What Type of Friendships do you Have?

no buckets today... sad day.

Article by Wendy McCance

I have been doing a lot of thinking recently about the closeness I share with friends.  Over the years, I have been a supportive friend who has been there for the good moments and the bad.  I have known the majority of my close friends for close to two dozen years.

Even so, when I reflect on my friendships, it has dawned on me that my version of friendship and closeness is far different from my interpretation of what most friendships are really like.  I don’t know many of the intimate details about my friends lives.  I will be the first to admit that I am horrible at keeping track of birthdays for example.  I have always been uncomfortable around people who remember the important dates and go out of their way to make sure I know they remember.  It always made me feel like a horrible friend because I wasn’t the same way.

I would say the most honest thing about my friendships is that for as little as I might have known them intimately, they really have less of an idea about who I am.

When I was small my family moved around the country every few years because of my dad’s job.  We would unpack in one state and pack up again within a few years.  This happened 4 times before my dad through in the towel and changed careers.  When he decided enough was enough, I was only 8 yrs. old.  By this point, most kids had learned how to open up to people and establish some sound friendships.  I was an adventurer who loved meeting new people but didn’t know what to do in the long-term.  I got bored quickly and wanted to move on to the next new exciting thing.

As I was growing up, I tried to have a best friend.  3 different times I really tried to let others in more than I had ever attempted.  I think I picked people who felt most comfortably like me.  This became a problem because two people who have no idea how to open up and really be good friends is a recipe for disaster.  Each friendship lasted on average 3 years and then crashed and burned.

After the last attempt at really trying to open up, I gave up.  I didn’t do it consciously, I just realized it recently.

Friends I have currently, the ones who have been around for many years know nothing about me.  This is such a crazy thing to admit, but it’s true.  These are people who know a lot of superficial history like that I went through a divorce and have a sister.  They could never name the places I have lived, what my birthday is, or what hobbies I enjoy.  I don’t get personal and let them in when I am going through a troubling time or even when something great has happened.

What is surprising to me is that I am actually extremely close to my husband.  He is the best friend I had always hoped to have.  He knows the good things as well as the bad things.  I hold nothing back and feel content in the knowledge that we know everything about each other.  I am not sure how I was able to break down the walls and be so authentic with him, but in many ways, he was the same way as me.  We both lived very superficial lives and didn’t get too personal with anyone.

I have three kids and two of them are very much like I was growing up.  They have lots of friends, but they don’t get too close.  My third child on the other hand wears her heart on her sleeve and has some incredibly close friendships with a group of girls.  She often talks about all they know about each other.  She is the daughter who recently put together a surprise party for a friend for her birthday.  She is the kid who would have known too much and made me uncomfortable as a child.  I do envy her and the relationships she has built.

I am hoping her love of life and friendships rub off on the other two kids.  I want to see them have real support and closeness from some quality friendships.

Would I change the way I am?  Honestly at this point in my life, I am happy and content.  I tend to enjoy my alone time way too much.  It’s nice to have a go to group of friends to hang out with on occasion, but I don’t have the time or energy to put in the effort needed for the deep connections I once hoped to have.

What about you?  Do you have a lot of close friends that really know you?  Do you relate to this story, or are you the complete opposite?  I’d love to hear your take on what your experiences have been like with friendships.

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Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 9 local papers online, including the Oakland Press. The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: mccance.wendy@gmail.com

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23 thoughts on “What Type of Friendships do you Have?

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  6. My sister is completely uninhabited , the life of a party type. I adore her, but she keeps all of her relationships on a pretty much surface level. It’s hard for her to let anyone really close ever sine our dad died when we were young. I on the other hand, tend to be the more serious, committed type who tend to trust and believe everyone. I think it’s just a difference in personalities… we have always been very different yet very much alike… LOL. cancer happens, more often than we’d like, but I was lucky that I caught it early and had AFLAC Cancer insurance. Luckily I got that years ago when I was teaching. The premiums never go up and they pay directly to you. I would STRONGLY encourage everyone who can afford it, to check into it. It’s cheap, even for family I pay $41.00 a month. They have saved us financially during this journey… that might make a good blog. They reimburse my $427 medication every month & it comes directly to me. You don’t list it as a secondary insurance… It’s the one with the DUCK commercials (their home office is here so I’ve known about it for forever it seems..LOL) Sorry for the long answer..

    • I love the long answers, their the most interesting. It’s funny, when you described your sister and yourself, I just pictured all the people who might have thought your sister had it all. Not realizing that maybe she wasn’t as close to everyone as others might assume. I’m glad you mentioned the insurance. I’m sure there is someone who will read about it and find it incredibly helpful for their situation or someone they know. 🙂

  7. This is so interesting, and lovely to find how much I have in common with other people.
    What a useful thing to reflect on.
    I’ve always had friends, but none very close. I feel most at home with my (ex) husband, even though we’ve been apart for many years and he’s married again. We parted on good terms, after having brought up three kids and been through some challenging experiences, so I feel we really know each other.
    I’m still in touch with one schoolfriend (I’m in my 70s), and I suppose about one friend from every ten years of my life. I’ve moved a lot too, so I find I’m most in touch with my family. I’d love a friend where we could be really open with each other.

    I tend to let people be friends with me, rather than seeking people out, and mostly get to know them through things I join. It’s partly because I like my own company, and am pretty happy on my own a lot of the time.

  8. I am a military spouse so I understand the moving around part. I am often surprised by who I keep in touch with after we move on to the next base. Although I make friends quickly, I only have two very close friends who I can pick up with after years and it seems we’ve never been apart. I am fun and friendly and enjoy myself, but that’s on the surface. My husband is the only person who truly knows how I am feeling on the inside.

  9. there are backstabbers everywhere. best friendship advice, for me, is, be truthful. Don’t be too trusting. if you’re too trusting, back-stabbers worm their way into your life. And then it’s hard to free youself from them. Try to be ‘real.’

  10. I can completely relate to your story. My husband and I are each other’s best friend and we are perfectly happy that way. I have girlfriends that I have known for over 20 years and it’s sad to say but I think if I never called them again, they wouldn’t notice. I do have a friend that I met in nursing school and when we saw each other every day, we did have that kind of closeness. We still do and we try to keep it up, but it’s hard when we don’t see each other every day.
    My husband and I were friends before we even went on our first date. The first date didn’t even seem like a date because it was us eating over yet more conversation. Ten years later it seems that everything we do is xyz over yet more conversation. It’s great. Who knew my best girlfriend would turn out to be my husband? Not bad for a gal who didn’t really want to get married. Good post.

  11. I was the same way as you. I grew up in a very dysfunctional home and learned to hide everything. I couldn’t invite people over so I didn’t allow myself to get close to any one. I did have a wonderful relationship with a partner who was just like me in how he grew up, but he was so outgoing that it covered up my quietness and even brought me out of my shell some. Then one day (when I was 23) I learned I had cervical cancer. I realized that I had no one else to talk to. None of my friends knew what I really thought or what was important to me. They didn’t know how I had grown up. I realized then that my friendships were too superficial, but had no idea how to change that. My now ex-partner was the only one I could talk to and was there for me. I went through the cancer without anyone else knowing what I was going through and it was so lonely.

    Now I have a couple friends who know about my life, but if I’m honest my two sons and my one daughter-in-law are my closest friends. It’s strange how life turned out.

  12. At this point in my life I have to honestly admit I have no close friends. None. I am married, but we don’t tell each other everything. In fact we hardly talk at all. I’m a very private person. Always was, but due to circumstances out of my control I’m pretty much on my own. I don’t feel sorry for myself though. I have no problem being with just me. I have my dog. I have my blogs and I have a few online friends. Hopefully things will change in the coming future. We will see.

  13. It never ceases to amaze me Wendy how much we have in common. Like you, my husband has been my friend over the years too. We have seen each other at our best and worst and I can always count on him to be there. I guess, to me, he’s the best friend I could have.

    I have some girlfriends but nothing as close as what my husband and I have. Again, like you, we get together and hang out for a day or go on retreats together but not on a consistent basis. Most of them know personal things about me and we’re close, only because I’m open and transparent that way – sometimes to a fault. I can and want to talk just about everything. When I do things with a girlfriend it’s a nice change and I can let loose in a different way and I like that. I can talk girl talk or talk about feelings on an on and they get it and vice versa. I can empty that way and recharge.

    I’d like to hear if there are people who have close friends and a close relationship at the same time like you’re talking about. I’ve usually seen it one way or the other. Curious – don’t know why it mostly works out that way. Do you find that’s true too?

    Anyway, after almost 46 years of marriage I am way content and happy in my partnership and I love my friends in the relationships we have too. It’s just doesn’t have the same closesness.

    • Hi Pat, thanks so much for commenting. I had never thought of it, but I see the same things. You are either close to your friends or husband on a deep level but I haven’t seen both either.

      • I know Wendy. I haven’t seen it either where you have the same closeness with your husband as you do with friends. I’m sure it’s possible and would be wonderful. I wonder why though. I guess it depends on the chemistry we have with each other and expectations.

  14. Nope, I don’t. My best friends are my daughter, my mom and my hubby and one good friend but she lives out of town…. It was amazing to me how once I discovered I had cancer, even our closest friends, that we vacationed with and saw almost every weekend, just dropped me/us. My poor hubby has people at work, but he isn’t one to become very close to anyone, other than family. Perhaps that is because our family doesn’t usually drop us entirely… some may distance themselves a little, but they would come if needed. My sister is the direct opposite from me… she always has had tons of “good” friends. I try to always be a good friend, sending cards, calling etc., but finally gave up about 6 months after the cancer diagnosis. Still haven’t heard from them… so I guess our relationship wasn’t really what I thought it was… 😀 Good post!

    • I am so very sorry that you have cancer. I wish the very best for you. It’s so hurtful that people can be so insensitive and just awful when you actually really need some support. I wonder how your sister does it. Are her friendships the type that would turn out the same if she was ill? Do you think she just overlooks insensitive people and is better able to just take them as they are?

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