“What is a friend? A single soul, dwelling in two bodies” – Aristotle
Funny thing friendship, some friendships endure the test of time and last a lifetime while others wither and fade away, some slowly, some quite abruptly. Just as friendships begin under a variety of circumstances and for any number of reasons, the can also end for a variety of reasons, jealousy, anger, trust issues, back-stabbing, the list goes on and on.
Sometimes friends simply outgrow each other. People change, what they once shared in common passes and there is no longer anything to bind them. At times, distance can ends friendships or at least lessens their importance. Miles can create a great divide between even the best of friends and in time the friendship erodes until one day it is only a shadow of what it once was. It moves from frequent phone calls and planned visits, to a yearly Christmas card and an occasional call. Soon the likelihood of getting together becomes more and more remote, still life goes on.
Of course with today’s technology we can keep in contact with friends via computer through email, Skype and social networks like Facebook, Twitter and a host of others, but even so long distance friendships seem to wane in much the same way as long distance romances.
Back in the day, which in this case is pre-1988, the year commercial email became available, people would actually sit down and write letters to friends then use snail mail to have them delivered. Today letter writing is a dying art. Fewer and fewer people actually sit down to write letters longhand. With our busy lives, who has the time? Soon snail mail will go the way of the dinosaur, and the US Postal Service will cease to exist, a casualty of the electronic age. Goodbye old friend.
Friendships means different things to different people. For most of us friendship has to do with companionship. We all want friends who shares a common interest, similar likes and dislikes, and someone we can do and share things with. Most friendships begin here and some never progress much past this point. These friends are more likely acquaintances, still friends but to a lesser degree. rather than true friends.
A true friendship is a deeper relationship based on trust that requires us to take a chance on possibly getting burned. It is unconditional and requires unselfishness, respect, honesty genuine care and concern, forgiveness and making ourselves available so that we can be there for one another. We should treat a friend the same way we ourselves would like to be treated. And even when someone you consider a true friend doesn’t treat you as you believe you should be treated you should still treat them with kindness and concern because you just can’t know what has happened to them that is making them behave badly towards you. More than likely they are probably hurting and aren’t really looking to hurt you. Might be just the right time for a kind word or two. Easier said than done, right? But no one ever said friendships would be easy to maintain. If you truly value your friendship, it’s worth the effort.
We all have an unpleasant memory or two of a time when we needed a friend and they let us down and weren’t there for us. And we’ve all had so called ‘good’ friends talk badly about us behind our back. Perhaps they didn’t live up to our expectations and simply weren’t as good of friends as we believed them to be, oh well, it happens. Or maybe, just maybe it wasn’t them at all and the fault lies with us and the type of friend we were to them. Just saying… Remember friendship is a two way street, don’t take your friendships for granted, treat your friends as you would like them to treat you.
At 60 I’m blessed to still have friendships that began as far back as grade school. Of course there are only a handful that I see on an ongoing basis but when we do get the opportunity to see the others, it’s as though no time has passed at all and we pick up right where we left off the last time we saw each other. It’s pretty incredible! But that’s what true friends do. With true friends there are no expectations. It’s like Henry Ford once said “My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.”
We all want to have good friends but the quality of those friendships is totally dependent on us. Having good friends is not a matter of convenience on your part, in fact sometimes it can be quite inconvenient. It is our willingness to be there for our friends not only in good times but in their darkest moments as well. that is the true test of friendship. Remember you only get what you give, so to have good friends in our lives we need to be good friends in return.
Just a thought…