How to be (or try your best to be) a good friend

Being a friend is one of the most important roles we have in life. Without friends life wouldn’t just be boring-we wouldn’t have anyone to laugh about all the stupid mistakes we make, ring up when we feel worthless and pour out our hearts to and share our passion for XYZ.

We make friends with people for a number of reasons. Proximity: the first person we see on our first day at school at the sandtray can often turn out to be our best friend just for that reason. Then there’s a shared interest or passion. The main point is that we have a choice with friends, unlike family. Though, some people don’t seem to realise this-me being one of them for a long time.

At age sixteen experienced is one thing I am not. However, I’ve had enough of them to know a fair bit about friends. And I can honestly say that I am not a bad friend. So here are my five tips based on what I have learned about friendship.

  1. Honesty. This isn’t just important. This quality can tell you straight away whether or not you should be friends with someone in the first place. Liars aren’t friends. The issue is being able tell if someone is lying. It took me two years to realise that my ‘best friend’ when I was ten was manipulating me and I was allowing her to bully me because I believed her lies. I let her tell me that I wasn’t clever or good enough and that knock to my confidence still affects me today. I was in such a close friendship with her that even when I had recognised that I was unhappy, I took a long time to break off our friendship. But it was worth all the tears and upset because now I have a much better set of friends. My closest friends are the ones I can trust to be open with and we are just honest with each other. I mean, you don’t have to tell them everything. Some things you have the right to keep to yourself. Most of my friends don’t know that I had counselling a few months ago. My family doesn’t even know that either. That doesn’t mean I’m a liar, though. That is my personal information to share with the people that I want to tell and hide from those that I don’t. My point is that I believe the importance in honesty is not spilling your every last secret to the other person, but feeling comfortable and happy enough to share your thoughts, feelings and ideas freely.
  2. YOU. A friendship is a relationship between two people and, of course, one of them is you. So be you! I don’t have much confidence, but I am not afraid to be me. I’ll be honest, sometimes I get tired of being me and I wish that I could be someone else, but I can’t and I just have to embrace my personality. Then again, if you’re in a pretty bad mood it doesn’t mean you should feel like you have to act happy for your friends. Being yourself is also being human, meaning you are allowed to have days where you feel terrible. Friends are there to help you through those times.
  3. THEM. And of course, there is the friend. Don’t be so wrapped up in your own life, problems and drama that you forget about theirs. There must be a balance of support between both friends for the relationship to work. So let them be THEM. They are allowed to be upset, angry, cranky just like you are. And even if you don’t quite understand how they feel, they need you to be there.This is really important because it’s easy to disregard something just because it doesn’t make any sense to us. But just showing the support they need is sometimes enough to help you friend. Though, you must know them and want to know about them. Tiny things build up, so let them tell you about their grandma’s favourite type of tea or their secret ability to ride a unicycle. You don’t have to remember every detail, but how can you expect to be friends with someone if you aren’t interested in them? This is what I find key in making new friends. Trying to ask questions about them is so much more effective than waffling about yourself. Don’t turn into the person that stops listening until it’s their turn to talk! Like I said, it’s all about balance.
  4. Fun. Relationships can be complicated, difficult and just plain confusing; especially during the teenage years when there’s bitching, gossiping, immaturity, hormones, drama and all that jazz. However, we mustn’t forget that friendship IS about having fun as well as the mutual support. Often having fun comes from just being yourself and letting go. A lot of people seem to think that those who laugh loudest and act craziest have the most fun. Well, I don’t think that’s true at all. Most of the times I’ve had a load of fun have been simply hanging out, walking to and from school and on the odd occasion through a phone call. We didn’t need alcohol. We didn’t have to do anything particularly silly or stupid. We didn’t need to force it. We simply made jokes or chatted or played twister (yes, I know I’m sixteen years old. Yes, it’s still acceptable to play twister, I don’t care what anyone thinks. ) and had some fun.
  5. Sometimes it doesn’t work out. Don’t beat yourself up about it. People change, things change, life moves on. Some friends will stick with you and some won’t-just like you do or don’t for others. Seeing people around school that I was once very close to laughing and talking with people I don’t even know is hard, especially when I wonder how things might have been different if I  hadn’t let our friendship fizzle out. But then I have to remind myself of all the great things I could have missed if that had happened. So the most important thing I believe to remember is to make sure you hold on to the friends you really love, and the for the ones you lose, there will be more to make. And even if you fight and do things you regret, there are ways back if they were (are!) a true friend. I called up my friend who now goes to a different school today. I haven’t seen her in person since October and I couldn’t help feeling kind of sad that I don’t see her everyday like I used to. I don’t make silly doodles in the margins of her notebooks or flick through mine to find hers. She doesn’t sit with me at lunchtime and laugh at the way I eat a panini. We don’t look across the room at each other and laugh at something only we find funny. But that’s okay. I mean, there isn’t going to be someone to do all of those things and be the brilliant person and friend the way she had, but there will be new people that do other things. One day I will look back and there will be so many memories and little things people do that makes part of their personality and part of their friendship with me that I won’t remember them all. That cheers me up.

In the end,the key to friendship and being a good friend is not through a set of rules. There is no recipe (and even if it was, it would be a souffle or something pretty darn hard!).

When you’re little your parents and schoolteachers try to teach you to be kind and respectful and polite. But they don’t teach you how to deal with the huge number of assholes you come across in your life. You have to make your way past them and learn to let go of them when you realise that no, they are not friends, they are simply assholes.

Even when you find the best friend or the group of friends you love, no one tells you that puberty and parents deciding to move across the country and just change in general have chosen to shake everything up like a tacky snowglobe. You land on the ground and have to start rebuilding again, whether it’s your fault or not. And that’s before people start dating. No one warns you that you are going to end up being the fifth wheel on what should be a double date; or that you and your best friend would have a crush on the same person. Or even that you might have to face heartbreak alone.

Friendship is harder than it seems. Often harder than romantic relationships. But I know that it’s worth it. It’s worth all of the tears, all of the lonely years and all of the pain because one day you look around and every face you see you trust and love.

This was a (late, sorry!) response to the writing challenge for Writing 201

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The Trail

I leave a trail.

The half-eaten sandwich;

Traces where mascara and tears splashed

As they rolled down flushed cheeks;

The stain of painted lips pressed against cold glass,

Or the white paper cup;

Fading scents of vanilla perfume

That linger where limbs have been;

Long hairs that fell from the sweeping chestnut locks

I left my trail,

Never to be followed by you.

Just Let Me Fly

Water trickles from the tap weakly, cold and numb on my hands. I slap my cheeks and stare at the puffy circles beneath each eye in the grimy mirror. Stale alcohol lingers on my breath. Distant voices blare from the hotel-room’s old TV. I can’t tell what the program is-I don’t care. It’s better than the silence.

I dry my face, dragging the rough cotton over my face. Falling on the linoleum with a small crack, the rail breaks from the wall as I throw the towel. I don’t think. I just kick it against the yellowing bath tub. I kick again and again, as the curses spill from my lips.

I am on the floor. My throat is raw with the taste of bile. Flexing my fingers, I feel jagged pieces of plastic dig into my skin. There’s a pile of them circling my aching body. I slide them into a line. None of the edges fit together anymore. I stare at the wall and the only signs of damage are the two metal hooks, which are still intact. Leaving the broken pieces, I drag myself out to the balcony, letting the noise from the TV drift from the open door. A stretch of blistering orange behind bleak buildings. The street below is empty, apart from two children who are chasing each other up and down. A boy of no more than twelve and a girl of eight. She screams as he darts towards her with a stick. I don’t understand what they are saying.

***

Two sets of eyes stare down at me. I can’t hear the words they whisper. Neither of them remove their gaze from my face. Knotty brown tendrils fall from the young face and tickle my cheek. Still not faltering the stare, as she lowers her face towards mine I feel her small hands curl round my shoulders. She bats away the older arms that try to pull hers away.  Attempting to shake me, her face contorts with the strain. I don’t move. Then, droplets splatter on my face and in my eyes. Some fall down my cheeks and into my mouth. I can taste her salty tears. She closes her eyes slowly, tears coating her long eyelashes. An arm embraces her and she is pulled away.

I stare up at the thinning strip of sun. I cannot move. All I feel is the hard concrete beneath me. Sticky pools of crimson glue my limbs to the ground. Why did I jump?

***

In the breeze, my t-shirt ripples across my back and chest. My knees shake slightly as I edge my feet forward slightly. My heart beats fast in my mouth, my head, and my ears.

I whisper to the air: Just take me, just let me fly, even if I fall. I don’t belong here. I don’t belong anywhere.

I want to turn up the volume of the TV, but I have gone too far to go back. I remember the bridge. Looking down at the grey concrete I wonder, would the river have been any better?

A strangled shriek shoots my eyes towards the little girl. She is yanking her brother’s arm, pointing at me, but it is too late He sees me, too. Shaking my head, I step down, off the edge. ‘I wasn’t going to-‘ I stop because they don’t understand. With all my strength I tug the corners of my mouth upwards. But I cannot smile. Even from this distance, I can see her lips trembling. My head is still shaking. I step away from them; I don’t want their innocent eyes on me. They can’t see me, not like this.

I perch on the bed again, staring at the TV, but not watching it. Just shapes moving around, just colours. I recognise the voices…Richard Gere. I try to focus on the shapes. Slowly, the figures on the screen become clearer. It is Richard Gere. And what’s-his-name. I know the film because it’s Jeanne’s favourite.

***

I can feel her laughing. Her golden hair falling in waves down her back. She shouts, imitating the accent, “Did you see that bodacious set of tatas?” Laughter bursts from my lips.

What is the name of that goddamned film? I turn the TV off.

***

Even if I had stayed, even if she were sitting beside me in this moment, she would still be a hundred miles away. A distance I will never get back.

(742 words)


This is a response to the Grammar Ghoul Press Writing Challenge #6

<a href=”http://www.grammarghoulpress.com/gg-writing-challenge-6-open”><img src=”http://www.grammarghoulpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/gg-wkbadge2.png”></a&gt;

This week’s prompts were:

Bodacious

homesickness

Homesickness by  René Magritte

Also, the film I was referring to was ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’, which was where I found the inspiration of how to use bodacious in my story.

You’re the smirk, the smile

The tears running down my face;

You’re the embarrassed

Rush of blood to my cheeks

You’re all the goosebumps

Rising on my pale skin;

You’re the crinkle of

Worry on my forehead

You’re in every part of me, yet you

Do not know me:

Me, the girl that

You don’t see

Tendrils and Tears

Delicate as petals, curling,

Up and around towards the sun,

Tendrils sweep through the air,

Carried by the gusty winds…

 

She closes her eyes slowly,

In the fading light of dusk;

Remembering the way he’d catch

Each piece of unruly hair

 

When her eyes open up again,

And her ears feel cold and numb,

Her hair is flat against her cheek-

Stuck down by her warm tears.