Phriends or Friends

No, that is not a typographical error in the title.  It’s one of the many life lessons my mother taught me. There are friends and then there are phriends. She also said there is family and then there is phamily. You know the type; they only come around when they need/want something or when it’s just damn well good for them.

There is a song “You find out who your friends are.” Its words are true. I think we are all guilty of keeping some of those phriends in our lives, despite that we know in our heart of hearts we would be there for them anytime they needed us; we also know that is not a two way street in that phriendship.

When Jack left, and even though I fought for the marriage, I told him, I am starting a new path, a new chapter in my book of life. You are more than welcome to come with me, we can do this together or I will do it alone.  He made his choice not to; and I set out on my new journey in life. In that new journey I have ridded him and some those phriends in my life.

If you are on Facebook I am sure you have seen the images of sayings like wish real life had a delete and block button. Guess what people….it does it’s called “I’m not putting up with being treated this way.” It’s called “I deserve better.” There’s your delete and block button in life. I kind of laugh at people who get all spastic over deleting someone on the Facebook, or they feel obligated to accept a friend on Facebook even though they don’t like them. Not me, if I don’t like you, I don’t feel obligated to accept you as a friend. People from school or classmates,  I give the benefit of the doubt, just because we may not have hung out in school or we had problems when we were in school doesn’t necessarily mean you get an automatic decline. I use Facebook a lot and if people don’t like what I post, or the frequency of my posts, guess what….there’s a delete button, you are not going to hurt my feelings. Some of my friends on Facebook we don’t talk all that much to one another.  But I like being able to be a part of their lives, watching their kids grow up or the silly pictures of their kids, animals or they post a status they are having a bad day, or something happened; it’s important to them. Whether it’s being a friend in person or only being able to catch up with the friends I have on Facebook I hope they know that I am still their friend. I have a few people on my friend list that I have never even met. They are friends of other people and we have a good time yucking it up on Facebook.

Shortly after Jack left, I de-friended some people in my life. Not because of Jack but because I no longer was willing to A) be used; B) put up with their damn drama. In the beginning I felt bad, I don’t like to be that person. Once it was done and the lines severed, it was like a weight had been lifted.  When you make that sever, you realize life is better without these types of people. The person is not a friend if they go through your phone and tell their friends in the neighborhood about the texts you and your estranged husband are exchanging, in the heat of it all, when emotions are high. That was my final straw with one of these people in my life. When that came back to me, despite it coming through a different source that told me (I had de-friended this person’s source, a long time ago), I no longer wanted that person in my life. I had backed off the friendship a little bit over the years because this person time and time again would prove that it wasn’t a friendship it was a phriendship, then it was just she was my neighbor. I saw the trend long ago, which she only came around when she wanted something. If she offered to do something for you, you found out real quick you had to pay her back. I don’t work like that. If I go to a yard sale or out somewhere and I see something that I think a friends child would like or that friend will like or they said they needed something like that, if I have the money and it’s not outrageously priced I would get it for them and just show up and “Hey was at (such and such) picked this up for you.” I am not expecting that friend to pay me back. That’s not right. It’s different if you call up that person and say “hey I am at the store they have what we were talking about for the kids Christmas here and there aren’t many left. I can get it for you while I am right here, here’s the price.” Or “I am at the store do you need anything while I am here?”

My friends and also those phriends know the type of person I am. If I can do it for you, I will. I like helping others. My mother raised me to be charitable, kind etc. Don’t do things for people because you expect something in return.  Give to others when you can. It eventually comes back around. When I would help her pack up clothes to give to someone else, or if we would put together Christmas packages or bags of groceries together for someone, or cooking something for a family who had a loved one who passed away, I would ask as a little girl, “why are we doing this?” or  “why do people cook when people die or in the hospital?” The response was, generally because the family is going through a hard time right now, or the family has so much going on with making arrangements or they are back and forth to the hospital they don’t have time to make the meals. One day we might need someone’s help, and it may not be from the people we are currently helping but kindness and giving to others comes back to you when you need it.

Mom was right. The final trip home when mom took a turn for the worst the last thing on my mind was cooking. I will never forget the kindness of others who brought food to the hospital for us. It may have been just a cheese and cracker tray or snacks for the kiddos. One person brought Coloring Books and crayons for the kids, juice boxes and things to keep the kids occupie. It was greatly appreciated by me and the others in the family.  My first trip home a month and a half prior to mom passing away, the very first people who came to the hospital were my two best friends from school and my Mom#2 as I always called her. I will never forget that. They took the time, even though they were on their way to do something else, to stop by and just visit, see how I was doing and to see if I needed anything or if mom needed anything.

When mom died, the food came pouring in. The family and I didn’t have to cook meals for at least a week. Again it was appreciated.

I will never forget those people who gave my family kindness they didn’t have to give. One of my co-workers gave her bonus checks to me. She didn’t have to; her family probably needed it as well.

Going through this divorce and Jack not helping me financially with the kids, several people have  said, “if you need anything you let me know. I don’t care if it’s groceries, light bill or gas money. Let me know,” Some just went and did it. Even strangers helped. If it weren’t for the kindness of a group of strangers my kids wouldn’t have had a Christmas. One day I showed up at work and everyone had pitched in and had a stockpile of groceries for me. It was embarrassing and I felt like a failure. (Laughing) I found out I like being the giver not receiver. I also was in the shoes of others I had helped over the years. They too probably felt embarrassed, shame or that they too were a failure when going through what they were going through. That humble pill is sometimes hard to swallow. Some of the ones that have helped me had been in my shoes; they were single mothers, raising the kids, working and the fathers weren’t helping them out financially as well. Some knew others who had gone through the same thing and saw firsthand the difficulties the single mother had. The kindness hasn’t always been monetary; sometimes the greatest kindness is listening or being that shoulder to cry on.

Some people do not believe in karma; I do. Just because I am going through a tough time right now, doesn’t mean I have done something to deserve this. Sometimes life throws us tough knocks to remind us how strong and resilient we are. Things happen for a reason. I truly believe there was a reason why my mother died before my marriage ended. Obviously, I didn’t see this at the time. Hind sight I see it clearly. I also didn’t realize during the time of my mother’s passing, I had actually started to change the course of the direction I was going.  When did I realize this change of course had taken place? Four to five years after my mom died, when Jack left.  I had tried for a year after he left to come him to back into the marriage. The more I talked about what went on in the marriage, whether it was in a therapist office or with friends, the more I realized Jack was no longer a person I was willing to keep in my life anymore. He had shown me for years the type of person he truly was; I just wasn’t willing to see it and I saw it sadly at the worst time in my life. He showed me who he truly was.

Those years of sleeping alone night after night; insults whether made directly or indirectly; him going off and doing whatever with his buddies; or being so highly insensitive to my feelings, thoughts, goals; were nothing compared to what he displayed when I found out my mother was sick with breast cancer and most especially when I needed to go home to help her and then finally that last drive home when she was dying and I wasn’t sure if we were going to make it in time. It’s not that I didn’t point it out to him, he just flipped the blame onto me and I believed him for a long time. It wasn’t until a year ago through talking with others, through processing it all that I realized; it was him. Unfortunately, I allowed it to happen. I allowed him to make me feel inadequate. When you hear it so much, one starts to believe it’s true.

Have you noticed those negative friends you have around you, their negativity starts to rub off on you? People who are in our lives constantly, we begin to mirror. This doesn’t just happen with our children; this happens to adults too. How many times as a child did you hear from your parents when hanging around a particular friend you may have seen them talk to their parents a certain way, and well you tried it. Did your parents set you back a notch? I know my mom sure did. I’ve said the same thing to my two children.   There are some kids in the neighborhood my children are not allowed to interact with. I’ve sent a few children home in my days as a parent. I am sure I will send a few more home, in the days to come.

I’ve seen also Jack’s way is rubbing off on our son. I am not thrilled about it. I can’t talk to Jack about it because he feels it’s not wrong and I, at this time refuse to talk to him because it doesn’t matter what I say, he will belittle and talk to me like I am an idiot. In Jack’s mind he is right and everyone else is wrong. So there is no sense talking to him, all I can do is instill in my son that bullying, belittling, talking down to people, and judging people is not the way to go. It’s not acceptable in my house. I get onto both of my children for how they treat one another and their friends.

The Phriend or Friend is a tough lesson to learn for all of us. Sometimes we honestly do not know who our friends are until the shit hits the fan in our lives. While you may drop everything or close to everything for them in their time of need; when it comes to you, truly needing your friends, take a look around you and see who is standing beside you.

For me I would rather discover that those people are Phriends rather than Friends. I won’t allow my heart to harden because of the select few. However, I proceed with caution even more so now because of it.


“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” – George Santayana

“True friendship comes when silence between two people is comfortable.” – Dave Tyson Gentry

“Your friend is the man who knows all about you, and still likes you.” –Elbert Hubbard

“Never do a wrong thing to make a friend o keep one.” – Robert E. Lee

“In time of prosperity friends will be plenty

In time of adversity not one among twenty.” –John Ray