The best thing about you and me is our development—our growth. The way we go from oblivious to conscious, or how we hold back manipulation and irritation. It’s also a super cool moment the first time we say “No” and stick the landing. I like the journey piece as well. For instance, my own growth has included getting better at the stuff—like reading about brain-based learning, or going to grad school, or hiring experts to teach me how to run a company.
Growth, however satisfying to you, can feel unfriendly to others. Everyone who got used to the old “you” is invited to re-up when the new you attends the next meeting of your friendship.
Suddenly, you zig instead of zag.
- “Wait, I thought you hated TV. Why are you letting your kids watch?”
- “So you don’t believe X any more? I’m afraid for you.”
- “You don’t seem like yourself lately. Are you okay?”
Anything to ram you back into a comfortable shape for them. The modus operandi is: “I need to get her to be the predictable person whose behavior validates my choices and beliefs while meeting my needs.”
This is how criticism, gossip, and exclusion get going. Sometimes a whole group will send out a red flag: “Look out! She’s dangerous!”
But that’s not friendship.
Friendship says: I see the “you” under all the presenting details and I like her. I want her good. I’m committed to curiosity over judgment, trusting her growth over my need to “fix” her. That’s a huge gift when you receive it—and rare.
Sometimes you will lose people on the journey who don’t get it, or you. Sometimes they even make up stuff to explain the you they no longer understand or accept. That hurts.
My best friends over the last 20 years are those who’ve been fascinated by my growth, not afraid of it. The people whose opinions have meant the most to me are those who are growing too—and aren’t afraid of change or the uncertainty of becoming more aware and honest.
I named some of these people on my personal Facebook page. You won’t know most of them. This particular group is made up of people I’ve met online whose kindness, brilliance, and camaraderie sustained me at critical moments. It’s good to have room to grow and friends. Both.
This post is originally from Instagram and @juliebravewriter is my account there so come follow along for more conversations like this one!