful of friends like yesterday’s service, quality matters. Without great therapy to learn how, I’d probably still be like a hamster on a wheel trying the same things an expecting different results.

Things I wish 20-year-old Amy knew:

*You are not a special snowflake—or rather everyone is. It’s called terminal uniqueness for a reason.

*Have more than one or two friends otherwise you put too much stress on the relationship.

*Don’t take things so personally. Most of the time they aren’t.

*Learn how to communicate friendship ups and downs but don’t nitpick.

*Have clear boundaries. Know where your friends stop and you start and where you stop and they start.

*When someone sets boundaries, she isn’t being mean. She’s taking care of herself.

*Find  your people, not the people you think you “should” find.

*If someone doesn’t want to spend time with you, or doesn’t like she’s also not mean. She’s just not into you. That’s okay.

*Always try to understand the other person’s POV (point of view) and perspective.

*Yours isn’t the only side of the story. Consider how the other person tell the same story.

*Stop blaming others. You can only change you.

*Stop blaming your health, town, and/or finances. All the answers lie within you.

*Choose friends more wisely.

*Making friends out of loneliness usually ends poorly.

*Learn to be happily alone.

*You are the common denominator.

*Use therapy wisely.

*Stop being do defensive. Feeling defensive is a gift that let’s the other person know they touched a nerve. If she wasn’t right, it wouldn’t bother you.

*Get over yourself.

*Find people who will tell you the truth, not that the other person is wrong and you’re a victim. That’s unhelpful and thwarts growth.

*Don’t beat yourself up. Fix it.

*Don’t make excuses.

*Trust issues aren’t about others: They are about knowing you will okay if things don’t work out.

*You will be hurt, but you will also get over it.

*You will also hurt others. Apologize without a BUT.

*Don’t hold grudges.

*Be emotionally vulnerable and brave.

*Don’t give up, you’ll get there.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Socialite says:

    Perfect advice for every stage of life! Thank you so much for sharing!

  2. trey says:

    nice post

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