- Gender and Relationships
About Real Friendship
Over twenty years ago I experienced intense bullying at school. I had certain friends who would talk to me at lunch, but at passing period they did not want to be seen around me. One girl even made a point about it, and after that, I really never considered her my true friend. I tried to get along with her for a few years after that, but one day she told another friend how she hated me. The irony of it all is one day a few years after that some high school kids were poking fun at her dress, but I admired it and told her so. I do not know if she recalls this or not, but I have the consolation of knowing I took the higher road. So the question is what do we do about these type of friends? Are they really our friends, or just friends of convenience? Even back in college, I felt certain friends did not want to be seen around me in certain social situations because I may detract from their cool factor.
So as an adult must you shy away from being yourself? Actually, I say not. I was thinking about Henry David Thoreau this morning and he was willing to live by himself at Walden Pond and become a conscientious objector against the Mexican-American War at a time when it was just unheard of to do those things. His actions at the time made many people feel uncomfortable I am sure, but today many people admire him for the courage to speak out, and to always be themselves.
Throughout the history of the world, we have always had people that had the courage of conviction to be who they are and to share their thoughts with the world. Often their way of being can be very much against what is considered the norm. For instance, in the 1930s a woman who decided to wear pants on the streets of New York would be considered quite a pioneer, but today that would be the norm. Actually by the 1980s wearing pants had become so prevalent that many women could come down like a ton of bricks on girls and women who still decided to wear skirts all the time. Growing up even my own family never understood my penchant for skirts, but I persevered and decided to wear what made me feel comfortable.
Often times women look at me and make little comments about why am I wearing a skirt. I have been asked if I was a fundamentalist Christian for wearing skirts, which was a little interesting. I actually do wear knee length and long skirts, but that does not mean I wear these because of my religious affiliation. I just like wearing skirts, and a reason does not need to be attached to everything. I never felt comfortable on commenting on what people wear, but maybe it is because I never thought someone's personal attire was up for discussion. I know people in the fashion world discuss what everyone it is wearing, but it is a bit out of bounds for everyday people to comment on the fashion choices of others. So many are comfy commenting on what others say, wear and do, and I always found that quite interesting.
Other people, even some past friends, have felt uncomfortable around me because they thought I was way too dressed up by the simple fact of me wearing a skirt. One friend even told me I could wear pants on a certain occasion that was not "a dress up one", which I thought was a little pushy, to be honest. I learned years later that person was not my friend when this individual moved on and stop talking to me, and I also realized that my true feelings meant absolutely nothing to this person. People have a right to end friendships for numerous reasons, but I believe it is a bit telling if the friendship was only ever about critiquing everything about your so-called friend.
The bottom line is you have to be who you are no matter what. Some people may think you are stuck up or aloof for it too, but often confidence is misconstrued. However, having the confidence to be yourself, march to your own drum, and follow your own music means some friends will not always be comfortable being seen around you. All my life I have known I have stood out from the crowd, and I have learned my true blue friends will support me 120%. If some people feel uncomfortable being my friend in certain situations that is fine, and they are welcome to feel that way. Perhaps some people's way of expressing their discomfort is to disassociate, but the truth is your true friends will stand by you no matter what.