The Kay Factor

Posted by on May 17, 2010 in The Blog, Uncategorized | 18 Comments

I received a question the other day from a woman who said that she had been married 28 years and that her friends seem jealous of that.  You know little comments and things.  She asked me if they were “true friends.”

I am aware that the standard and appropriate PC response to a question like that is: no.  People who are your true friends accept you for who you are completely and are happy for your joy and do not judge you nor do they get jealous of you. But I am not going to say that.

First, I must say that I am probably the last person to ask about the nature and breadth of friendship because I have never had a great deal of them.  A loner by nature I used to have them one at a time  and to be frank they had to be fairly big hearted people to put up with me.

In my truest and most basic form, I can be a neglectful friend.  I won’t call.  I won’t plan anything.  I won’t go somewhere even if invited.  Spent a lot of time at home alone in my room.  I had a great friend named Kay, though, in my early years who was a friend in the most extreme sense of the word.  She tolerated me warts and all.  She would push to make me go out.  She knew me, and didn’t take it personally when I’d say ‘no I don’t want to go’.  My mother loved her for that, as did I.  The Kay Factor was an important part of my upbringing.  She kept me closer to normal than I ever would have been without her.

Always had one brave soul who would put up with me through the years. Janice, Trisha, Colleen  and Deborah, each during separate periods of my life, took care of me for years at a time. They got me too. By the way my mother thinks this is another of my huge short comings.  I usually have one friend at a time.  Not on purpose but just because I am not out going.  I am doing better these days, I really am but Duchess doesn’t believe me!

My mother’s lack of confidence in me in this regard, notwithstanding, I maintain that I have, in fact, gotten better.  I actually called Kay and two other friends when I went home (I usually don’t do that)  We made plans to get together.  One of them made it for a place closer to them but Kay – knowing full well I would not have gone – got everything re arranged so they would come to me.

And you also know that I’ve talked about V a lot lately.  Two kindred souls – two homebodies trying to create a social life.  I have another, D. who knows just how nuts I am and enjoys getting me through the rough spots.

Anyway, my own failures in this arena and a few conversations with the ever rational and extraordinarily emotionally acute Duchess makes me say this.   People are people whether they are your friends or not.  Some people are weak and/or needy in a way that makes them do or say certain things that may not be what you want in a friend.  You take your friends for who they are and you can’t take their weaknesses personally.

Now if they are doing things to you.  If they are a constant source of irritation.  If they are undermining you or eyeing your man . . . clearly they need to go.  But flashes of jealousy or moments of inconsideration, those things usually have more to do with who they are they how much they care for you.  My friend Kay got that and we have been friends for 40 years.

I have also had a friend or two who have been jealous of me and every once in a while it would pop up as an insult or a cutting statement.  But overall they were cool and you just can’t define yourself by others insecurities.  Nor can you jettison every friend you have that has a wart or two.

Now with respect to the woman who asked the question, I do not know just how bad her friends are treating her.  But if you have a lot of something others want (And I must say a loving 28 year relationship is such a great thing a whole lot of people would be jealous of it) you have to be ready for a little of that.  And as long as it’s not a constant pervasive part of the relationship you have to ask yourself is what I am getting out of the relationship worth this small irritation?   Is your relationship adding more to you than it’s taking away?  Are you a friend to them by being understanding of their shortcomings and simple humanity?

So after all of that my answer is this:
Just because a friend is not a perfect friend does not mean they aren’t a true friend.

If that weren’t the case, I would have no friends at all.

Nothing on this earth is perfect.  Nothing.  Understanding human nature frees you from the small insults and injuries of the works in progress we all are.  My mother rarely gets her feelings hurt even when folks have said some pretty hurtful things to her.  He response is always.  “I know why she said it.  I understand her. That comes from . . . ” then she would fill in the blank with a story about where that person has been hurt or is week.  (MMR 37)

Now this doesn’t mean you should hang around people who take joy in trying to make you feel bad.  It just means you have to balance and understand.  You must also be cognizant of
your own weaknesses and see how they may pop up and pop your friends on occasion.  None of us is perfect.
Like Duchess says “I wear my knowledge of people like a suit of armor. Words can not hurt me.”
For what it’s worth.
Here is a grainy out of focus picture I took with Kay last week when I went home:

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