The title of this blog was a favorite line of Telly Savalas on “Kojack,” an old TV series.
Do you ever stop to wonder why someone likes you or why you like them? Are you drawn to certain types of personalities or people with the same or even different behavior patterns?
Having grown up in a very tightly knit family I had a somewhat different point of view about community than some other kids had. At least so it seemed. My childhood was somewhat idyllic in many ways.
Until I went to school after this happy childhood, I had no idea that there were other kids who grew up with hardships, dysfunctional parents, or even sickness other than the normal illnesses that kids get. I had no idea that there were mean kids.
The weirdest thing may have been that I had no idea that some kids wouldn’t like me! My family loved me. I loved everybody else, so why wouldn’t everybody else love me? I was a happy, kind, intelligent, playful, awkward kid.
It was hurtful to me when other kids were mean to someone, including me! I could not then nor now understand nor tolerate cruelty, exclusion, ostracizing, racism, and meanness. My family teased each other but we rarely tried to actually hurt the other siblings’ feelings.
In school I managed to make some friends with whom I enjoyed eating lunch and hanging out with on the playground. As I went up a few grades I was the brunt of some teasing and harsh comments because I was smart and so enthusiastic about learning that I studied and made good grades. The other kids didn’t like me sometimes because I “broke the grade curve” on some tests. Well, I wasn’t sure where their feelings were coming from but I tried to let it go. I also was an “inquiring mind” which means I asked a lot of questions that others were not interested in learning and held up the class’s progress to being over!
Then in fifth and sixth grade I became chubby. I was not thin and athletic like some of the other girls. This factor against me and the resultant inability to run as fast as the other kids was amplified by my mysterious inability to hit the softball with a bat.
Well that mystery was solved when I found out I was nearsighted and couldn’t see the ball well enough to aim properly to hit it. Glasses helped some but I had never played softball or kick ball before.
Although some kids liked me enough to be nice, I did find other friends more like myself, whom I could call friends. I always had my siblings and family activities to provide a balance in my life. But I still felt like I never fit in well in social settings.
Fast forward to my late teens. I was better liked and grew taller and grew to be comfortable in my own skin. But it was still important to me that people like me. This continued even into my adult years. In some ways this attitude set me up as a perfect victim for some to take advantage of me.
So to get to the point. Who loves you, Baby? Why do they love you?
Aside from my family I have at least three, very dear friends whom I know would love me no matter what I said or did. They know I feel the same way about them. Hopefully everyone has a friend like these three.
So all of this started me thinking about friendship. How do others make and choose their friends?
Over the years I have had many kinds of friends. I tended to attract friends who were in need of friends for a while, since I, being a rescuer, “needed to be needed,” I rescued the new “kids on the block.”
But in retrospect I wonder now if I was just continuing my pattern of thinking that since I needed rescuing, only others in the same boat would want to share my company. https://joyful2beeblogs.com/2021/10/01/rescue-the-rescuer/
Perhaps I felt like I had little or nothing to offer to new friends? I don’t know. But I did finally and thankfully realize that I had a lot to offer as a friend. Much later in my late fifties I realized that I needed to learn to be a friend to myself. I learned that some people claiming to be friends are not friends whom I could have a “give and take” relationship with. There are some who wanted my company not because I was a good friend but because they were lonely and didn’t have many friends of their own.
It’s one thing to befriend someone who is short changing themselves in the department of what they have to offer. It is another thing for these lonely people to have friends but call you just when their other friends are busy or you have something they want.
It pays to examine what you want in a friend and what the friend you are considering wants you for. I have found that looking for a friend who can be an equal, whether they have all the same interests you do or not. But you can exchange ideas and express your feelings without fear of rejection.
Two of my friends are or were nurses like I was. We understand the stresses, fatigue, and working conditions of being a nurse; yet we have our own lives and interests that we can offer to keep ourselves interesting and interested in the other person.
So choose your friends carefully. Don’t be a St. Bernard kind of friend because friendship should be grown and nurtured like a puppy. Some offerings about yourself is good, but too much information can overwhelm a potential friend; others may see a weakness and use it to get you like them or be used by them. A slowly developing friendship is the best kind; kind of like a marriage. You don’t want to give everything out at the beginning if you might be taken advantage of.
Be wary of who you become friends with. Know someone really well before you start a potentially long term relationship with them. Ask other friends you have in common. See how they treat others, especially others like waiters, service people, poor people. Do they have a quick temper? Do they care about other people? If they have a short temper, they may well show it to you too. Be careful! Friends may be sheep in wolves clothing.