Too often I speak with people who have been hurt and broken down by people they have called friends. They tell me stories of betrayal and deceit that hurt me to my soul. I watch their pain and disbelief as people they have trusted have broken their hearts. I am told of stories about how they were hurt by those they believed they could trust and depend on.
These stories bring on a sadness because I have been that person. I have been hurt and, truth be told, I have hurt. If you’re honest with yourself, you have been a bad friend too. I didn’t always know how to be a good friend and I didn’t always know what I needed in a friend. We’ve all heard the saying, “I’d rather have 4 quarters than 100 pennies” The older I get the more I understand.
Thank God for the growth.
Do you believe you have true friends? How do you know the difference between friends and acquaintances? Do you have a set criteria? Are your friendships based on longevity and obligation? What are some of the attributes of friendship? Or, do we just use the term too loosely.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to say ” that person is NOT your friend” and the recipient of my words sit back in shock and awe. They wonder, how that could be? They often try to convince me of the strength of their friendships by sharing how long they’ve known the person. They tell me how that person was there through a hard time that they had in their lives. How that person is always in their corner no matter what. They tell me that person is a good listener and they have so much fun together. Are those qualities of a good friend? Possibly, but certainly not exclusively.
Let’s go back over that list:
- I’ve known them forever.
- Is it possible that you’ve grown apart?
- They were with me during a hard time.
- One time does not always equal lifetime
- They are always in my corner
- Are they on your side even when you are wrong?
- They are a good listener
- Is it one sided? Do they gossip about you when you’re not around?
- We have so much fun together
- Is that ALL you do?
We have friends who have been in our lives for so long that we can’t possibly let them go even though we know damn well we have outgrown them or that they have different goals and aspirations than we do but, we hold on…
We have friends who smile in our faces and talk behind our backs. We don’t let them go because we have given them a title that somehow, we are afraid to erase so, we hold on…
We have relationships that are dysfunctional, and we cringe at the thought of spending time with them or we reject their phone calls. We normalize dysfunction because “you know how they are” so, we hold on
Please don’t let me get started on the people we call friends just because they cosign our bullshit. You know the kind of “friend” you call up late at night or wee hours in the morning to tell them about some mess you’re involved in or some bad choice you made and all they do is agree instead of telling you that you are dead wrong. Yup, we call those people friend, and that’s why we hold on
Have you ever had a “friend ” who only wants to talk to you when you are going through some ISH. They seem happiest when you are broken? And, as soon as you get on your feet, they are the first ones to through salt or discourage. They try to convince you the happiness won’t last, LET THEM BITCHES GO!
WHEW CHILE… let me ask for forgiveness in advance if I’m perceived as being negative. Quite the contrary. I have found some great friends and in turn I have learn to be one. I have learned to honor myself and honor the select few that I have given that title
Let me tell you something, you are doing yourself and that person a disservice if you don’t accept things at face value. You must honor yourself and be your own advocate. You must protect your peace and your energy. Be mindful of who you allow in your space. As an adult it is up to you to change anything that no longer serves you.
How do I define friendship? Well, it varies. What I can certainly tell you is that it is not based on obligation or longevity. It is not based on neediness or dysfunction.
Friendship (for me) is:
- being supportive
- being non-judgmental
- being honest and has the ability to tell each other when we are wrong
- able to be empathetic
- a good listener
- trustworthy and loyal
- dependable and has integrity
- fun to be around
Who are my friends?At this stage of my life, I am blessed to have true friends. Friends who have been around forever and who are new to the game. They are both younger and older. They are fun and know when to be serious. They listen but will also call me out if I’m wrong. They support my dreams and aspirations. They give me different perspectives and wrap their arms around me when I need it.
They are me!