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Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

Hello readers! Sorry I’ve been MIA lately. Life has thrown a lot my way, and I’m working to adjust accordingly. Hopefully in a month or so, I’ll be posting regularly again. I’ve got ideas, just need to get them down on the paper. 🙂

This month, I decided to participate in the Penprints Flash Fiction Dash. It’s a challenge where you receive either a sentence or picture prompt and write a story from it that’s 1000 words or less. I had a lot of fun working on this, and thought I’d share it with you all since it has to do with relationships. (And because I haven’t posted in a while… oops.) Picture prompt and story below. Please read and enjoy!

 

The Decision - picture prompt - Penprints Flash Fiction Dash

 

The Decision

Silver rails and wood ties, as far as the eye could see. She looked to the east, then the west. Would the train come? Where would it take her?

Snow lay deep, interrupted only by bare trees and dead brush.

Long, dark hair fell over her shoulder and tickled her cheek, rustled by the winter breeze. The abandoned bridge lay above her, supported on stacked, rough-hewn blocks of stone. Frozen rivulets of water shone in the sky’s dim white light. Guard rails perched atop the black road kept phantom cars from plunging onto the tracks below.

Snow fingers crawled toward her boots over the gravel under the bridge. The silver rail she stood on could have frozen to her feet through thin boot soles.

She looked east. So many choices, so many destinations.

She must choose.

The wind whispered in her ear.

Tell me which way to go.

A single word resounded in her mind, as if the wind held her answer.

Alone.

Faux fur tickled bare thighs and calves. She bunched the sleeves of her hoodie in her fists, hiding fingerless gloves.

No one had come here with her. Few would wish to. This place held nothing for them.

And everything for her. So many thoughts and decisions she’d made here.

On her own.

The wind died. The snow’s stretching fingers rested among rocks strewn between railroad ties and hair settled on her shoulders. She licked dry lips.

Moisture froze.

How would she decide?

The world’s answer wouldn’t match the wind’s. Whom did she trust with this?

Only herself.

No one else would dare to understand. They’d only push her closer to the world’s answer.

She’d only ever had herself, really. Would that continue the rest of her life?

And if it did? She’d lived almost thirty years of life on her own. A few close friends had scattered to the winds, still there but harder to reach out to in times of need.

So she must turn to herself. As she’d always done before those friends stole into her life and heart.

She closed her eyes, breathing in winter’s sharp, bitter air.

Thank goodness she hadn’t become bitter.

Much lay in her past, all that she’d come to terms with. She’d accepted every piece of it. Even her own guilt.

Yet here she stood, indecisive. Which path to take?

The wind whispered again. To her.

Alone.

Perhaps the wind knew best.

She’d done many things wrong. Broken friendships lay scattered behind her like rocks, fragments of those few she’d hurt and alienated.

If she avoided going deeper than friendship, what would that make of her life?

It would give her everything she’d ever wanted, hoped for.

She’d only ever wanted a friend. Close friends, both guys and girls.

And now?

The world pushed toward dating, engagement, marriage. She grew older every day, and the world reminded her at each turn.

But she had remained careful, selective. If she chose not to follow the world, she could gain everything she’d ever wanted.

Would others understand?

No.

As the world saw it, one couldn’t be happy without a marriage, a family.

And yet she was. She’d been happy for years on her own, focusing on friendships. Friendships she still held on to, the kind that lasted.

And when she’d delved deeper than that? Disaster. And lost another friend.

Not again.

Only once had it been the right decision to step past friendship into something deeper. In the end, she’d lost a friend, a good and close one. But that had made sense, it had been right. She’d learned from it, more than if it had never happened.

This last foray into dating? Her own foolishness. And her fault they no longer spoke.

Perhaps they’d never speak again.

She must learn to rely on herself first, her own voice of reason. Not her emotions, so easily influenced by those around her.

Alone.

Yes, that’s the train she must take. She must defy the world’s views. Remain on her own, forming close, lasting friendships.

That’s all she’d ever wanted.

Now, she must live up to that decision.

She turned west and stepped from rail tie to rail tie, standing straighter than she had in days. The wind flowed around her, as if commending her choice.

Alone: how she was meant to live.

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Something’s happened. Something big, and you have to talk to someone about it. You have to make a decision. You need advice, but of a specific kind. You scroll through a list of names in your mind, deciding. Which of your friends would be best to talk to about this particular issue? Who will help most in this situation?

These are questions we ask ourselves all the time, whether or not we’re conscious of it. When we’re dealing with something big, we eventually need to talk options over with a friend. We can internalize a lot of the struggle, but at some point we need an outside opinion. We want to be sure we’re getting the best and most level-headed opinion we can, so we’re careful about who we choose to talk with about it.

This is not a bad thing. You have a unique relationship with each and every person you know, and each one of those people will have a different perspective on whatever situation you need help with. As you get to know someone, you learn what areas of life they have great insight on, and from there you know what kinds of situations they’d be able to help you the most with. Sometimes, though, we go to the person we know the best, or the one we’ve known longer. When we’re dealing with a situation that’s important to us, we go to the people we trust the most because we’re more comfortable with them. We’re able to express ourselves better. We know we don’t have to hold back. And we know that those people will take the matter seriously and give us the best advice they can.

I must offer a disclaimer here, though. Just because we choose one friend to go to over another doesn’t mean that we don’t trust that other friend. And the same goes if one of our friends goes to someone else over us. We have to remember that there are lots of factors that go into a decision like that. We shouldn’t be hurt that they didn’t come to us, because there were reasons for that, and there’s no way for us to know what those were. Instead, we should be happy that our friend got good advice on the situation, whoever that advice ended up coming from.

Every relationship is different and is built on a different foundation. Every relationship will have a different structure and will include different things. And that’s the beauty of unique relationships.

 

Do you have certain friends you ask for advice over others? Share your thoughts or story in the comments!

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Part 3 of my Communications Series.

Part 1                       Part 2

 

In Part 2, we talked about reaching out to others and intentionally doing so.  However, that’s just a starting point. At the start of a relationship, things tend to be around surface level: asking how the day was, talking vaguely about family, friends, and life. But to reach a deeper level more serious talks need to happen.

Once we’ve established a relationship with someone and have become friends, we can take that relationship deeper by talking about some of the bigger things in life: issues in the world and our views on them, the deeper aspects of our personalities, families, and life.

Many times, conversation will work itself around to these topics, but that doesn’t mean that we’re voicing the extent of our true views and values. A specific topic can come up several times throughout a friendship, and you’re likely to learn new insights and thoughts about each others’ views each time. Part of this comes from us changing/gaining perspectives throughout life, modifying our views and how we understand our values. But it can also come from feeling comfortable enough around someone to show them what we hold dear, deep inside.

Becoming comfortable around another person can happen in a variety of ways: it can be how someone listens or talks, it can take time and familiarity, or many other reasons that people have. The point in both parties feeling comfortable is that it breaks down walls that normally hide certain aspects of our views. These walls are built because of fears we hold. Therefore, for two people to feel comfortable around each other, we need to work at breaking down walls and fears: both in ourselves and whomever we’re hoping to connect with.

In Oneself

In order to break down our own walls, we need to know what they are, where they came from, and what they’re protecting. To know what our walls are, we have to do some self- and/or soul-searching. This can look different for each person, so I’m not going to address it in depth in this post. Many times, however, this comes from reflecting on our interactions with others and in what we decide to share with those we don’t know well.

Next, we need to look back and reflect on our lives. This includes childhood, teen years, and any other experiences we’ve had, whether with strangers, failed friendships, family, etc. With each wall we discover we have, we should take the time to find where it came from and how long we’ve had it. This leads us to the last big thing we need to know.

What am I protecting with this wall? A question we must all ask ourselves, because there is always a reason. Using an area of time the wall formed, can I find a specific memory centered around this fear? The ultimate question here is: What am I so afraid of that I won’t share it with anyone?

In Others

Breaking down our own walls is difficult, but breaking down others’ is more so. With our own walls, we can search through our own experiences and find out why they’re there and what they’re protecting. But with others, we probably don’t know them well enough for that. So we have to be patient and stick by them, waiting for the right opportunity and conversation to pull in some deeper personal questions. However, if we ask deeper questions of another we must be prepared for their questions as well.

And as I mentioned above, there are different things that help break down walls. One of the biggest things for me is someone taking the time to listen to what I have to say without interrupting. It’s someone waiting as I pause to gather my thoughts and form words, someone who doesn’t feel a need to fill the silence. If someone sits and listens, as well as shares about him/herself, I’m more inclined to share who I really am with that person.

The difficult part here is that everyone’s different. So we must be patient.

 

There are many aspects to deep conversations, but something I’ve found is that most of the time they’ll flow naturally from a more lighthearted conversation. We don’t have to force them, but we don’t want to avoid them either. If there’s a point in the conversation where we can insert a deeper question, we should do so and be prepared to respond to whatever he/she has to say. And we should be prepared to answer as well.

But don’t let feeling unprepared stop you from asking a deep question. The most likely thing is that you will have no idea what you’re going to answer to the same question, but you’ll learn about yourself in the process. I’ve been here many times, and it’s helped to deepen some of my relationships to a point where I start to feel as though I’ve known these people forever, rather than a few years or less.

 

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you all about how you’ve experienced deep conversations. Please share below or email me at andi_gregory (at) outlook (dot) com.

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