Best Friends

I am consistently talking about my best friends, and how important they are to have, etc. However, last night, as I was sitting there, thinking how thankful I am for my besties, I realized that I had never written a post explaining why best friends are so important. So, here ya go. I’m going to try and write 5 reasons why best friends are so important to have, and some ways I’m super thankful for my besties.

Reason #1: Besties always have your back

I always thought that phrase just meant that a friend would back you up in an argument or something, but it actually means a lot more. It means that your bestie is always there when you need them, and that you can rely on them. Kind of like how, in a trust fall, you trust that your bestie is behind you (at your back, as it where), ready to catch you.

Reason #2: Besties are ready to sit back and listen to you (and if they’re not, it’s probably for a good reason)

For the past week or so I’ve been crazy emotional. From crying, to thankful, to depressed. You name it, I felt it, and I didn’t always do a good job of controlling it. Throughout the whole thing, one of my besties was always there, ready to listen to what I was saying, and reassure me that I was just being emotional, and nothing’s actually wrong.

Reason #3: Besties are there to help you heal

Parents are there to say no, even if they don’t want to. There the responsible person who needs to lay down the law. And, that’s great, but sometimes it hurts. If you’re upset about something, and said parent lays down the law, they aren’t always the person you want to go to to heal/ feel better. A bestie will sit with you (or chat with you on messenger) as long as it takes for you to feel better. Parents help instruct, and besties help you along through that instruction.

Reason #4: Besties are the family you chose

Family isn’t easy. I was blessed to have a pretty great family, but sometimes family is just awful. When you have a bestie, they feel like family. They come over, won’t care what you look like, or what anything in the house looks like, and just be with you. I’ve had some great times with my besties just sitting around laughing and having fun together. The best friends are the ones you can just sit/ be with, and be totally happy. Not just happy, but loved.

Reason #5: Besties love you no matter what

This has another meaning to it, too, that I didn’t know until I got older. It isn’t so much going through fights and still loving each other, but always loving each other no matter the situation. The older you get, the harder it is to hang out, and sometimes the farther apart you are. But, if you really love someone, then that love can withstand any trial, and any amount of space if you choose to make it do so.

I have been super fortunate to have a lot of besties in my life. They have always loved me, always been there for me, and I can’t imagine my life without them. Best friends are the people you laugh with, and make stupid jokes with, and who bring true joy to your life when everything might feel awful. Sometimes they give you an escape from life, just for an afternoon, and it helps you recharge and be ready to fight another day.

I love my best friends with my whole heart, and I’m so thankful that they’ve stuck with me throughout this crazy stretch of life. I’m also thankful that I get to keep making best friends in every stretch of life I happen upon.

“Best Friend”

I feel like the label “best friend” is a very complicated subject. A best friend is simply someone you love to be around, and who loves you back. It’s really not that different from a dating relationship, except that when you’re best friends there’s nothing romantic about it. It’s just two people who love each other and who like to hang out. Having best friends throughout my life has actually taught me a lot about people skills, and relationships, and the different types of relationships you can have.

When I was little my mom always suggested that I not have a “best friend” because it’s kind of a dumb label (I don’t remember if that was her reason, but it’s the best reason I can remember). I mean, what makes one friend better than another? When we use the label “best friend”, we cut off our options. A lot of people think you can only have one friend who’s “best”, and that’s not true. I mean, look at all the tv shows and movies where there were two besties, and one of them made a new friend. Usually someone’s jealous of this new friend because they’re afraid they’ll lose their bestie. And, sure, there’s the potential to lose your “best friend” when they make a new friend, but you could also turn your duo into a trio by accepting this new friend into the group. Or maybe your confidant (we’re gonna shy away from using the term “best friend” at the moment) has multiple friends, because they need multiple different people in their lives.

When I was little I thought my mom was wrong about the “best friends” label, because, once I got my first real best friend, I saw how cool it was, and how great it felt to have that one friend that I could go to with anything. But, the older I got, the more friends I made, and the more strong relationships I had, I realized that it’s kind of impossible to have one best friend. And the term “best friend” made it kind of complicated to have multiple besties. Each person in our lives holds a different purpose, and adds different things to our lives that maybe we didn’t know we needed (sometimes they add different things we know we didn’t need, but that’s a whole ‘nother topic). We need those different people in our lives, and by thinking we can only have one “best friend” we’re closing off a whole different door that could change our entire lives.

I don’t even know why the term “best friend” got started (maybe to make other friends jealous?), but to me it doesn’t mean that one friend is better than the other. It means that that friend is my confidant, my partner in crime, and my copilot. We stick together because we love each other, not because we’re somehow “better” than anyone else. I used that term because I needed a name for this person that I liked to hang out with, and best friend was the one the rest of the world used, so I stuck with that. However, from now on, I’m gonna try to stick with something more like confidant. Having a best friend isn’t (nor should it ever be) about who’s better, but about the people we love.

Getting Up

Some days one of the hardest things you can do is get out of bed. There have been multiple days where I just wanted to avoid the entire world and hide in my wonderful, comfy, perfect cave of blankets and safety. However, just because it seems like a good idea, doesn’t mean it is.

There was one day where I just felt bad; both emotionally and physically. I stayed in bed until ten A.M., and my day didn’t get any better. I just continued to feel worse, and, I didn’t really get anything done that day. Nothing got worse (aside from the fact that I was wallowing in my own emotions), but nothing got better, either.

To avoid another day where I just wallowed and felt terrible, I decided to make sure that I made myself get up every day and get to work. It didn’t have to be a ton of work, but, by making myself get up, I gained a whole new state of mind. I’m awake, and at least ready to be productive, if that’s what I chose to do.

All good choices aside, I totally understand the want to just avoid the world. I’m not nearly as depressed as I once was, but I still have days when I feel like total crap. Life is hard, people are hard, and my bed is comfy and warm. Sometimes, life sucks. But we still need to get up and face it. It’s like I said before. Nothing gets worse, but nothing gets any better, either.

A friend asked me the other day if they could just avoid the hard stuff, and I told them no. I told them that if they avoided this new challenge in their life, they’re missing out on an opportunity to learn something, and to grow, and to be stronger in the end. I have to remind myself of that quite often…

I tend to have two speeds, depending on my mood. I either eat fear for breakfast, or, I hide from everything remotely terrifying.

FOMO

FOMO is an acronym for Fear Of Missing Out. Basically, it means you do everything, and work your butt off, so that you don’t miss out on anything that could be fun.

When you have FOMO, you tend to push yourself to the limit. You think, “Oh, I can do one more thing. No problem!” Thinking it’ll be great, when, in reality, you’re just pushing yourself so hard you can’t enjoy it. You can’t enjoy anything because you’re so exhausted all the time.

There can be two different types of FOMO. Some people have regular old FOMO, and don’t want to miss out on the fun. But, some people can have a type that’s more service based. You’re pushing yourself so hard because you have this mindset that it’s okay to push too hard to help others.

I really struggle with the second type. Sometimes, life is just busy. That doesn’t mean you have type two FOMO, it just means you’ve got things to do. I get that. However, sometimes it really is just FOMO, and you don’t have to do all the things you think you do.

I was sitting in church one day, looked over my shoulder, and saw our pastor’s wife walking along holding a baby (she had just come out of the nursery). I was thinking about how, so often, pastor’s families do EVERYTHING in the church. Not because they think they have to, just because they’re good at serving others. I know a few pastor’s kids who are so busy with helping in the church that they’re rarely in church, or Sunday school. They take on every job, or need, just because they can. And some, because they’re the “pastor’s kid”. I get wanting to help, and it’s really great, but no one person should be solely responsible for serving.

If we, who have FOMO, sign up for everything, thinking no one else will, then it is definite that NO ONE ELSE WILL. Our FOMO is an option. When it comes to service based FOMO, or regular FOMO. We can choose to say, “That’d be super cool to go to, but I have some stuff I already had planned, so I’ll just stick with that.”

Self-care is important. When I realized I had service based FOMO, I realized that by pushing myself so hard to serve others, I was actually being a hinderance. I was so tired that I couldn’t serve well in general. I was doing the opposite of what I had been trying to do, and hurting myself in the process.

We don’t have to give in to either type of FOMO. If you’re afraid of disappointing someone because you have to tell them you can’t serve in the area they’re asking, remember that a true friend, who loves you, will understand and want what’s best for you. And, if they are just mad at you, then you don’t have to take any of they’re crap. Their happiness is NOT your responsibility.

The Truth

When someone comes to me (clearly upset) and they ask for help, I’ve started to try to be really honest with them. Here’s an example question:

“I’m so nervouse/upset about this situation that’s coming up. I’m afraid I’ll fail. What if I screw up or totally fail?”

Some people would answer with, “Oh, no. You’ll do great.” Like, there’s no chance anything could go wrong. Well, news flash, there’s a ton of things that could go wrong.

In some situations, everything actually is fine, the person really doesn’t have anything to worry about, and they’re just freaking out over nothing. However, in others, they’re not actually prepared and they know it. Lying to someone by just saying, “You’ll do great,” is giving them this false sense of confidence. I’m not saying it’s bad to encourage them that way, but, when there are legitimate things to be nervous about, just ignoring them and hoping for the best doesn’t always work. In either situation, whether there are things to be nervous about or not, I try to help them (and myself) think about the realities of the situation.

I’m nervous pretty much every time I have an offertory to do at church. Not super nervous, I just know there are so many things that could go wrong no matter the amount of practice I have. Now, I can’t control what happens. The amount of worrying I do can only make my performance worse. So, something I try to do when I’m nervous and about to perform, is think about the lies and the truths. Observe:

Lie:

If I screw up, then I’ll never hear the end of it

Truth:

If I screw up, probably no one will remember, or really care

In every situation involving fear, it’s really just a battle of truths vs lies. That’s why, instead of just trying to make someone “feel better”, I try to help them see that they don’t have to believe the lies their fears tell them. I’m definitely gonna encourage them when the time seems right, but the time isn’t always right. Just making them “feel better” is like putting a band-aid on a wound that really needs a couple stitches. If you show them how to ignore the lies their fear tells them, then, eventually, they’ll have a much easier time dealing with fears in general. They’ll be better at fighting fear.

Hugs and Thank Yous

Because of my love of hugs, I hug a ton of people. There are a lot of people at my church that I love, and that kinda feel like family, so I almost have a list of people that I hug whenever I’m at church. Nobody really thought anything of it, but recently I’ve gotten a few thank yous when I hug people.

Some people love hugs, but are too introverted to go up and hug someone. Sometimes people need someone who’s not afraid to break boundaries, because it can be harder for them to break those boundaries themselves. Or, sometimes we’re in a hard spot in life, but we don’t know how to talk about it, or we don’t want to talk about. So, when we get that hug, it’s kinda like someone’s saying, “Hey, I’m here for you, and I love you. Keep going.”

There are a lot of reasons someone could be thankful for a hug. I know I’m really thankful for hugs. I’m the type of person who does a really good job of not showing it when I’m hurting, or when I need help. Not that I won’t ask for help, I just don’t let what’s going on rule my life (on the outside). So, when I get a hug from someone, or when I give a hug, there are a few moments when I feel better. When I’m hugged, I feel loved, and supported, and like I’ve got people who are continuously supporting me.

I love it when people say thank you when I give them a hug. It’s like that’s the thing I can do to brighten someone’s day, or love them, or make them feel better. However, hugs aren’t always a huge deal to people, and some people don’t even like hugs.

I’m reading a book right now about Love Languages. I haven’t gotten very far in yet, but it’s really interesting. It’s explaining that not everyone gets love from the same things. Some people need words of affirmation, or physical touch. Everyone’s different, but this is something I can do to love on people, and it’s one of my favorite things in the world.

Sorry, Not Sorry

My whole family has spent the last month or so being sick. At first, I didn’t feel too bad, but the more I went on, and tried to do all the things (hanging out with friends, youth group, church), the worse I felt. Not just physically, but emotionally. At this point, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I need more time (especially when I just don’t feel well). I just have to let go, and take some sick time. Even if I don’t want to.

I’ve learned that, when life is busy, there are going to be times when I just need to take a break. At the moment, I can’t do as much as I may want to. Which is okay. But sometimes I feel bad. I feel bad when I can’t go to church and give my best friend a hug because I don’t feel well. I feel bad when I have to cancel (sometimes multiple times) because I just don’t feel well. HOWEVER, I can’t do everything. Maybe the lesson here is that I need to cool it a little with my scheduling. But, what I was originally getting at was, I’m not sorry. When I feel awful, and I have to cancel, I’m not going to say I’m sorry anymore. It’s not like I’m sick on purpose, or like I’m emotionally exhausted on purpose. I just am.

The moral of the story is to stop apologizing so much. I’m not going to be sorry that I feel bad, because that doesn’t fix anything. If anything, it makes it feel worse by making this whole thing seem like my fault. And, sure, some parts of it are, but focusing on the fault isn’t gonna fix anything. What’ll fix things is focusing on what can happen next, and how I can move forward. Sometimes that’s by taking sick time, and sometimes it’s not.

For me, it’s really hard not to apologize. I hate it when people comment on how I’m not at church (especially because sometimes it’s not my choice to go or not). If someone makes a comment on it, my first inclination is to never miss another day of church again. However, that’s a BAD REASON (and, yes, I am using caps as emphasis; DEAL WITH IT). What’s the point in going to church if you’re just trying to avoid people’s potentially stupid comments?

I get accountability. Accountability is good, and important, and sometimes we do need a kick in the butt to get back to church. But, if you’re thinking about making a “comment”, even if you’re trying to be funny, maybe consider why you’re making that comment. Even if you’re trying to be funny, sometimes it can really hurt someone.

On the flip side, those “comments”, are just people saying stuff. If they wanna choose to be rude to you, then that’s they’re problem. It’s not your responsibility to do ANYTHING (there I go again with the caps) to make them happy. Make sure, though, that you don’t hear them say, “Hey, I’ve been missing you at church lately. You okay?” And then think they’re saying, “Yo, what the heck? How come you’ve been lazy and skipping out?” It’s really easy to hear one thing, have it go through your emotional lens, and think someone’s saying something completely different just because you’re hurting (see here for more information on hurting people).

Think

You know those times when you see someone doing something CRAZY like eating a food you don’t like, and actually enjoying it? Or, maybe someone doesn’t know something “obvious” so you comment about how they should’ve known it already? Well, these are all things people do, usually unintentionally, and they really suck on the receiving end.

The kinds of reactions I put above are pretty normal human being things. But to the person who might not know something, or maybe really likes to eat something you think is gross, is really hurt by the fact that you’re essentially calling them an idiot by those responses.

I’m not writing this to call anybody out, or make anyone feel bad. I’m writing this because most people respond that way unintentionally. I mean, I used to respond that way all the time, and I still do. What I want to keep from happening is people accidentally hurting others because they didn’t know how these responses affect other people. There have been plenty of times when some of my closest friends have made me feel like a total idiot by using those responses. I’m absolutely certain they didn’t mean to, but they still did. And it still hurt.

I think the goal here is to think about how what you’re saying might affect someone else. Instead of saying, “You didn’t know that? But you’re a senior in high school?” You could say, “Now you do get to know it!” It’s building each other up instead of beating each other down.

I brought this up because I’ve been seeing it a lot lately, and I wanted to show others who might not know they’re doing it. Not to tell them they have to change, but to show them something different so they have a choice. There was a week where I got those responses nearly every time I was around my friends. I knew they didn’t mean anything by it, but it hurt, and I was beat down. I really didn’t want to see, or hang out with, any of them. I needed some time to remind myself of the truths of the matter. Not what anyone else thought (even though they may not have been thinking it in the first place).