One is silver and the other’s gold.

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I’ve been a silent observer of life and its many fascinating facets since the moment I was given eyes to see. One of the most intriguing, and I must admit confusing, aspects of it all is friendship, at least for myself. I’ve come to the conclusion having a small, if not very small, close-knit group of like-minded, yet diverse friends is a satisfying and healthy alternative to the dramatic realm of all that comes with maintaining a rather large grouping of friends.

I’m not what you would call a social butterfly, I’m not even a social caterpillar. I’ll stay right here in my cozy little cocoon thank you. It’s not that I don’t desire friendship or that I shun it when it is offered, I simply don’t seem to fit into many of the molds people think friends should fit into. I don’t care to talk on the phone, I don’t care to go shopping and I don’t care to go out with anyone but my husband or an occasional date with one of my kids.

Many of the women I meet have younger children, my days of parks and play dates have passed. My children face challenges a lot of people either cannot or do not want to understand. Being an autism mother sets you apart from the crowd much of the time. I don’t mind, they say good friends are hard to find, and they are, especially when your life is filled with the trials and triumphs that come along with having special needs children.

Throughout my life I haven’t had many friends, just a select few, including my mother, the best friend I could have ever hoped for. The treasured few friends I have in this life are far in distance, but close in heart. I have mostly memories and mementos I treasure, remembrances of the friends I have been blessed with in this life. Truthfully, I’ve always kind liked it that way. I never thought I needed anything more.

I wasn’t looking when new friendship found its way to me, I was hesitant at first to open myself up to a group of new people, I will forever be thankful I did. Before I met them I used the internet for research, for fun and distraction, now, it is my lifeline to old friends and new.

Like I said, being a mother with special needs children makes for difficult connections sometimes. I found myself in an online group, an autism support group. I thought if anything, I could help others who were following the same path I had traveled since my children were born. I never expected to find support or encouragement for myself, I only wished to give it.

What I found was unexpected and amazing. They embraced me and drew me in, we became a family as we pointed and clicked our way forward. I will never have words enough to thank them for being there for me when I didn’t know I needed them to be. That was years ago, they are still there for me as I am for them. It’s a different kind of friendship, we don’t hang out or have weekend barbeques. We don’t power walk at the mall or go for coffee in the afternoons, but we are always a click away from each other. In recent months, I have found myself immersed with and surrounded by another bastion of new characters I think safe to call my friends.

For me, this beautiful, distant connection is perfect. I am not like most women. I do believe friendship is a wonderful thing, in moderation.

I am not one of those women who have a phone directory filled with names and numbers of people I like, don’t like, tolerate, get the good gossip from, always asking for favors or any of the other unknown reasons women flock together for. I’d blame it on my years of being a military wife, seeing people come and go in and out of our lives, but I know it has nothing to do with that. I was like this even as a small child. I wasn’t anti-social, I just preferred my books. I would rather sit down and write a story than go out and ride bikes on most days.

I’ve always held tight to my beliefs and stood strong on my convictions and that hasn’t changed, but it has changed the people who choose to stay in my life. I have high standards when it comes to the people I allow in. I’m not referring to social status, financial brackets, looks, background, race or religion. I am talking about character and I have found a lot of people just don’t have any.

I want friends who are notย afraid to disagree with me and still stand beside me regardless of our differences. I want friends who will give as much as they receive and I want friends who will accept me for who I am just as I would accept them. I want real friendships, friends who do not pretend to be one person in front of me and then another in front of someone else.

It seems to me, through observation, people tend to change ever so slightly (some not so slightly) when in the company of varying friends. I find it odd to watch the dynamics which take place within large groups of friends. Too often I see underlying jealousy or subtle sabotage taking place. I see heartache and desperation when one is wronged and the others are left not knowing which side to cling to. It’s all a bit too much for me.

I do not easily open up and trust, when I do, it is wholeheartedly. I have been hurt because of this, but I have also been blessed with the purest of friendships because of it. I don’t know when or where my next friend will cross my path, I do not know if it will be a forever friendship or a wonderful passing gift. I am not in a hurry to welcome new people into my heart, but if someone comes along who can measure up to those who have come before her, I will with open arms. She will have big shoes to fill for they have been well-worn by angels.

Crystal R. Cook

13 thoughts on “One is silver and the other’s gold.

  1. Oh, I just loved this, Crystal. When I was younger, I wanted to be liked by everyone, so I was a social chameleon changing with the company I kept. As I grew into myself, and learned to trust my heart, I realized that not everyone will like me and that’s okay. The people I am blessed to walk out this life with know me in the very deepest sense that one can. And I don’t need to be a chameleon because I am accepted and loved for who I am and also for who I’m not.

    There will never be another me, just like there will never be another you.
    Here’s to being authentic.
    And to calling authenticity that Home.

    With heart & thanksgiving,
    Dani

    Liked by 1 person

    • Who we really are is almost always the best version ~ I need to be true to myself and admire and appreciate others who are as well. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and respond to so much, you’ve blessed me and made my heart smile. I’m thankful to the authentic you ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am just commenting to let you know I came back and read every word of this.

    Not much to add or otherwise say about it. We’re in the same boat, or on the same page at least, with the trust and online friendships, I think.

    Don’t totally shut new people out, but don’t make it too easy, either. The internet is a bit of a wild west scenario.

    I do have a contact or two you might like to know about, if you do not already, though ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

    • It sort of relieves me, and shocks me a little if I am honest, (and I try my best to be), to think of you as anything less than a social-cyber-butterfly of sorts ๐Ÿ™‚ It makes me feel a little less awkward to know, so thank you kindly for that!

      Don’t shut ’em all out or make it too easy. Got it. Good advice I will certainly remember.

      I am cautiously excited to make contact with new folks, especially if they come from one of what I have gleaned to be one of the good guys ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • The social butterfly thing is something I have learned because my job requires me to do a lot of public speaking and I am trying hard to use the Internet to make a lot of real friends, even if I never meet most of them.

        I tend to introversion and I am not so assertive with people I just met in real life. It takes me three conversations to get comfortable enough to just be myself. Two years ago, I could barely even say “good morning” to a passing stranger on the street.

        You and I are lucky because we met in the service of a good cause, and people I already trusted were interacting with you, so we were able to dispense with a lot of the uncertainty.

        And I do try to be one of the good guys ๐Ÿ™‚

        Like

  3. Another great perspective Crystal. I remember a uni lecturer saying once that we invite people into our lives for a reason. I have many ‘friends’ but only a handful of close friends that I trust. Many of my friends serve purposes only known to me (and I don’t mean that in a nasty way at all). Whilst this can be seen as slightly narcissistic, the reality is that we all do it.
    For me there is a whole spectrum of friendships. Some friends are always there, such as old high school friends and you know there is a comfort factor there that makes interacting with them easy. I have some that I go to when I need an ego boost or a pick me up. I know that they admire and/or respect me and as a result they are good for my ego. Others are simply acquaintainces that I enjoy spending time with, but in small doses or in certain situations. Lately, my friendships are revolving around babies and toddlers because of where I’m at with my family. There are definitely some in this group that I wouldn’t be friends with had I met them outside of being a mum. But you know what though. I’m ok with that and will roll with the friendships for as long as they continue to serve the purpose.
    I actually think it’s the same with online friends too. Just because I might connect with someone over a mutual interest or relate to someone about a particular topic doesn’t mean we hae to be BFFs. That’s the beauty of the internet – you take what you need and enjoy it whilst its there.
    I hope you enjoy the friendships that come your way in this blogging journey of yours… for however long they linger.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you . . . I am certainly enjoying the journey and as of yet, have not found any of the pitfalls or potholes I know are often hidden along the way.

      I may be referring back to your reply as a bit of a study guide, all of this friends and acquaintances stuff is new*ish* to me ๐Ÿ™‚

      Like

  4. Crystal, I could have written every blessed word of this myself. Every one. You just described me to a T. Perhaps that explains why we seem to have ‘clicked’ so quickly. Some people you just get.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I know I change slightly with dynamics – not any more than being aware of what different people respond to, and how they tick, and how best to approach them. Is it perhaps a little Machiavellian? Maybe. But it’s effective, and I don’t compromise my integrity to do it.

    i am who I am. I won’t be false. But I’m also highly self-edited.

    I *do* love the Oxford Comma though. And parentheses. And semi-colons.

    You have high standards for good reason. Don’t drop them.

    And friends online are WONDERFUL.

    Liked by 4 people

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