What if Friendships Disappoint and Disappear? How Do You Journal That?

 

You come to the canvas. Knowing.

There is something that wants to be witnessed. You feel it in deep sighs that inhale, yet never release. Or in the fickle songs of friendship that change tempo with the wind.

From delight and joy…to the resurrection of childhood wounds. And everything in between.

If it didn’t matter, you wouldn’t feel anything at all. And if it does matter, you’re bound to feel it. Because you have promised yourself to be less avoidant, more authentic, and a just a bit wiser than yesterday.

No matter how unrealistic, dramatic, or childish the story.

 
 

STEP 1-BACKGROUND & TEXTURE

 

Take a step. One tiny movement toward pen, paint, and page. And renewal.

  • Pick a color. Any color. It doesn’t matter. Or does it? As soon as you release yourself from judgment…you know.

My choice? Yellow. A chicken-hearted pity party color. Foam brush recklessly flowing in tales that feel like walls. Uneven and jagged. The stones of forgotten friendships.

I paint that too.

 

It’s natural to want to break down the wall. Brutishly. And quickly.

No judgment.

There is always a place and time to barf ugliness. It may begin in our bathrooms and cars with ballsy decisions…like, “I’M DONE!” Clear and confident that this step is the only choice. To save ourselves from the deepening scars of neglect and betrayal.

Or in our written journals. Ink and pain gouging between blue lines and spiral binding.

Finally, when enough energy has flowed through our pens, we come to the brink of innocence again. Offering ourselves time to explore anew. With the one true friend that never lets us down. The voice of Creative Disruption emerging from within.

 

STEP 2-TEXT AND FORM

 

Begin with curiosity. What is it that you DO want in a friendship? Because without clarity, it is far too easy to fall into misalignment.

  1. What are your favorite things to do with friends?

  2. How have you been let down by friends?

  3. What were the causes that led to the breaking of friendships you once enjoyed?

  4. What do you contribute to your friendships?

  5. Describe the friends you haven’t yet met.

 
 
... we can find ourselves in love with what is yet unborn within us. This is the enchantment of the creative process.
— Barnet Bain, The Book of DOING and BEING
 
 

Put it on the page.

  • Write your responses anywhere, any size, any configuration.

  • Add a large focus word. Don’t be constrained by the word “Friend”. If you are still deep in pain, it’s okay to let a different label fly.

  • Collage some “interesting” magazine figures. Let them surprise you.

  • Remain curious and open. No filters, no fixing.

 
 

STEP 3-REFLECT

 

We live in a world where science studies every intricacy of our lives, including friendship.

You probably won’t be surprised to discover that there is a link between friendship and depressive symptoms. Especially in pairings where one partner displays the following.

  • excessive reassurance seeking

  • negative feedback seeking

  • one-sided disclosure/one sided support

It’s tough. You want to be there for your friend, but it’s exhausting.

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What about good friendship behaviors?

Intimacy, support, loyalty, and self-validation are critical. Oh, and don’t forget….time. The frequency of meeting a friend is an indicator of relationship strength.

So…bolstered by science, how do we manage the complicated, messy, joyous world of sharing our lives with others?

 
 
 

Perhaps with a two-way mirror. One that allows us to see our own reflection, honestly and clearly. While allowing our nearest and dearest to view us from the other side.

Reflecting back our vulnerabilities in moments of both intimate scrutiny…and tenderness (as is the way with true friendships).

Knowing that we are all inquisitive evolving humans, working our way through life. One Creative Disruption at a time.

 
 
  • add additional collage, paint, stamps, and words. Either quickly and intuitively. Or in thoughtful day to day layers. Allowing wisdom to unfold in its own time.

 

STEP 4-ACTION

 

FEAR ALWAYS LURKS BEHIND EMOTIONAL DISCOMFORT

Can you identify any of the following voices of fear?

  • afraid to speak up to your friends and communicate your needs?

  • afraid that society has ruined intimate friendships with digital distance?

  • afraid that you have simply settled, because you believe your people don’t exist, and you don’t want to be alone?

  • afraid that your secrets are not safe

Questions are more important than answers. So ask. But don’t seek. This is the magic of deep reflection. Simply posing a question cuts to the heart of hurt….and begins the process of healing.

 
The antidote to fear is action.
— James Victore, Feck Perfuction
 
 

EXPECT TO SEE YOUR THINKING SHIFT

Where once you were sure you needed to ditch a relationship altogether, you now realize that there is an element of joy you would miss. Taking notes from emerging wisdom you make a pact with self. To set boundaries for each unique situation.

Perhaps Friend A is a great activity partner, but entirely too chatty with others to share your inner secrets.

And Friend B may be fully on board for the types of outings you enjoy, but you have no political or spiritual meeting ground.

Or Friend C, the one you share your work world with, and occasional coffee meet-ups…but with whom you just don’t have the right bond for a girl’s trip to Europe.

FRIEND X?

Don’t forget the one you haven’t yet met. She is looking for you, just as earnestly as you are looking for her. But she’s not going to show up on your doorstep.

So take one last step. Get out of your comfort zone. Explore the kinds of places that your people might haunt. While practicing being the kind of person that doesn’t let friend-wounds fester. But explores them daily through written and visual reflection.