Get Picked, Not Plucked

I was picked, and then I was plucked. I was chosen, and happily so. Me, picked like a flower from a field among others but, then my petals were gradually pulled off. I was plucked. Not literally but certainly intentionally. I’m quite sure I didn’t hear the plucking chant, “we love her, we love her not” as each of my petals fell to the ground but, those words were definitely in line with the display of inconsistent remarks and actions. The future outcome felt as unpredictable as the petal plucking hope for true love! My petals were definitely numbered, unless I decided to take this dilemma (a problem offering two possibilities, neither of which is practically acceptable) into my own hands. I wanted to be pro active. I wanted a more certain conclusion, a peace-offering if you will. The fact that I was becoming more bare, more stripped of who I was as a person, wilting rather than blossoming was enough to make me leap into action. After all, I was determined to stay in full bloom, firmly rooted in me.

Okay, you guessed it. I’m referring to friends, good friends, BFF kind of friends. Ones you pick and ones who pick you. But, just like yourself, friends are a peculiar specimen. They come in all colors, not as in skin color but, more like the array of colors in a flower field. They may be like daisies, common and semi-colorful, blending in with all the other wild flowers in the field; or they might be unique, standing tall like the unexpected, vibrant tulip in early spring. They can be quirky with particular preferences, requiring different amounts of “fertilizing” or, they can be hearty, growing and blooming in almost any environment. Some change direction with the wind and others are firmly rooted in dense soil. Nevertheless, they are your friends and you have expectations….and so do they.

About six years ago, my assumption about what a true friend is crashed…hard. It was like a brutal, big wave washing over my happily naïve “always see the good in others”, belief. It knocked me down…hard. I was being “discussed” behind my back, and not so pleasantly. I was being made fun of publicly and it wasn’t funny. But, stop. Wait. Is this really happening among my BFFs and why? I thought this is what WE occasionally did to “outsiders”? I’m on the “inside”! They can’t be plucking MY petals! Little, seemingly irrelevant picks like how I wore my hair or, how I chose to spend my money or where I enjoyed dining, all became judgmental talking points. I was shocked. After weeks of trying to understand, I came to the realization that they obviously no longer enjoyed my company, and therefore I was no longer enjoying them. Our time together was not easy. It felt tense, sometimes competitive and often argumentative. It was no longer fun. In other words, I never parted ways with them desiring more time or longing to plan our next outing. Bingo! It was time to make my peace-offering.

In a nutshell, or should I say in a bud, I no longer trusted them and I needed to walk away (remember the definition of a dilemma), knowing it wouldn’t be easy. I explained my reasons, forgave them, sought their forgiveness and moved on. It was a difficult act but, a necessary one. I felt sad but not regretful. I felt lonely but not alone. People change and so do friendships. Relationships often adjust to the seasons of life. They change with priorities and wisdom. It would be unusual not to add or delete people from your “friend list” over the course of a lifetime but, it’s certainly not as easy as a social media click. It deserves great thought and consideration. If you can no longer be yourselves when you are together, if you have forgotten how to bring out the best in each other and, if you no longer wish for more time together, then it may be time to let go. And, that’s okay.

Now, think about yourself right now.Think about your friendships. What are they all about at this point in your life’s journey? Do they bring you mutual gratification and comfort? Are they encouraging and supportive friendships? For me, over 50 and desiring to spend my time wisely, they are both fulfilling and mutually satisfying. I strive to surround myself with people who make me better, who bring out the best in me, who allow me to be myself. My chosen friends, old and new, are genuine and accepting. Most of the time, they give and receive love openly, they laugh loudly and frequently, they are adventuresome and fun, helpful and happy. Since I have always been fairly comfortable with me and I am not typically an envious woman, I enjoy showing sincere appreciation for others’ uniqueness and taking time to build them up. Why wouldn’t I? When they feel good about themselves, they feel good about everything else, including me, including our friendship. I have never been quick to judge and can often see different perspectives (thanks Mom and Dad!). But frequently, close minded, less confident and often jealous people attempt to tear others down. It gives them a sense of power and place. My advice is to be aware of others’ needs. What feeds them? What scares them? We all have some amount of emotional intelligence and it is our responsibility to use it for better understanding of others. I know I get much of my enthusiasm for life from other people and I would bet my petals that you do too.

Now go bloom, uniquely but fully, remaining firm in your roots but open to all the possibilities of friendship. You just might be pleasantly picked without being plucked.

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