“My circle is small but the love is enormous + genuine. It gets no better.” -alex elle
Friendships have always been a tricky field for me to navigate. There is that overwhelming desire to be liked and loved by all- which simultaneously is accompanied by caution and warning signs that try to ensure that you don’t get played (some, like me, can be more oblivious to these than others).
The end conclusion to both sides is that we just want to love- and be loved by others in return. The equation seems simple enough- my love = your love and we’re all a big happy pot of love and sugar and spice and everything nice. But oftentimes, my math wasn’t just quite right to where the equation yielded something that looked like this: my love for you>your love for me, which led to my giving away of energy that was never compensated.
For many years, this was my norm. I was a people pleaser and was constrained in a cycle that had me on wash, rinse, and repeat. Because I was kind, I felt like I needed to be kind to everyone- including those that invaded and disrespected my space. I thought my kindness meant giving people 2, 3, 5, 8 chances although they had displayed themselves to me on multiple occasions, otherwise be deemed “mean” or “rude.” I realized how much of an impact labels played in my life. My misconception of kindness caused me to live in ways/make choices that directly hindered my self-care and self-growth.
I learned that I can be kind, yes, but also serve to protect my self interest. I now am more intentional about the people who I include in my space and pour energy into. ‘Acquaintance’ has become a term I have learned to use more often. Life teaches me to be kind to others, despite their own character, but life has also taught me that not everyone deserves to be invested into- not every acquaintance does (or should) become a friend.
But to differentiate different types of friends may arouse fear of having a small friend group. That conceptualization is something that I struggled with (and still struggle) as well. But I always think back to what my mother used to frequently tell me. “You don’t have to beg people to be your friend. As long as you have you and God, you will be alright.”
I didn’t truly realize the importance of the phrase until recently. It’s important to remember that those who want to be in your life will make that desire known to you. It won’t be a hidden message you have to search through the sand to find. It will be evident- through their words, and most importantly through their actions toward you. Oftentimes our hearts may be first to pick up the signs although our consciousness is not aware (or refuses to acknowledge the fact).
This does not mean you raise hell and burn all your bridges and yell “rue you!” to those that may have done you wrong. Rather it's a message of purposeful investing. Of energy. Of love. Of generosity. Invest your energy in those that invest in you so that you are never caring for your loved ones with an empty pot.
Every so often, it is important to take a bit of time to go through your circle. Who does your mind go to first? Who are the secondaries? The here- and - there friends? The acquaintances? Do you find yourself investing more time in individuals that don’t necessarily reciprocate the energy?
Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!