Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wise Choice

Several years ago, I began a friendship with a woman--mostly because we lived near one another. Each time I visited with her, I would come away exhausted and depressed. Having always been a glass-half-full kind of gal, I was frustrated that this woman was sucking my energy. I did not know what to do.

One day I was reminded that some friendships are poisonous. My mother always used to tell me that I had to be nice to everyone, but didn't have to be friends with everyone.

As my children get older, I have tried to drill into their little minds the importance of having good friends. I'm sure we have all watched people we love follow sad, pitiful, wasteful life paths because they were unwise in their choice of friends. I have also, like you, watched unstable, weaker people excel and thrive in their lives because they were following the example of stable, stronger friends. Friends make such a difference . . . such a difference.

The rule also applies to we grown-ups.

There are many valuable friends in my life. I have been blessed by consistent, good, kind people with whom I rub shoulders. Some I don't see for years at a time, others I see nearly every day. I would like to tell you a bit about one of them.

This is Betsy. (And her husband Abraham, but I'm going to highlight his remarkable woman in today's post.)
I met Betsy when we each had our first babies--sons. My husband had grown up with hers and had always been great buddies. There is this tricky thing when you are married, see. It can be hard to find couples that you both equally enjoy. My dear man wanted to get together with his childhood friend, so I agreed to have them over. I immediately fell in love with this friendly, kind, thoughtful girl. Justin was delighted. We now get together once or twice a year.

We lead remarkably similar lives and have remarkably similar goals. Conversation is stimulating and I always leave feeling encouraged; wanting to be my best self. Betsy introduced our family to Thomas Jefferson Education, the home schooling philosophy that we (generally) follow which has revolutionized our family life. We both struggle through the difficult task of not only feeding and clothing our children, but schooling them to boot. The only lulls in our conversations are to save one of the girls from the doom of, not one, but the combined strength of TWO big brothers or some other child-sized emergency. She loves being a mother and loves being a wife and doesn't feel that she is being robbed of anything by magnifying her career choice. She is sincere and confident. I'm tellin' ya'. She is good for me.

Some friends are indeed poisonous and others, like Betsy, are the cure for what ails you.


  1. it's the whole "be a fountain not a drain" thing that reminds me of who a good friend is...

    I have never had the problem (well maybe in junior high and grade school) with choosing draining friends...Joette is always impressed with my built in radar and how I can spend 10 or so minutes with someone and know if they will suck the life right out of me or not if I befriend them. My P blessing talks about "how the friends I "choose" to befriend, I will give my whole heart and soul to' so true- so therefore I don't have a lot of close close friends, but the ones I choose to be my close friends, I cherish dearly.

    I actually had a very dear friend from college- well we were also mission companions, but, I had to make one of the biggest choices of my life and let her go...she was a beautiful person yet I always felt guilt, pressure, and sorry around her- so with much thought I kindly let her know that we weren't going to be friends anymore. It was hard, but I felt the biggest relief of my life after that.

    good post...I am always on careful watch when it comes to the friends of my children- I don't care if I sound over protective- I figure I have until they are 8 to really train them to protect themselves from the people that will rob the life right out of them.

    I really need to buy that Thomas Jefferson book.

  2. Wow--Betsy sounds awesome!
    I hope I'm not the poisonous friend! ;)

  3. You are too kind. Our visit was too short but VERY enjoyable. Thank you for being an example to me. My kids keep talking about their fun time with your kids and wishing you were still here.
    Thank you for your kind words. You brought a tear to my eye.

  4. Ha, ha, Amy. There is not a negative thing about you . . .

    I don't believe the other woman has discovered my blog.

  5. I have decided that there are sometimes friends and all-the-time friends. Sometimes, I can take someone in small doses but not in daily huge gulps.

    Good post - it is definitely hard to find husband/wife combinations that work well. We have basically solved it by being too busy to have friends at all. (Only kind of joking at this point in life - we are friends with our YSAs & the other baseball/soccer parents.)

  6. Emily----
    YOU are that kind of friend to me. Ever since I met you! Wish we lived closer!

  7. I know what you mean about The Energy Sucker friend. I dropped one a few years ago, but happened onto another one. Every call turns into a 20-minute monologue about every last thing that is wrong with her life. But our kids are friendly, so I am pleasant. But distant. I wonder if she's noticed yet how little she knows about me? 'Cause I rarely get a word in. But it's for the best!

    Hang onto Betsy. I could use a Betsy. Betsy's are rare and precious! Good on ya for recognizing and treasuring such a wonderful find!


  8. Emily, We Love you Guys, and we loved hanging with the Sanders Fam!!, Emily, are incredibly HEALING to Betsy as well. And I know this is true because of how Betsy feels towards me after a REALLY good chat with you. So thank you from a husband who cannot also be one of my wife's very, Very, VERY best (girl) friends.....and that is just fine with me.

    Also, I completely agree that the 2-couple great friendship is very hard to come by, so we are very grateful to have you guys in our lives.