I am thankful on a daily basis for my amazing and genuine friendships. Sometimes I end a day with my friends and have that warm fuzzy feeling in my heart of contentment.
Having such wonderful friends made me wonder whether I was being too picky about relationships, I once said, "I just want to find someone who makes me feel as good or better than my friends," to which one of my closest friends said, "I'm sorry we set the bar so high." She was right, they did. I finally met someone who jumped over that bar, but that's a story for a different time.
So what is it about my friends that make them so great to be around? For me it's open, genuine honesty.
You see, I can be what other people might see as lacking in filter. It's not that I don't consider the impact of what I say, it's more that my tolerance for the truth is much higher than it is for many. I can also be impulsive at times and say things without thinking. This means that I occasionally will say something that other people don't like.
I am generally good at picking up on body cues, but sometimes either I'm absorbed in something else so I don't notice, or I pick up on something I can't quite interpret and make up things in my head which might not be accurate.
My biggest fear is that I will say something that will hurt a friend and never know about it.
A couple of years ago we had a big dinner to welcome a friend back to town. I had a great time, but the next day I was surprised. I got calls from not one, but two friends who wanted to talk to me about something I'd said at dinner that upset them. This took me completely by surprise because I had no idea the things I had said had had that affect. In the end, they mostly just needed to get it off their chests. I apologized and we all moved on. The thing is though, this rarely happens to me these days. For the most part I can just be myself with my friends without worrying about what I say. With the perfect storm of hurting two friends in one night, I cried a little.
Now I reflect back on that moment and I think about how lucky I am to have friends that are comfortable enough to share with me when I say something they don't like. So often we push things that bug us aside because it's "no big deal," but then if we don't work through them they can hang over our heads.
I still get bouts of anxiety in social settings that I'm going to say something that will rub someone the wrong way. I don't feel that way nearly as often as I used to. Having friends who tell me straight up when I do reassures me that I must be doing OK the rest of the time.
We are all real people who occasionally say and do stupid things. When we accept and communicate about that with our friends, it keeps the air clear so that we are free to be fully ourselves!