There’s many excuses that we can come up with when it comes to why we don’t play a certain sport. Two of the most popular are, “I’m not good enough.” or “I don’t want to be picked last.” The two kind of go hand in hand, like a cause and effect. “I’ll be picked last, because i’m not good enough.”
For a long time I refused to participate in things that I knew I wasn’t very good at. Even though my friends were playing sports and I wanted to play with them, I wouldn’t play because I knew I wasn’t one of the top players. My friends didn’t care, they just wanted my participation. But I still wouldn’t play. The only person that was making me feel bad about myself was me.
Hey! Guess what makes you better at things you aren’t very good at? PRACTICE. Just because you’re picked last now, doesn’t mean you’ll be picked last later! It might take a while of being uncomfortable to move up in the food chain, so to speak. Yeah you might fall down. You might miss a ball. You
might WILL embarrass yourself a little. But that’s okay! Your friends are your friends for a reason. The way you play won’t determine your friendship after the game. The good news is that you’ll only get better if you decide to keep participating. The odds are in your favor! Your friends will still be your friends when the game is over, so that’s good news too!
I went through a time where I didn’t have many friends, due to my own stupid mistakes. You have to be a friend to make a friend. And as that saying is true, so is the opposite. Treat your friends poorly and soon you won’t have any. In my time of not having my friends, I wasn’t asked to be involved in many games. So I got a taste of what it was like to not be wanted to participate in things and it was a major punch in the face. All of a sudden I WANTED to play but I didn’t have the chance anymore. I realized a lot in that time.
One of the things I realized was that it’s easy to make friends when you have things in common with people. Even if it’s things that you wouldn’t normally have fun doing, just pretend to like it and you might find that making new friends becomes easier and quicker. I’m not saying to straight up lie. Say you’ve made a decision to put yourself out there and make a friend. So you go looking and you strike up a conversation with someone who you’ve never gotten to know before. You find out that the person likes sewing. Then you could say, “I’ve always wondered what it would be like to sew a pillow!” And Bam! There’s your first friend date. Even if it is technically somewhat of a lie, you never actually wondered what it would be like to sew a pillow or care… The fact that you took interest in something FOR someone else is, in itself, being a good friend. Friendships sometimes require a little sacrifice. Like eating at McDonald’s because that’s what they wanted, when you wanted Taco Bell instead.
Another thing that I learned in my time of not being a friend, was that I desperately needed and wanted a good friend. I would complain to my mom that I couldn’t find anyone to be REAL friends with. I could find people to go to lunch with here and there, but no one that I really had much in common with. No one that I felt comfortable inviting over to my house because I lived in a mobile home. No one that could just come over and be bored with me. The, “what do you wanna do?” “I don’t know, what do you wanna do?” then just sit there for another three hours talking about how bored we were type. Those type of friends are the best. My mom would always just tell me to pray. Which is legit advice, but I needed something more. I needed action. I needed to stop sitting in place.
Once I finally decided that it was going to be my goal to make a friend, I went in with full force. I noticed a pattern with friendships that didn’t go anywhere:
- They lacked commitment. We would make plans to do something and then one of us would cancel, usually last minute. That’s a recipe for disaster in any friendship. It’s usually not immediate, but if you notice yourself or your friend doing that, don’t invest any more time into it. If you’re the one that’s canceling, you’re obviously not that interested anyways. And if they are the one that’s canceling, well.. the same goes for them. They lack interest in you. My mission statement for making a real friend and learning to be one was, “Don’t make someone a priority that only makes you an option.” I stopped investing in friendships that were only one sided. When I did that, I also learned how to be more genuine, because I had more of my time and energy to give to the people who were my real friends.
- They were counter-productive. Friendships that don’t allow you to better yourself are also something you don’t want to get involved with. If you’re a married person and you’re hanging out with other married couples who aren’t happy, guess what you’re asking for? An unhappy marriage. If you’re someone who wants to lose weight but you’re struggling, and the one true friend you have is the one who won’t quit asking you to go to lunch, drop them like it’s hot. Cuz baby you don’t need that kind of negativity. If you have kids and you’re friends with someone who is five years younger than you and is interested in doing all the bad things… run for your life! Run and never look back or you’ll be turned into a pillar of salt. and it will be the cheap iodized kind, not the Pink Himalayan salt that everyone likes because it’s expensive and pink!!!
- They weren’t dependable. If Susie calls you anytime she needs a favor but never returns one, you better just quit cold turkey. The worst kind of friend is the one that uses you. Those kinds of friends can suck you dry. “Oh I haven’t ever talked to you more than once in my life, but can you babysit for me M-F for the next eight months? K. thanks! Oh by the way, i’ll be busy anytime you ask for something, so better not try. love ya!” Yeah no thanks. I’ll just steer clear of that relationship before it even starts. Another type of un-dependability is when you ask a friend to do something, you trust that they will do it, and then they cancel on you. Most of the time they lie about it, making it seem like they really can’t help that they can’t go through with their commitment, because they got called in to work. But usually that’s not the case. Usually it’s just that someone else had something more fun to do and they would rather do that. That’s what you would call a Fair Weather Friend.
I committed to not follow those patterns when looking for friends. If you notice any of those patterns, or if anything in those 3 things sounds remotely familiar, take a fair look at yourself and ask if it’s you or them. You might be surprised to find the answer.
Starting friendships is almost as hard as ending friendships. If you’ve ever found yourself in a place where you realize, “Hmm.. This person is really hindering my growth. This person isn’t good for me!” Then you might need to start weaning them off of you. Baby is to teet as friend is to you. Sometimes they just won’t let you go! Sometimes you have to force them off without offering the bottle.
I had a friend who was extremely loyal to me. She was great with my kids and she was fun to hang out with. Those three things are all winning traits! But the negatives outweighed the positives. She was a lot younger than me and loved the night life. My night life was being with my family. I did her way of night life for a while, leaving my husband and kids at home while I went out, and it was nothing but problems for my family. If you’re a wife and mother, you shouldn’t be living like you’re single. You don’t belong in a bar or a club. Her life was going in the opposite direction as mine. We were just so unequally yoked. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, because I hate losing friends, but slowly I weaned her off of me. There’s a lot of power in saying, “No.”
I had to learn that being with my kids at home was just going to have to be enough for me. I didn’t have to have a friend who was around all the time. I needed to learn how to be a mom and wife by myself, without relying on entertainment during the day. There was a reason I didn’t like being by myself. It was because I didn’t like myself! No wonder I had trouble making friends! Being alone with yourself and your thoughts for a while will definitely help you get to know yourself.
If you find yourself in the same spot that I was in, where you don’t like yourself and you find that well… other people don’t really like you either, then take a step back and look at the things in your life that you have control of changing. Make a conscious effort to make positive changes. Don’t say, “I’ll try.” just do it. If you wanted something really bad, like a Fitbit watch, or an iPhone, or a new pair of shoes, you would probably find a way to get it. I know I do! That was another epiphany I had. I’m like, “Hey you phony, you say you WANT to be this and you WANT to be that, but you don’t put the conscious effort in to changing as you do when you need to make some money for something material that you want.” I mean I would literally set up a lemonade stand to make money for something if I REALLY wanted it. So once I came to that realization, I stopped making excuses for myself and the outcome was that I learned to like myself.
Faith without works is dead. You can sit around all day saying you want to be fit, but working on eating that bag of chips isn’t going to get you there. Having faith is great, but add the actual work into it, and you will have a friggin’ sweet outcome!