I was recently witness to the unfolding of one of those ugly parts of life when one person thought something was happening only to be informed later by a “friend” that they really weren’t part of the decision to begin with.
This led to feelings of betrayal, rejection, and aloneness. People who were supposed to be friends turned out to be selfish, judgmental, and oblivious to the pain they were causing.
Life isn’t fair.
That’s a plain and simple fact.
It can be a tough lesson for some to learn as they navigate through personalities, insecurities, and communication break downs.
What does it mean to you to be a friend? Are you a good one?
It sounds like an easy question but the fact of the matter is that the word and sentiment behind it, means something different to every person and varying degrees of loyalty plays a huge part of how successful or meaningful a friendship is.
Any definition of friend or friendship speaks of common interests, a mutual affinity to spend and share time together, a sense of trust, of being accepted without judgement, and a feeling of being truly cared for. Your friend is your ally and you watch each other’s backs.
One thing that you have to keep in mind is that there are degrees of friendship and if you and your friend aren’t thinking in the same extent of allegiance it can make for misunderstandings, resentment, and toxicity.
Friendship is one of those things that requires not only a leap of faith but also trust and communication. You may have a buddy with whom you share very specific interests but not hang out on a regular basis. While on the other hand you may hang out with some and share very little in common.
It’s a catch-22 and you can easily be caught in the middle especially if it’s a friend group. Things like gossip, personal agendas, and jealousy can take over and wreak havoc between individuals.
Believe me when I say that sometimes it’s better to be alone than have friends who abuse the privilege. Those who don’t understand the concept of sharing and caring will use you to their own advantage without stopping to consider how it makes you feel. This is not okay.
It’s also not okay to have a friend group exclude, tease, or degrade other members at any time.
That is not friendship.
When someone comes to me in tears and says that “my friends dumped me or they forgot to include me,” my reaction is let’s look at the definition of a friend. True friends don’t treat each other like that and it sounds to me like you need to find some new ones.
A friend is not one who will make you feel guilty when you question their actions. A friend is not one who seeks you out to make their life easier because you have something they want. A friend is one who will support, cheerlead, and champion your cause without thinking of what’s in it for them.
It really is okay if you just have a ton of acquaintances and buddies to do activities with while only having one or two ‘real’ friends who know you better as a person. That’s why we have different names apart from the word ‘friend’. Try them on for size: buddy, co-worker, colleague, classmate, advisor, play-dates, pal…the list goes on.
First and foremost, set yourself up for success and be your own best friend. Treat yourself with dignity and respect. Pamper when necessary and refuse the negative self-talk. You are worthy and deserve to be treated well. It starts with you. Stand tall. Be proud of who you are and realize that anyone should consider themselves lucky to call you their friend.
Friendships grow and blossom over time. Choose carefully.
Originally published by Black Press on July 19, 2019
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