Even in marriage, friendship is the foundation upon which love is based. No friendship and marriage can be a real lonely state.
Hand in hand with friendship comes loyalty. Hand in hand with friendship comes give and take.
Can there come a time when enough is enough? And how come we usually never know we have reached “enough ” until long after that point has passed?
And why are we wracked with guilt even when walking away was the only real option left to us?
Who can argue with Kenny Rogers’ great line from The Gambler?
You gotta know when to fold’em, know when to hold’em, know when to walk away, know when to run
But how do we really know when the time comes?
Loyalty is a huge one on my list. I was always taught to stand by my friends. In midlife my friendships mean even more because I have a healthier appreciation of the odds against really connecting with someone. But loyalty can’t be blind.
It is said that in midlife people commonly go through their phone books and scratch off names. The realization usually comes that it is better to focus on quality rather than quantity. I haven’t deliberately done that exercise, but I have become a bit more discerning about with whom I spend my time. That’s not to say I’m not wracked with guilt about those I choose to distance.
So, I have to remind myself to heed the red flags.
The following saying has become my recent favorite:
I want to believe the best of people, I think most people do. But it has come at a personal cost. Perhaps I have befriended too easily in the past. The challenge, I think, is to remain open and receptive enough to avoid the cynicism that comes with being too protectionist. There’s totally safe and then there’s social.
Liars, drama queens, attention seekers, manipulators and passive aggressors need not apply.
Today I give myself permission to heed the red flags.
Is this a tough one for you, too?