Nuffnang

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

"He's Not My Friend" and Why I'll Never Force My Kid to Be Friends With Everybody.

I've always been bossy and I would always been seen as a "leader". I would dictate what storyline we would play, who plays what role and what prop to use. My parents called me the "ringleader" and for the most part growing up, I never really questioned what it meant. 

I've never been friendly. In fact, it took a lot to be my friend. I always had an instant connection with people and to those people, they became my closest friends or if you really want to be highschool about it, my clique. I truly believe the saying "birds of a feather flock together" and for the most part of my life, that saying has been true. That doesn't mean I don't give others a chance - I do but I would never force friendship on anyone. Even today I am able to be civil and try to make new friends, but I will for the most part, never force myself to like people or force people to like me. 

For the most part, I still remember scaring my parents with my attitude. I remember my father "forcing" me to be friends with their friend's kids. I remember being forced to sit beside people my age and try to be cordial. I remember once I had an argument with my father. I huffily said "He's not my friend" which in retrospect must have been very embarrassing for my parents seeing that boy was a child of their friend. I remember being labelled as anti-social or unfriendly or aloof or loner. It's funny because while I didn't make friends easily, the ones that I've been lucky to find an instant connection with ended up becoming lifelong friends even today. So say what you will, I always believe quality over quantity, friends included.

I don't believe that I'm not good at making friends. I believe I'm just very picky with who I let into my life. That's why the ones that are able to be called "friends" really know me and understand me enough. Which brings me to my own children. 

Hubbycat did ask me once, what if our children aren't inclusive of everyone? 

Well as a parent, I would be embarrassed but I would never force my child to be friends with anyone they don't want to. As a parent, I would encourage them to try. At least get to know a person first and if ever they don't want to be friends, let it not be for superficial reasons like their skin colour, race, religion, deformity or handicap. If anything, let that reason be because you just don't have anything in common. I don't think there's anything wrong with not being friends with people who just don't "click" with you. Life is too short to get into disagreements, fights, misunderstandings and all that. As if life isn't problematic enough, you really don't have to go inviting problems in. 

And what if my child was on the receiving end?

As a parent my first instinct is to find out why. But I know by doing so, I'm not being fair to my child. "Find someone else to be friends with" that's what I would tell my children. Never crave friendships you cannot get. I also believe people are put in your life for a reason and some people aren't meant to be in your life. At the end of the day, I want my children to know that life is unfair. I refuse to wrap my kids in a plastic bubble and tell them the world is peachy and kind. I rather prepare them for a fight than let them live a soft life. I want them to know that they are valuable and if they truly value themselves, they would not have to go around begging for friends or change themselves to be accepted. 

And at the end of the day, it's okay to walk away from relationships that aren't working out. Better it is to be alone than to keep trying to mend a sinking ship. If you're not being respected, valued and appreciated - it's better to just walk out. At the end of the day, you really don't have to feel bad for protecting your worth. If you don't respect yourself how do you expect others to do the same. 

-Ally

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