It is not often that I am disappointed by a friend, or rather “allow a friend’s action to get me down” but sometimes it does happen, and I find it important to reflect on it, delve a little deeper into it…What is the true meaning of friendship?
When it comes to friendship, my dad is someone that has really lived by example and has been a great model for me.
He knows how to be a true friend and because of it, he has a good number of loyal friends that would give their life for him. He often says 2 things about friendship that I find very profound and true, and I want to share them with you today.
When a friend has asked my dad a favor or something that he might not be too keen on doing, he has done it anyway, and when I asked him why, he has simply said: honey, these are the requirements of friendship, that is to say, in order to have true friends, you need to make certain efforts on your part.
Another great thing my dad has always said is that in friendship (as in any other close relationship for that matter) the most important thing is not to “give” the other something, but rather to “give oneself” to the other. This means that giving your friend a present or letting them use your car when you don’t need it, is good but not as important as BEING there for them, knowing how to truly listen to them, giving your time to them (even when they are not an enjoyable company,) giving something to them that may require an extra effort for you. Being a friend is not always supposed to be easy and enjoyable!
Being there for a friend or giving them something when it inconveniences you is much more meaningful that hanging out with them for fun or doing them a favor that doesn’t inconvenience you in any way…
Of course, those friends that like to hang out with you when you are having fun, are cool! but those who are by your side even when you are no fun, those who stick by you in your darkest moments (when you most need them,) those are real friends. As the saying goes:
“Hard Times will Always Reveal True Friends”
Let’s be honest, probably most of us only have a few friends we can call our real friends, the rest of them are more like acquaintances, and it is nice to have both, but it is important to know the difference, so you are not disappointed when you realize that someone you thought was a real friend, isn’t really more than an acquaintance and therefore will not go the extra mile for you.
It is true that we are not always able to help our friends in the way they may need, but having an honest willingness to help and doing ALL we can is good enough. There are certain times you may not be able to do do what they need, even if you try, and if they are your true friends, they will understand that!
But don’t be confused, there are things that you certainly CAN do, but are not willing to… or are too lazy to… NOW that is different, that means you are NOT willing to go the extra mile, and therefore you are not being a true friend.
Now, how exactly do we build and nourish our friendships? What determines the meaning we give to friendship?
Different cultures attach different meanings to friendship, I know for instance that in the latin culture, friends may seem a lot more intrusive and demanding than in other cultures, which can be good or bad. There are cultures in europe where it is incredibly hard to make new friends, but when you make a friend, they are with you for life, because they see friendship as a very solid commitment and take it very seriously, and there are cultures like the US where you can make friends everywhere you go, and you call everyone your friend, but only a tiny percentage of all those “so-called friends” are true friends and are really committed to you.
Your family of origin also influences to a great extent the way in which you build your closest relationships and how deep they are, and that includes friendships of course.
Deep down, the only way to have real friends is to be one yourself, so you need to be aware of your limits and willingness when it comes to be there for a friend…ask yourself how far are you willing to go for them? how much are you willing to give yourself? your time? your effort? How committed you are to the friendship?
To me a friend means a lot more than someone I hang out with every now and then and do something fun with. A true friend means someone you can count on for anything and anytime, someone you deeply trust, someone you can call in the middle of the night if you need to, someone you feel free to be vulnerable with, someone who knows your dark side as well as the bright.
I do believe that life is made of relationships, after all humans are social creatures, so it is important to relate to others wherever we go and to have all sorts of people in our lives, but it is equally important to be clearly aware of who your true friends are. Maybe those times when you are not sure about a friend, the only way to find out is by giving them a chance to step up, and if they don’t, then you know they are in a different category, which doesn’t mean you need to take them off your life all together! it just gives you more clarity.
However, if you are very often disappointed by your friends, or find that you don’t have any true friends, maybe you should look inside and find out what kind of a friend you are? what does friendship really mean to YOU?
Have a Great Week!