Advice on Cultivating Good Relationships in a New Country

Advice on Cultivating Good RelationshipsLeaving the emergency room in a cab, everyone starts speaking.

“Who was there when you got cut?”

“What did they do?”

I describe the event for the sixth time.

After washing away the blood on my shoes, I texted those friends that I cut my foot on glass, as a courtesy. Because good friends have the right to know about my personal wellbeing, or lack thereof.

I never expected two guy friends to rush down the street offering to carry me, and I didn’t need a bashed forehead in addition to a stinging foot. One person ran into two different 7-11 stores for bandages, but they only carried beer and antiseptic cream.

As I tell the story in the cab, everyone gets angry at a specific guy who stood by when I got cut. I sit by, amused, while snide comments fly around. “Everything is fine now,” I say.

“I can’t believe it.”

“You guys are here,” I say. “There’s nothing to be upset about. Except my luck.”

At this point I’m so tired that I stop using my sensibilities, and I get my phone out to text the guy they’re discussing, and also my dad. It’s daytime in Canada and he’s at work.

“Wait, you cut your foot in the middle of the night?”

Advice on Cultivating Good Relationships

Despite wrapping my foot in five feet of plastic before turning on the water, I feel liquid seeping in during my shower. I get out quickly and rip off the soaked bandage on my foot, bleeding through again.

It stings when I put weight on, but it would have to be scalding pain before I touch the prescribed painkillers.

I disinfect the cut and redress it while feeling like the luckiest girl in the city. The one who gets a glass cut just standing there on the street, but then an invitation to party with young doctors of the emergency room.

Except it turns out more like barging into a party to shove my foot in their faces when they can’t decide how to fix it.

Normally, I go for a run when I’m massively pissed. But my foot hurts.

Or I watch a movie. But my head hurts.

Or I might work on a side project. But again, head hurts, and I forget there’s a piano downstairs.

So I do laundry and text people.

I think.

I don’t quite remember anything except that it’s difficult to walk. Someone tells me to lay down, and in my head I say, what gives you the right to tell me what to do when you stood by when my foot got cut.

We should take it easy before it becomes too much.

Advice on Cultivating Good Relationships
A friend is someone you trust and respect, a person you enjoy spending time with.

If you put trust in people first, they will either trust you back, or turn away.

But at least you will know.

This is how I’ve found the people I trust most and have the deepest connections with, because people sense when you’re holding back. I always try to give, first.

But if you think about it, why would you hold back from your friends? If you can’t be your true, unabashed self in front of your friends, then you certainly aren’t being honest to yourself, because the friends you choose are a reflection of yourself and who you want to be.

The worst thing that can happen is if they laugh.

No, wait, the worst is if they lie– in which case you will be amused that they’ve lost a fabulous friend.

The person you trust most right now, probably trusts you back in a similar manner.

When I produce an event, of course there are contracts to sign, but beyond that, I trust that people will honour their side, even if our agreement isn’t based on cash. And most people do.

I can count on two fingers the number of people who have not, and it’s always been based on circumstance.

When I taught piano, I had a monthly pay schedule, but we didn’t live or die by it, and although there were no late fees, no one would’ve incurred them anyways.

I’m pretty tolerant, but there are some lines that people can never cross. I used to be allergic to confrontation, but when I think back on it, each time I’ve confronted someone, it turned out better than when swept under the rug.

So now I confront people when I care about our relationship or when an issue is bothering me longer than it should.

“If you were ignoring him the night you cut your foot,” my friend says, “why are you annoyed that he didn’t help you?”

“Because I liked him as a person,” I say. “I thought we could be friends, whether or not he lied to my face.”

The most valuable thing we can share with someone is our time. When we work and play, we are giving up time that we can never get back. And so, we should only be willing to spend time with people we respect. Some people aren’t worth your time nor the space in your head.

You are only as good as the company you keep.

With that being said, the one thing I seem to nail consistently is knowing how to find good friends everywhere I go.

Thank goodness.


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