I recently posted a FaceBook status that reads:
“It’s interesting when you realize just how many people you talked to/were friends with when you were younger that decided you were just another face in the crowd they could forget and now they have to interact with you. It always makes for some nice awkward encounters. Word to the wise? Maybe be a genuine friend or just don’t invest time in people. This way it won’t be awkward in the future. #donotbeafakefriend”
This is a good lesson for anyone to learn, but I am about to focus mainly on my faith. If no one knew this, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. With this comes a lot of close-knit community ties. We have a tighter community than most other religions. Especially with the fact that we don’t necessarily “choose” where we go to church, but rather go to a specific building based on where we live. Not only is it the building that an area is assigned to, but different sections of the area go to the church building at a specific time.
In Utah, this topic may not be a thing seeing as there truly is a church on almost every corner, but in Texas, this is absolutely a real occurrence. Especially when you reach cities that are even slightly more city than suburb. Even 45 minutes away from a major city deals with the tiny close-knit community that Mormons/LDS members are known for.
However, it’s not even home wards that we are dealing with here, it’s YSA’s (Young Single Adult wards and branches). If you thought the way we did Sunday services was strange, you’re gonna get a real kick out of this one. Outside of Utah and Idaho, we don’t really have multiple YSA’s for each stake. We, more than likely, have one.
And this brings me back to my main point. Do not be a fake friend.
When we are younger, we have the chance to meet people in our area and age group in the church at various activities and we 0ften become friends with many people this way. The only caveat here is that many young members of the church will simply tolerate people that they wouldn’t want to be friends with outside of these activities. Thus, when college hits everyone goes their separate ways, UNLESS they continue to live in the same city that they grew up in.
This is because they now begin going to the YSA branch/ward in their area and now have to encounter those people again on a regular occurrence–even more than they had before as children.
This is not an issue for everyone, but this can be one for many because they have chosen to ignore those they “befriended” as young children because they, at the time or later, thought they were “too churchy”, “too weird”, “not cool enough”, or even “merely tolerable”. (This list doesn’t end. People have endless reasons for dropping someone and ignoring them completely–This isn’t only in the LDS community. It happens with EVERYONE.)
What drove me to write about this is that I now have an assignment where I have to interact with one of these “friends” from my childhood each month who I suppose was never truly a friend. It wouldn’t be weird if the person in question hadn’t continually ignored me as an adult and pretended like I didn’t exist. However, because they did this it will make interacting with them that much more awkward. I had made the effort to reach out to them as I was at school and such and they, countless times, ignored me.
Y’all may be thinking “oh she’s just butthurt that this happened to her…”, “she shouldn’t have tried…”, “only she would be affected by this…”, “it’s all in her head…”, “this isn’t really happpening to her…” but all of those phrases are so far from the truth.
If the person in question hadn’t been friends with me when we were young children there would be no issue and this would be another instance where I get to meet a new person, but because I’ve known them for over 15 years, have known what they went through, and have seen how far they’ve come without them even thinking that I might be a friend, this is going to be awkward. And it probably won’t be awkward just for me.
I can guarantee you that the second they realize that I was one of the people they knew as a child whom they often spent time with they will feel the awkwardness.
This is not a post where I am asking you to pity me or help me wallow in my sorrow, but this is a post where I am asking you to please, PLEASE, please be genuine. I cannot express how much I hope everyone takes this and decides to be a genuine individual and friend. It is hard to realize how important it is when we are young, but as we grow older we need to recognize that nobody has time for fake friends. Nobody has time to be fake. No one has time to even think about being fake. Genuine is where it’s at. This is the only type of friend ANYONE should be. And the only type of friend that I intend to be. I will interact with this person just as I would with any of my close friends. I will continue to love them and reach out to them, no matter what because I truly care about them and I hope, more than anything, that I can make a difference in their life.
These are my thoughts on this topic, I hope y’all have thoughts to share with me as well because I love to hear stories and comments from people.
Fare thee well!!