It has been a while since my last post, and so much has happened, it is difficult to recap now. In a nutshell, one of the big things on my mind these past two months has been the definition of friendship.
In this day of the different categories of friends (family friends, Facebook friends, social media friends.. and others), I have often asked myself: Who would I want as a companion on a deserted island? Who is my BFF? Or my one true friend? Do I have one? After much introspection, my own answers surprised me.
For most people, this kind of sorting of relationships of a favored one versus the rest of the world begins at a young age. Parents (or sibling) fill this spot quickly as ones first friend, the one who catches us when we stumble or fall, holds our hand and tends to our boo-boos, helps us navigate everyday challenges, just to show us how we can make our life easy, become self-sufficient and complete. These are our first emotional mentors. The saying "give a man a fish vs teach a man to fish" becomes particularly true of these early friendships.
As we get older, we seek out these comforting and reliable patterns of friendships in other relationships. We look for them in our first BFF, our first crush, our first serious relationship and of course in our life partners.
I posed a simple question to a group of middle aged and older friends and many had anecdote worthy notes about what they were willing to do for their friends. Here are some treasured completions to: "Friends don't let friends..”
- walk around with really long chin hair.
- call an ex.
- speed date while intoxicated.
- put a dish on the table that hasn't been tasted.
- eat bland food.
- make fools of themselves.
- become a stranger.
- down - or conversely - battle alone.
While most of the early ones are simple things that can happen to anyone, day to day "duh-moments", there are a few somber ones – about treating your friends with the same respect you'd want for yourself, to be the extra eyes, ears, voice or emotional booster your friend really needs. Much like spouses who stick by their other half through thick and thin, good friends can do the same for you. They make sure they keep you out of trouble and of course help you out when you find yourself stuck. But this is assuming that everyone around us in this world is blameless, righteous and has scruples. We know the perfect world does not exist and it makes me want to add a slightly different completion to phrase.
"Friends do not put friends in harms’ way".
In these last few weeks, I have uncovered a handful of relationships that qualify as true friend - such a grateful discovery.
And then there are the rest.
Would you make a good friend to someone?
I hope you already are.