Recently, I had occasion, as I have so many times in my life (and especially in the last year) to try to figure out who is a true friend.
When things go well, a friendship can be a joy. But when things don’t go well, friendships and people can be painfully disappointing, to say the least.
When two people have totally differing views of what a friendship is all about, that is rough. What’s even harder is when you don’t find out until a year into the friendship that the other person is not on the same page as you.
Alas, there are no Friendship 101 classes in school (besides the torturous ones on the playground), so the art of making friends is a learn-as-you-go process. And it is a learning process that seems to extend for the length of one’s entire life.
One thing I’m learning though is that it is up to me to be absolutely clear on what I want from a potential friend.
I am a very loyal friend, so I would expect the other person to be the same. A friend must be willing to be emotionally available and open to making him- or herself vulnerable to another human being. Good listeners are nice also.
Things in common are great of course and so is ease of conversation, but (to ME anyway), the most important thing about a friendship is that it is a spiritual and emotional bond between two people. A friendship is sacred.
A true friend is the one who is still standing next to you at the end of a long day. A true friend does not walk away when the going gets rough. And since this is life, the going is *always* going to get rough at one time or another.
Unfortunately, finding a good friend is not like going to a supermarket and picking a great item off of a shelf. There is no formal interview process as there is when applying for a job.
Friendship is that delicate balance between two people of mutual respect, honesty and loyalty.
After a *year* of being loyal to someone, it is disconcerting when the other individual suddenly tells you that you are not really friends, that you are working on a “potential friendship.”
It is sad to feel hurt with the sense that the other person has been utterly indifferent to who you are and your place in his/her life. But … the hurt won’t kill me ….
People often frustrate me — sometimes it’s like “you can’t live with ’em and you can’t live without ’em.” And that initial risk of jumping into the fire once AGAIN is definitely not for the weak of heart.
Of course, I have my cats and someday I’ll also have a loving canine friend. I have God — even though I get angry at him a lot, he stays faithful to me.
And I am learning, even if kicking and screaming on some days, how to be a good friend to mySELF.
© February 2012 by Phyllis J. Hanniver