Friday, August 24, 2012

The Etiquette of Friendship

                I am a major fan of a little show called Sex and the City; maybe you’ve heard of it.  While watching a few episodes the other day, for the millionth time, I started thinking about the friendships between these four women.  I often wonder how realistic is it to think that we can have friendships like Carrie, Samatha, Charlotte and Miranda?

                As a New Yorker at heart, I am aware that the apartment size of Carrie Bradshaw’s is completely unrealistic on a writer’s salary (that is until she got the book deal and started writing for Vogue, but anyway…).  And, the number of designer shoes and outfits purchased by this New York columnist is definitely not feasible, especially when she eats out for every single meal and only at the most expensive places in the city.  But what about the actual story line of the girls?  Is it possible to have friends that accept you no matter what and put you first, or even in the top three on the priority list?  To have a relationship with your girlfriends where you can make time for each other even once a week is a definite feet, much less to see each other two and three times a week no matter what.  And the rule of no cell phones while they are together?  My friends would die if I would adhere to that rule for even one hour at a Daiquiri Bay night!

While their commitment to each other is unbelievable enough in the hustle and bustle world of climbing the corporate ladder, raising children and trying not to be included in the rising rate of divorce, the bigger faux to this television friendship is the emotional support.  Is it possible to have friends that support you and carry you thru life no matter what the obstacle?  These girls have supported each other thru the tragedies of dating, thru job promotions and job losses, thru changes of address in boroughs and foreign countries, thru marriages and divorces, thru having affairs with married men and having unfaithful spouses, thru child birth, child loss and adoption and even thru cancer and chemo.  They have been there for it all with comments and advice, but without judgment.  Judgment; That is the key.  How many of us can say that we have not only supported our friends thru the roughest phases and decisions in life, but we didn’t judge them in the process? 

One of the things that keep these girls together is their ability to give each other their thoughts and opinions (directly to each other’s faces), but still be okay if ultimately the person doesn’t do as they advise.  Having the ability to still see your friend as the person you always thought she was after seeing her use poor judgment or react poorly to a circumstance in her life, is often hard to do.  But isn’t it woman who always say “if you can’t tell your girlfriends, who can you tell?”  Remember that the next time one of your best friends confides in you and you barely hear the end of her thought before running to call the other girls in the group to gossip about it.  When I tell my girlfriends something, I expect that they will say what they need to say right to my face, drink about it with me, have a good cry and then move on.  If I wanted the gossip and judgment, I’d put it on facebook (or I’d tell my mother).

At any rate, in my life, I have been blessed with best friends that I have picked up at different stages of my life (some from grammar school, high school and of course, college) and I’ve been able to keep them with me thus far.  Ultimately, I realize that all of these women are different and I love them because of that.  There are no two of us that lead the same life or have made the same choices and I respect each of them for who they are.  I do not always agree with them and trust me, I let them know, but at the end of the day, it’s their life and I’m just here to enjoy it with them, help them rebuild it if it comes crashing down and kill who ever hurts them! 

I do not have it all figured out, that’s for sure, but I know that when I’ve gone thru the roughest patches in my life, the last thing I needed was a swift kick to the gut by the people I love the most when I’m already laying on the ground.  Consider how you feel and what type of support you want before reacting to situations that your friends are going thru.  And when there comes a day that your friend does something that you cannot comprehend and support; something so horrendous that you just cannot see her the same way ever again, make sure your house isn’t made out of glass before you throw the stone!