Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How would you define 'friend'?

I have always loved being the only child, my Mom and I have this unbelievable relationship and I have always felt fulfilled by it. Being an only child has many perks; you don’t have to share your toys, you never try to measure up to someone else, and you have all of your parent’s attention and resources (just to name a few). There are also some drawbacks to being an only child; you have no one to share your toys with, there is no one to reminisce with about the good ole days, you are the only one to help aging parents, and (for me) you thirst for that closeness that siblings have. I believe it’s the ladder that has lead me to my current predicament. I have been disappointed in my some of my relationships lately and thanks to Tarzan, and many late night talks during our ‘kid-free’ time, I’ve realized that it may be due to my expectations.

Before now I never really noticed that I am an oddity. Out of all my close friends I am the only ‘only’. When I look at my friends with their families I know I don’t fit. I am their friend but I’ll never be in that inner circle with them. They HAVE a sister (or brother); they don’t need a sister/friend. I know I am no longer a minority lots of families (23 - 25% actually per Susan Newman, Ph.D.’s blog) are choosing to have only one child and many like my parents were given no choice. I have had this need for closeness in my life, to put it in Tarzan’s words, “People mean more to you than you do to them”. Though his words may have stung, knocked the wind out of me actually, they were true. It certainly helped to explain my dating life not to mention a lot of my friendships. I crave a sibling relationship. I want people in my life that don’t miss the milestones, not because it means something to me but because they are on this ‘journey’ with me. I do have people like this in my life but I also have some that I am trying to force along the way. Instead of unjustly harboring resentment toward these people I should assign them a ‘proper’ role in my life.

I have struggled with the decision Tarzan and I are making to have just one child, mostly I am sure we are doing the right thing but it’s moments like these where I desire more research. To help stop any future disappointments and to aid me in making an ‘informed decision’, I am on a quest to define ‘a friend’. What does it mean to people with siblings and those without? What are the differences in expectations for men and women? And how is that relationship different from a sibling (beyond the whole blood/relation thing)? Can a solid friendship fill the spot of a sibling?


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  3. I hope that I am not one of your relationships that have let you down though I know I have before. I love you more than you could know and I think of you all the time. As far as what defines a "friend" - well, to me, my friends are my sisters - not all of them - but those that stand by me and I by them - whether we can be at every memory occasion or not. I find that I am closer to you and my other girls than I am to my family. Truth be told were it not for my Mom I would really only have the family (of friends) that I've made for myself. We are each only human and in that humanity we are selfish, self centered and sometimes mean. We are also giving, selfless and full of joy. Don't despair that you are ever alone because you don't have a sibling - as far as I am concerned you do because I consider you my sister. I love you and I don't get to see you as often as I like - sometimes it's because I'm disappointed in myself and I want you to be proud of me so I hide other times it's because our lives have taken us different places. Regardless of the reason we eventually find a time and place and make it happen and all is right with the world for the time we are together. So to answer your question can a friend fill the spot of a sibling? For me the answer is yes. Just wanted to let you know.

  4. ...and a friend is who accepts you for who you are, even tho that is constantly changing, and loves you.
    a friend will always think the best in any situation (not: and how fast were you going, but: well, evidently that state trooper had a quota to fill AND his radar detector is setwrong)
    a friend is the one person who can drop by with no notice and find you looking grungy and smelling bad and STILL want to hug you before he leaves


  5. It was hard to put out there but I felt that I had to be honest about my feelings. Even those of inadequacy.

  6. hey, we all feel inadequate sometimes ... sometimes more than others. and here's another secret ...everyone, at one time or another, feels like saying out loud "i am a fraud" ... i'm receiving kudos for something that i dont really deserve. but just sit tight. you'll find out that not only do you deserve those kudos, but there's more coming your way!