Thursday, November 30, 2017

Bruni in the City: Friends Until the End…or Until Next Tuesday?

A Column by Christina Bruni
Breaking Up with Buddies is Hard to Do Too

Caroline was a daisy in my life—like a springtime flower that brought joy. She suddenly disappeared after a few years in the early 2000s under mysterious circumstances. Yes—I let her go without trying to get her back.

Carny was the college buddy whose friendship I chronicled in my memoir, Left of the Dial. We drifted apart after I was shunted into “the system” and didn’t get back together after that.

Margot—the mental health buddy also of Left of the Dial fame is still in my life though from afar. She lives in year-round sunshine and sends me postcards from her kitchen table.

Y. was the true-blue friend I bonded with for a number of years until, through my own doing, the friendship came undone. It’s possible that I failed to call her back when she invited me to dinner for my birthday. How’s that for a friend? 

I tell you loyal readers: no matter what’s going on in your life, reach out to a person who reaches out to you. Make the effort instead of thinking of yourself. Don’t send them a cheery refrigerator magnet in the mail one year later and think that suffices.

My friendship with Y. ended in January 2007 because of my own actions. As if my antics before then weren’t enough, she, like all my friends from the taupe 1990s is gone.

My friend DJ is a forever-friend even though I haven’t seen him in years. He was my Best. Friend. Ever. Still is. He moved to Atlantic City.

My “five friends theory” goes like this: you can count on one hand the number of good friends most people have. I have three friends hovering in my life now.

We should all run far away from negative people who tend to bring us down. I call them energy vampires.

DJ and I once sat in a Vietnamese restaurant in Bay Ridge. He told me: “You and I see things differently. We think differently.” 
Break bread with people. I’m able to relate to people from different walks of life. I don’t care about age or race or income. In this way, a person’s status in society doesn’t matter to me. I’ve had friends of all stripes and I will continue to have friends of all stripes. You have to see beyond appearance and listen to people and understand them. We’re all human beings doing the best we can with what we’re given. On the inside, where it counts, a lot of us are hurting. See what you can do to lighten another person’s load.
Envy serves no purpose except to make you miserable and keep you stuck. Other people have been turned off when I tell them I’m a librarian and own a co-op. As soon as I say this, they refuse to meet me.

C’mon, it’s 2017. We should be honoring and embracing each other’s individuality. It matters only whether a person is kind and caring, not whether they have something that you don’t have. Focus on going after what you can do and be and have in your life.
Truly, I’m most happy hanging out with other creative people, whether it’s hosting a dinner party in my apartment or meeting others at a poetry reading.

My artist’s statement is written thus: I act as a Chief Joy Officer to create things of beauty to share with others to make them feel good.
The more you can spread good vibes, the better you’ll be able to attract great friends into your life. You deserve to have a life of meaning.

In the end, each of us has to be a good friend to ourselves even when other people aren’t kind to us. It comes down to having self-compassion so that we can have compassion for other people.
What matters most is that each of us has the grace of kindness to shower the people we meet with love. Love is all you need—it’s so true. And it’s what the world needs now more than ever.

We should love our friends and be happy they’re in our lives. For as long as our friends are here we should be grateful. We should let them go when they’re supposed to leave.

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