I have friends. Some old, some new. Some shallow. Some deep.
For me, those deep friendships are like treasures . . . and I almost lost one of those treasures.
I have a dear long time friend named Esther. I admire her so much. She is a bold entrepreneur. She takes risks. She wins, she loses. She WORKS so hard. She fills the spaces she passes through with hope and optimism and real possibility. And truthfully, I deliberately chose to pursue Esther’s friendship after I heard that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with (or whatever the number is). I was looking around like, “DANG. If I want to be anything, it’s more like Esther.”
I’ve told her this. She knows.
But after about 20 years of hanging out, my heart turned. I noticed that after we hung out, she never posted about it. I’d follow her on instagram and … ONCE I showed up on her feed. We’d had a fire and my face was barely visible through the smoke. But there were TONS of pictures of her with other people at coffee shops, ice cream stops, beaches, dinners… But nope. None of me. It hurt my FEeeeeeelings!!!! I mentioned it to a friend and my point seemed really valid.
And a little poison was birthed in my heart.
I started to question and wonder about our friendship. Was it real? Was she just having pity on me? I started making up stories: “she doesn’t think I’m successful enough or beautiful enough to put on her socials.” I started believing those stories.
I spent a couple of years of wrestling like this.
It’s hard to be in a friendship with a person when you don’t trust them or believe the best about them.
I valued our friendship and I didn’t want it to end, so I decided to ask her.
“Esther. You never post me on your Instagram. Do you think I’m not attractive or successful enough?”
She paused thoughtfully, and after 30 seconds goes, “Truthfully, I think we’re both just never on our phones when we’re together and neither of us are really selfie people, so we don’t end up with pictures to post.”
And she looks at me.
And I know it’s true.
So tell her my process and apologize to her for not believing the best about her and for folding away this poisonous little thought in my heart for so many years.
And DAAaaaang it!!!
Esther isn’t the only I was holding out on.
The more time I live, the more I realize that what impacts my happiness and joy in life . . . it’s my relationships.
Just cause I believe it, doesn’t make it true. Just because my feelings are hurt, doesn’t mean something bad actually happened. I was about to let go of a friendship that was interrupted by a lie. We can do that. We can make up stories and interpret evidence and confirm our biases and build walls between ourselves and people that we need in our lives.
From a completely selfish point of view, protect, invest, and maintain those friendships. They are what makes our lives rich!!
Don't accuse. Ask.
And guess what.. I could have taken pictures and posted them... but I did't do it either. Why was it on her to put me out there?
And thanks to ESTHER for being large hearted and not getting offended or defensive. How lucky am I.
I'm so glad I didn't lose a friend.