Gretchen Rubin wrote in The Happiness Project about the year she spent “test-driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from popular culture about how to be happy.” The Puppiness Project is my attempt to learn the same from Honey, my Golden Retriever.
Honey picks her friends well.
Honey is a lovely hostess. She has welcomed each foster puppy who has come to our home with enthusiasm. But our latest, Eddie, wasn’t too interested in her friendly overtures.
They’d occasionally touch noses. But generally, Eddie wanted human attention, not Honey’s.
I was very proud of Honey. She’d play bow and frolic and flirt. But once it became obvious to her that Eddie wasn’t interested, she saved her efforts. She became content to sit gently by his side without begging for his attention.
The right level of friendship.
As an extrovert, like Honey, I want everyone to be my friend. When I encounter a toxic person, that trait causes me lots of trouble.
But even perfectly nice people can throw me off balance.
One friend is cool and interesting. But this friend also has a volatile temper. And I’m very sensitive to bad moods. Although I enjoy this friend on a good day, I have been emotionally devastated when I found myself the subject of a random tirade.
Another friend is also smart and witty. But I feel like the relationship is unbalanced. It feels like I give a lot but don’t feel very encouraged by my friend in the same way I try to offer support.
I benefit from both these friendships. But I need to learn not to chase so hard after the affection of people who, by their actions, are less interested in mine. If, after play bowing a few times, I don’t feel my friendship is reciprocated in a way that enriches my life, I’ll touch noses and just sit by their side.