Life

A friend indeed!

 

Let’s face it, we all need friends. Even with the hardships brought on by the pandemic, we still need to interact with our friends somehow. But it is important to recognize the good and bad friends in our lives, and how to deal with the bad ones. I have had several “bad” friends in my life. And sadly, I’ve had no choice but to hit the ejector switch on them. It was never easy. I had known some of these individuals for a long time, but ultimately, they weren’t what I originally thought (sigh). Still, I have some great friends in my life, and I’m very grateful to have them in my social circle.

There are certain things that friends should and should not do, and I want to share some of the good qualities of a friend that I’ve learned over the years.

  1. Support – very crucial for any friendship. They say that a true friend is there when we’ve hit rock bottom. We don’t have to reach out to them; they already know we need them. Even if we do have to reach out, they are quick to lend us their unconditional support. They will even drop whatever it is they may be doing at the time and come to your aid. Friends who don’t respond need to be seriously re-evaluated. Be especially aware of friends that try to make you feel like your rough situation is your fault. And yes, there are people out there who do this! Friends also support you when you want to make some changes in your life such as try a new hobby or take a new job far away. They should be happy about your new endeavors.
  2. Acceptance – friends should accept you for who you are. They should accept your flaws and not let them obstruct your friendship unless said flaws are hurting the friendship itself. No one is perfect. I have Asperger’s Syndrome, and I once confided this in a friend at the time. At first, this friend accepted it, but later we had a falling out, and they referred to me as one with “severe mental problems”. The real reason for our falling out is that this person could not accept me for being different from them. True friendship means accepting those that are different from you. It also means accepting one who has had certain advantages in life: e.g. money and freedom.
  3. Reciprocity – Everything is a two-way street in friendship. You call them once in a while, and they do the same. Conversely, you do this when you make plans. Are you always the one reaching out this person? If so, something is not right. There has to be some reciprocal communication between you. After all, you have enough to juggle in life without having to reach out to a friend that doesn’t return the favor.
  4. Gratitude – a true friend will tell you that they value your friendship. They will often say ‘thanks’ for the miniscule and the monumental. Likewise, you should be grateful for their friendship. And if a friend does not reciprocate your ‘thank you’, beware! I had one who didn’t reciprocate any of my gestures of gratitude, and thankfully that person is now “somebody that I used to know” (I think I owe Gotye props for quoting this).

 

Now for the things that a friend should not be. You may think I’ve already pointed these out, but there’s more. I cannot stress the importance of recognizing a toxic friend. I recently listened to a podcast by a former NFL wide receiver by the name of Trent Shelton. In this podcast, he discusses how to let go of negative people in our lives. He says, “it’s crushing to know that the people you want the best for don’t always want the best for you.” The more you tolerate toxic pals in your lives, the more damage they will do. So, what are the signs of a not-so-true-friend?

  1. Jealousy – while it is normal to envy the things a friend has that you don’t, jealousy is 100% unhealthy. This person resents you for the advantages you have and makes you feel that you don’t deserve them, whether they show it explicitly or subtly. I had one friend who was jealous of my wealth, my freedom to travel, and my relationship with my family. In fact, it reached the point of said person often pointing out that “I have money coming out of my ass” and “your parents treat you like a baby”. This person completely overlooked the “chains” I’ve had to carry in life (and we all have them). A jealous friend is a de facto toxic friend. If they cannot accept your ‘advantages’, it’s best to move on.
  2. Constant Put-Downs – these are the people who question your actions and decisions. They feel like you are doing the wrong thing when in fact it’s the opposite. They are not happy for you, and what is the point of having a friend like that? You will ultimately start believing these put-downs, subsequently lowering your self-esteem. And you don’t want that.

It is also critical to be aware of friends that are self-centered, pessimistic, and have no accountability whatsoever for their actions. We all have our days where we’re down in the dumps or forget the occasional birthday, but when it’s polarized it is a different story altogether. Their negativity will eventually rub onto you.

It is very hard to have to cut out a friend, and it should be the last resort. But if you have a toxic friend that refuses to change, then…sayonara! You should be re-evaluating certain friends regularly, and you should be grateful for the good ones in your life. It’s difficult enough dealing with all the bad people in this world. And in these times, we are living in, we need to have a healthy and supportive social circle.

Sadly, I tolerated certain toxic chums for too long for the sake of having friends. I thought I could change them but later realized that you can’t change anyone; they have to change themselves. The key is to recognize the symptoms of a potentially bad friend early, and take action before they become worse: stop small problems from becoming bigger ones.

 

“A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.”

– Walter Winchell

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Weekend Writing Warriors/#SnippetSunday – Pesky Sister

 

Another week of the COVID-19 pandemic gone by! Now it’s time to get your snippet fixings from Weekend Writing Warriors. Click on the link for the official list of participating writers. You’ll also find me on Facebook’s Snippet Sunday. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Continuing from my WIP, Driving Me Wild.  This snippet picks up from last week’s last line: “Ash, you lay one finger on me, and I’ll-”

Let’s see what Ashley does. Creative punctuation has been used to meet the sentence limit.  Here we go!

 

She does a butt-drop on my legs, pinning them down, and then begins tickling my feet.

I explode into a storm of squealing and writhing.

“Who is he, Melissaaaa?”

I hammer her back with my fist as her fingernails relentlessly brush the bottoms of my feet, but she just ignores it. “S-s-stop, yo-you little brat, I-I-I’m gonna kill you!”

“I don’t think sooooo,” she flutes.

Every nerve ending in my feet goes wild like the crowd at Paul Brown after a Bengals touchdown, keeping me from getting her off.

I’m laughing so much that my lungs struggle to get oxygen. “I-I can’t bre-bre-breathe, le-le-lemmie go, you bitch!”

She giggles and tickles in between the balls and toes, sending me into a deeper gale of laughter and flailing as I repeatedly pound one of the throw pillows.

 

Oh that pesky Ashley, and poor Melissa! You may recall in a previous snippet that she mentioned how ticklish she is. And looks like she wasn’t kidding! How much longer can she hold out?

Your feedback is most welcome and appreciated. In return, I will snippets and offer comments. Have a great weekend!

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Surviving COVID-19 Quarantine

 

I’ll admit that I’ve never seen disruption to this degree in life! I remember back in 2003 when I was a travel agent, and facing similar uncertainty with the SARS crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic is definitely a whole new level!

I do miss my routine (work, play). I bet you do too. But it’s not quite so bad. In my neck of the woods, we can still go out for walks, exercise outdoors, walk our dogs, etc. And I’m super grateful for this! But many of you are not so fortunate. Leaving your home without proper justification can mean legal trouble, so you are confined within the walls of your humble abode.

You’ve likely kept sane by watching countless hours of YouTube videos, Netflix, etc. Nothing wrong with that. I’ve been using this time to catch up on my WIP.

And I’d like to share some similar ways to pass the time, especially in one with so much uncertainty and fear.

I’ve been telling people around me to stay positive, and I’m hoping by the end of this post you will be inspired to do that. The most important things you can do are the things that make you happy. Because when you are happy, you will think positive thoughts. So here are a few small things you can do to channel those positive vibes while practicing social distancing:

1. Take up a new hobby – here’s where YouTube comes in. Ever wanted to learn how to play a new instrument? Paint? I suggest using this downtime to learn a new hobby you’ve always wanted to take up but never had the time. Watch some videos (and there’s plenty of them) to get a feeling since you obviously can’t go out and buy a paint set, instrument. That can come during better times. Why not set out some time to learn a new hobby online.

2. Learn a new language – there are lots of language-learning apps out there, such as Duolingo. They’re free and have lessons for complete beginners. I use one to learn French and German, whilst keeping up my Spanish. I suggest devoting thirty minutes a day to doing simple lessons. You will be surprised how much you can learn in that time.

3. Journal – no, you should just write down your daily happenings. I suggest going deeper and being reflective. Make a list of the things you are grateful for; your best skills; the things that have made you a better person. What would like to accomplish by the end of the year (you might remember a previous post I made suggesting this). You will not only discover more about yourself, you will also think positive thoughts. You can even note how COVID-19 makes you feel in your journal. Go ahead, you know you wanna!

4. Exercise – this is crucial, and you can still get it indoors. Again, YouTube can be your helping hand. If you’re a yogi, you’ve likely been practicing during this whole social distancing thing. Maybe you’ve always wanted to give yoga a try? Well now you can, and there are plenty of videos for total beginners.

5. Meditation – definitely a necessity for positive-thinking. COVID-19 is bringing about stress beyond belief, and meditation can help curb said stress. You don’t have to meditate like the hard-core types. Just find a quiet spot in your home, close your eyes and listen to soothing instrumental music (no lyrics at all) for about eight minutes.

What you want to avoid is getting fixated on media regarding the COVID-19. I’m not suggesting ignoring it completely, but absolutely don’t let it become an obsession. When you get fixated on the news, you will start leaning towards the negative spectrum. And you don’t want that. Because then you won’t sleep or eat properly.

Stay positive and know that we will all get through this!

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