When I talk to people that have recently relocated to Los Angeles, I often hear how hard it is to meet people and develop friendships. My response has always been, “It’s not the LA natives, it’s the transient population this city attracts.” Don’t judge LA by it’s cover, go native.
Having been an Angeleno all of my life, I’ve formed deep friendships and met some amazing people. However, I’ve had my share of narcissistic bizarre encounters. Sometimes, I’ve wondered if I’ve had a bullseye on my head for the opportunistic, dramatic, the unhinged. It’s not just me. I hear about other people’s friendships gone south of the border, blocked, and cut out forever like they never existed. I’m not saying there are not valid reasons for the dramatic endings, but it makes me wonder if we’re choosing our friends wisely.
I write a lot about friendships, how women create vulnerable and lasting relationships. I have them and they are very important to me. That doesn’t mean that I don’t have bumps once in a while. As a young girl, I was painfully shy, it was quite hard for me to make friends and leave friendships when they weren’t the healthiest. As I grew older, more confident, and came into myself, I began to build many friendships. However, I still had a harder time leaving them when boundaries were being crossed. Some people behave like friendship is an all you can eat smorgasbord for them to feast on. I’ve been challenged in distinguishing the difference between meeting people who are quirky and outright bananas. Then, once revealed, wonder how I ever missed the signs. I have an innate ability to tap into instinct and for some reason, I’ve not listened to it. I know when things are off, or something doesn’t feel right. The gut that tells me certain individuals need constant attention, have unattainable demands, and overall soul suckers.
What about the other side of things that are off the grid, that take you off guard? Someone you have known for a while and had no idea they were judging you. I had no idea about the “failing to meet the friend expectations” part of the equation. I call it the “conditional” ultimatum. Failing to meet their criteria can lead to anger, resentment, and getting deleted from all major forms of communication. In navigating the friendship maze, I’ve also had to look at myself as a friend, what can I give, what are my limitations, and what are my boundaries. I’ve struggled with Mad Love/Bad Blood in friendships. It’s not just a Taylor Swift problem. In the end, it could be as simple as two people who just didn’t need to have a relationship anymore and isn’t anyone’s fault. I move on and wish them well.
I’ve also learned that close friendships need care, it can’t be just one sided and on my terms. It’s a two-way street like any relationship. Communication is key and if there is care involved, most bumps can be ironed out. It all depends on circumstances and who I want to have in my life. My 8-year-old daughter has many friends. She is gregarious, has her crew, and I help her navigate through disagreements and misunderstandings. My ultimate goal is to teach my daughter that she will have friends, some will come and some will go, be honest in her friendships, be honest in herself, listen to her gut, and the friends she will have long term will only add to her life. The choice is always hers.