Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about how to conduct one’s self in any kind of relationship. It’s easy to think about what we want and what we expect in a romantic partner, but what about the other people in our lives?
When I think about growing older, I often feel as though my circle of friendships amongst my peers have shrunk. While I have plenty of acquaintances, there are not a whole lot of people with whom I can say I’m truly good friends. Some might say that this is a natural fact of getting older, that as we age we tend to allow the relationships that no longer hold meaning to us fall away. As our lives get filled up with family and demands from our career take up the majority of our time, we simply don’t have the time or energy for superficial relationships.
While this may very well be true, I have a slightly different take on why we find our friendship pool shrinking with age. As I’ve matured, I realize that I’ve developed standards for what I want, expect and am willing to give to any person who comes along in my life. As a younger woman I allowed all sorts of people to enter and leave my life fluidly, and often times to great detriment to my spirit and peace of mind. In an effort to be nice and friendly, I allowed myself to befriend people who brought nothing but stress and havoc into my life. I simply didn’t have high enough standards to know that I could and should expect better from anyone who I would want to call a friend.
Looking back I recognize that my standards for my friendships were low because frankly I never gave having standards for such things much thought. Yes I knew not to hang out with kids who did drugs or who were involved in criminal activity. I didn’t think however, to set up barriers to people who gossiped, or lied regularly or who didn’t share the same morals. I have always been a live and let live kinda gal, never judging others for what they did and never allowing someone’s actions or words to prevent me from befriending them. If I thought you were funny and we got along well, hey you could be my friend.
Yet I know now that I could have saved myself a lot of heartache and disappointment had I given the subject of having standards regarding friends more weight. It is for this reason that I don’t make friends easily at this age. I really do believe that people show you who they are, you only need to take the time to observe and really listen. Now it takes more than just having something in common for me to be drawn to a person, that is merely the starting point.
Maturity is a great thing, it teaches you all sorts of stuff about how to live your life with confidence and simplicity. Having high standards, not just for yourself but in others whom you wish to have real relationships with, help you to weed out the nonsense early therefore keeping your life drama free and easy to manage. And just like the saying goes, if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything!