I met a new friend today. That’s how it happens when you use Facebook – you connect with people and get to know them, and then you meet them in real life. I love that.
It was one of those easy meetings where we sat down with a cuppa at her home and chatterboxed for hours. I loved getting to know her, we have lots in common and that is always fun. I’m really looking forward to spending more time with her.
Friendship is a tricky thing in my life. I often either give way too much, or keep a wall up. It’s the Bipolar, but it’s also childhood stuff about staying separate from everyone else. I was raised by extreme fundamentalist Christian parents who had their own way of interpreting the bible. They believed that people who went to church were misguided, hoodwinked and in error, thus to be avoided at all cost. They also believed that people who did not go to church were the Unbelievers; corrupt, sinful, evil and to be avoided at all cost. This meant that I was taught to trust and respect nobody outside my own family.
You can imagine what this did to my child heart. I developed an internal binary switch for strangers that allowed for only two states of trust: complete and zero. Not many people scored my complete trust. Almost everyone fell in the zero trust category. I was very good at putting a polite and friendly face on my utter lack of trust, learned by watching my parents and the way they acted towards customers, school teachers and shop assistants.
The people I felt compelled to trust completely inevitable hurt me. I would pull back from them and reassign them to zero trust, then beat myself up for failing so badly at correctly divining their trustworthiness. What an idiot! What was wrong with me? When I was a child it had been so simple, with my parents doing all the judging and me completely trusting their choices.
Of course, as I grew up I became aware that I needed to see people in a much less black and white way. I watched people do good and bad to one another and I learned that most people are well intentioned – which was pretty hard to take on board and live with at times.
I met a new friend today and, by nurture, I am tempted to trust her completely, believe everything she says, do whatever she wants me to do, be whatever she thinks I should be. But another thing I’ve learned over the decades is that real, true friends seem to understand my urge to be the best best friend that has ever lived, and instead of taking advantage of this, they choose to give and take. I am trusting myself to live one day at a time, choosing to give and choosing also to take. These are the ingredients for a happy, healthy connection. I know it.
be you xx Rachel