In high school I was fortunate enough to become friends with some great people such as the men in the photo above. These friends had some interests in common, to be sure, but the greatest thing about so many of the people I got to be friends with throughout my high school years is that they have continued to be accepting of me, even when I change, when life takes me to new places, or when they discover ways that I’m different from them.
I cannot say I have always been that accepting a person to others. I’ve been guilty of excluding others, and to one degree or another, even some of my long time friends have been excluded by me. I really wish I would have learned earlier to be more accepting when others were different. At times, I was too self-righteous. At times, I was too insecure. And perhaps most frustratingly, at times, I was too homophobic.
Furthermore, it’s frustrating when I become cognizant that I’m often better at accepting help from friends than offering help to friends. I can be a selfish person. I mean, yeah, I’m empathetic and desire to serve others by nature, but pretty damn often I notice myself expecting more from my friends than I give to them.
Sometimes I’m aware that my friends need more than the usual amount of attention, but they need it in a particular fashion that suits their personality. I often am not in touch with them enough to really offer that. I wish I could be better at that.
It’s easy to say you’ll be there for people, and to tell them, “Let me know if you need anything.” However, it’s difficult for me to actually engage enough to anticipate needs, and actually just be there when they need it. I can’t honestly expect myself to be the perfect friend to everyone always, I just really wish I could feel that I give as good of friendship as I often feel I get from my friends. That seems doable.
To those I’ve excluded, I’m so sorry. To those I’ve let down, I’m sorry. To those who still stick with me in my madness, I’m sorry and I love you for it.
Anyway, the point of all this is that I’ve been lucky in friendship, and I could learn a lot from the good friends I have, and from the bad friend I’ve been.
As I enter my thirties, I’m going to make a point of being open to people. Open to friends of all kinds. What’s more, I’m going to make a point of really listening and looking after the friends I now have.