Today a conversation prompted me to start thinking about the influences that my friends bring into my life and how those influences have changed who I am. When I think of the many friends I have had throughout my life, I start to see patterns in my own behavior. There have been times in my life when I was definitely hanging with the wrong crowd. I think that when I am around them, I allow them to influence my general tendency to be happy in life.
Right now, for instance, the friend that I spend the most time with has a bit of a drinking problem (not that I have a problem with drinking, just that with her it is excessive). Her husband is bi-polar and very dependent on a certain illegal drug. They also have a pretty explosive marriage and kids with various emotional problems. We hang out at their house almost every weekend and I find it to be a depressing environment. I love my friend and think that she is a really great person, but sometimes it gets hard for me to be there because it brings me down. Yet, when they invite us over I can’t say no because I think that Hubby and I bring a sense of normalcy and stability to their otherwise chaotic lives. They refer to us as their best (and only) “normal” friends.
I know that being in this environment is not necessarily good for me. I let myself get sucked into it. I see my attitude and general disposition change when I am there and wonder if it contributes to my overall unhappiness in life. Hubby and I have always tried to be a positive influence when we are there but after a while it is hard not to just give up. I find myself not wanting to be around them as much anymore. I crave friendships that can bring a positive influence to my life rather than the negative one that I get there.
I remember what it was like to have that positive influence. Once upon a time I had some really great friends, who I looked up to like no other. They seemed to have the perfect marriage from what I could see. They had three beautiful children that I loved like my own. They were always encouraging me and my ex to be the best that we could be in life. Being around them just made me happy. There was always such a positive vibe with them. Even though they were quite a bit older than us, they treated us as equals and we always had a fun time together. Unfortunately, I lost my friends in the divorce and I miss them almost as much as I miss my ex-husband sometimes.
I hate to think that that friendship was one of a kind, but since then I have never been able to find anyone who has the same effect on my life. I have plenty of friends and aquaintences, but no one who really brings me up and just makes me feel loved they way that they did. Sometimes I wonder if it is just that I unintentionally push those people away. I wonder if those people stay away because they see the negativity in me.
I really wish I could find a way to erase that negativity and just be happy again. I want to find that positive influence that I so desperately need in my life. I just don’t know where to look.