What Are Friends For?
My Friends respond to my Panic Button
People have different ideas of what Friendship is...
I have many different kinds of friends. I am only one kind of friend. The story that follows is true and has very little to do with any web site. I have met many hubbers, and correspond with some that I like to call my friends. This story, is about friends in the real world, not the ones who live inside my computer. I love you all very much, but this one is, to put it simply : All about ME!
In general, on hub pages, I write for others. If you would like to read this, please enjoy it. I am writing it mainly for myself, so that when I have to make a decision I can look at my own history. This is the history of friendships in my life. It is not for the faint of heart. Please understand that there are no names because the people who are my friends know who they are.
Lean on Me
You've got A Friend
When I was very young I tried to make friends. I remember the words that I thought I was saying "Can I play with you?" and "I want to come too, take me with you!" I was about six months old. No living relatives remember it but me.
We were all on my Grandparents' farm, and my dad's young cousins were there. I can still hear them laughing and see them running away from me to play. I still remember how hurt I was that they didn't want to play with me. I still remember how hard I cried. I remember my grandma coming out of the house to give me something to play with, to make me stop crying. Twenty-one years later, talking to my grandma, she finally recalled that spring and summer of 1962. Except for that confirmation many people have thought I remembered something that never happened. Some people would have thought I was reincarnated and had memories from a past life. I have spoken to people who believe in L. Ron Hubbard's "Dianetics", who did think it was a past life memory, until I explained that it wasn't my only memory of that time, and that my memories have been confirmed by others.
To this day, my life is affected by that early rejection. Most of the time, I reject others before they have a chance to reject me. Many times I do not even try to make friends or socialize because I know I may be shunned again. My only saving grace is when I remind myself that they didn't know what I was trying to say.
As a child in a suburban neighborhood, living on a dead end street, I made several little friends. I still remember their names, and their faces. I knew they were only playing with me because there was not anyone else to play with. I knew that my brothers and sisters had friends. I never had many of my own. There were few who would play with me because their siblings were friends with mine.
Later, when I made friends of my own, it would be those friends who abused me, or saw that I was abused. I learned that friends were the people who got what they wanted from you.
I now know that kind of thinking is totally messed up. This was all before I started to school. I started school when I was 5 years old. I thought I would finally make my own friends. You know, real ones, like my family had.
I Learn life's Hardest Lesson
Life's hardest lessons are these:
- Some people will never like you, no matter what you do.
- Some people will decide not to like you on sight, without ever getting to know you.
- People decide to be kind or mean, no one makes them that way, they choose.
Imagine a little 5 year old girl, in her little pink dress, going to school for the first time. There are more kids in the class than she has ever seen at one time in her life. She hasn't even seen this many kids her age at church! Eager to fit in, glad to know that all of these people will soon be her friends.
The abuse has already started in her other world, the real one, the neighborhood. I am at this time, being sexually abused by a neighbor, I am being verbally tormented at home by a relative, and my mother has spent a large portion of my life in hospitals. My father doesn't know it yet, but he already has cancer and will be dead in little more than 5 years.
Imagine how hard it is on this little girl when the torment starts in school. I missed 54 days of my first school year due to illness. That is 11 school weeks. There are only 34 weeks of school (after holidays and vacations) so I missed almost a third of the year. If that happened now there would be alarms going off in the school computer. There were no computers.
I was being bullied in school. I made a couple of friends and joined Bluebirds, which was the start of Camp Fire Girls. I got kicked out later, when my father passed away and I didn't go to meetings often enough.
I had learned I was unwanted. I had been unwanted every where I went for as long as I could remember. It was nothing new.
That's What Friends are For
I did not have a normal childhood, or maybe that is normal, I don't know. It was mine. Years passed, I endured many battles with imagined friends. The bonds I formed were with those who called themselves my friends, only to sell me to others for their own gain. It made them stronger to have me abused for my own good.
I tried being friends with my brother's friends, but they were not my age. Of course it would be difficult to form friendships with someone so young, I was almost 4 years their junior.
At the age of fourteen I belonged to a group that did fund raising and then went on retreats. We had meetings and walk-a-thons... Surely now I was making friends. I made the mistake of saying that to someone there... "I am so glad to be making so many new friends" I was given an education about the difference between friends and acquaintances... It would have been really easy to lie and say we were friends, let me enjoy the moment. But of course, that would not be fitting in with my already warped sense of companionship.
I was told that when we left the retreat we would rarely see each other again. I quit the group shortly after that. I had worked very hard at being a part of something, only to find that they didn't want me either.
I became a young mother, left to my own devices I found my own way to make my own world. I had found out that your children will need you and need was the best I could hope for in life. If people need you they might almost love you.
I love all of my children, and I made sure that they were strong enough to deal with life in the real world. I made sure that they knew how beautiful they were. My children are so lovely it takes the breath away.
Sadly, they think I only tell them that because I am their mother. They were tormented in school by bullies too. The beat goes on.
Imagine how hard it was to listen to all of these songs. To be that kind of friend and know that you can't have one who is like that.
I didn't have that kind of friend until I was in my twenties. I moved away from my home town and met people in Florida. Since they had no preconceived image of me, they were actually very good friends to have. I have a couple of real friends from my youth and a couple from my adult years.
These are friends that you can call at two o'clock in the morning, and they won't be mad... Friends you can count on to be there even if you haven't talked to them in days or weeks or years. Friends who won't let time slip away without contacting you... Friends who help you raise your kids, while you help them raise theirs. Friends who will stand by you when you are wrong, and then tell you privately that you were wrong. Friends who will forgive you for being wrong and continue to still be your friend, even when they know that you have decided to stay wrong! Friends are the people who will still be there for you when you have decided not to be corrected by them... Friends are the people who will say "I am not going to say I told you so..." even though they just did.
Friends do not let friends do themselves harm. Friends do not let friends make mistakes they cannot live with. Friends will grab your hand before you hit your wife, even if that means you will hit them instead. Friends will take the knife away before you cut yourself with it, even if it means they get cut in the process.
I said I am only one kind of friend. I am the kind of friend who will try to keep you from hurting yourself and others, even if that means I get hurt in the process. I am the kind of friend who will stand up for you when you aren't even looking. I am the kind of friend who will risk her own reputation to tell people what friendship really is...
I ran my whole life to get away from the little girl who nobody liked in first grade... I am the friend who will bring up her past to expose herself to more ridicule, for you.
Afterward: What is a Friend? What is Friendship?
Friend: (From Merriam Webster on-line) Pronunciation: \ˈfrend\
Function: noun Etymology: Middle English frend, from Old English frēond; akin to Old High German friunt friend, Old English frēon to love, frēo freeDate: before 12th century
1 a : one attached to another by affection or esteem b : acquaintance
2 a : one that is not hostile b : one that is of the same nation, party, or group
3 : one that favors or promotes something (as a charity)
4 : a favored companion
5 capitalized : a member of a Christian sect that stresses Inner Light, rejects sacraments and an ordained ministry, and opposes war —called also Quaker
— friend·less \ˈfren(d)-ləs\ adjective
— friend·less·ness noun
— be friends with : to have a friendship or friendly relationship with
Friendship: Also from Merriam Webster on-line. Pronunciation: \ˈfren(d)-ˌship\
Function: noun Date: before 12th century
1 : the state of being friends
2 : the quality or state of being friendly : friendliness
3 obsolete : aid
I notice that there are two terms that we are all familiar with. One is Acquaintance. Ironically that is what we all are here in Hub Pages, by definition. We may talk frequently in the forums and comments sections of our hubs. We may even e-mail each other, and socialize on other sites. That would make us "Acquaintances."
The truth is that the old obsolete definitions are more accurate to the definition of friend and friendship. "Friend" was the equivalent of being related through a common belief or goal and "friendship" was to aid someone in that common goal or belief. The other more common definition is "Preferred companion." As you can see, for those of you who have been accusing others on web sites of not being a good friend... Well the evidence is clear. If my goal is to socialize and aid others in socializing, it is not in my best interest to be cruel to someone who has allegedly not been your "friend" or has treated you unkindly. It is not in my best interest to consider any one out of the millions of people on line my enemy because of something anyone says about them.
A beautiful and yet terrible definition of friend, and actually based on military tactics is: "The Enemy of my Enemy is my friend." It is taken from an Arabic Proverb, and there is a Chinese Proverb that means the same thing, according to Wikipedia.
Let us ponder that definition again. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." If that is your way of thinking, I will probably never qualify as your friend. I have no desire to make enemies, nor do I have any desire to be the friend of someone who would arbitrarily decide that they can tell me who I am allowed to be friends with.
I choose. I decide. Me, not anyone else. I do not seek out friends and friendships. I seek to offer help to anyone who needs help, and kindness to anyone who offers me help. Beyond that I have real friends in real life who do that for me, and I do the same for them. My friends have never, ever told me who to be friends with. It would never occur to them to be so bold.
In my short time here at Hub Pages, I have met some amazing people who I hope to form lasting friendships with. I have also met people who think that they can intimidate me with threats to me or my friends. I actually lost a few great potential friends because these others decided to intimidate them until they left hub pages. How childish is that, to seriously target someone who is friendly with someone else? What kind of mind would decide that it is acceptable behavior?
The best part of this whole story is that it caused me some major anxiety, until I got strong enough to do some research on the subject. I found out that this type of thing has gone on at every web site where socializing is possible... Historically the internet is filled with different types of people who think they can control each other by forcing others to take sides.
I am a baby in this vast On Line world. I have been actively participating for four months. In that time I had four solid days of tears over people coming and going here on Hub Pages, and three solid weeks of anxiety attacks so strong that I could barely type. I had come here to make money and ended up terrified; I entered the forums only to answer "distress calls" from people who needed "Hub Help". After learning that some people consider that a form of "Cyber stalking" and that kindness is thought to be a prerequisite to "torture" in the virtual world, I stopped even that. See they wrote a few hubs saying that the people who help you out in the forums are just waiting to prey on your weaknesses...
I have never preyed on someone. I help people because I like helping people. I like giving... I cried some more, I had more anxiety attacks.
I was rescued by someone who decided to give me a place I could speak in without fear. She has been tormented herself, by many on line and real world entities. I was made stronger by her. It was not until her buttons had been pushed that I grew strong enough to stand up for her again. I do not care if she is who she says she is. I do not care if you like her or do not like her. She is my friend. She chose to be kind to me regardless of any other person's ideas of me. We go to a place called Friend's Hang Out. (sadly the "Friend's Hang Out" web site is no more) If you think she has preyed on my weaknesses, that is your problem.
See, when it comes to who is my best friend, really, my preferred companion... I choose me. Deal with it. I have rarely had any fights with myself, and I seldom make myself cry. I can laugh at myself and even buy myself flowers if I choose. I take care of myself and those I love. I like me, no matter what anyone else thinks of me.
Oh and by the way You can Quote me on that... I do like being quoted.