LESS AND MORE
An incredibly valuable lesson I have learned through the highs and lows of the last few years is that friends are sometimes more, and sometimes less than what I expected. I have seen friends step up to a whole new level in their love and support and I have watched friends trade in years of our relationship for something as transient as a position title or a step up the ladder.
Looking back over the last few years has proved to be an eye opener in so many ways. I have come to value friendships so much more and to recognize the worth of a true friend over and above face value. I have learned that people don't always behave in ways that you would expect or in the manner you would in the same situation. 'Different strokes for different folks' takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to how people view their friendships and what they are prepared to invest in them.
WHAT MAKES A FRIEND?
There's a lot to be said for not setting your value based on the opinions of others, but at the same time, friendship is intrinsic to how we view our world. When people we love stand by us and support us through tough times, that is so special. When they don't judge and they don't turn away, but offer a listening ear and a sympathetic shoulder, we absorb some of that milk of human kindness and it warms our heart.
On the other side of the page are those friends who we expect to hold our hand through the battles, and instead they silently slide off into the background and offer nothing. Others are more self-serving and trade friendship for personal gain. When the bottom line comes down to promoting yourself or showing loyalty to a friend, those who choose self-promotion reveal their true colours.
It is easy to be a friend in the good times, the calm times, the fun times, and through times of smooth sailing. It takes a true friend to step up when the seas get rough and the "easy" person becomes the person in pain. I've watched friends walk away because it was all too hard, or they couldn't be bothered, or because they had a "better offer" to quote the youth of today. I have also watched friends stand firm and offer more than I ever expected. These are the friends who are worth their weight in gold.
Honesty, loyalty, empathy, humour, stickability, and a sense of being in this life together are the signs of a true friend - one you want to have by your side and who you can depend on to be there when you need them. Having confidence in the people who are close to you is such a boon - to know that your secrets are safe, that their advice is well meant and has no hidden undertones, to know they care.....it's just so rewarding.
Happiness may be our responsibility but having friends building into our lives, offering love and support, sharing the journey's ups and downs - well money can't buy that and it is truly precious. Happiness has a relational element to it - strong, healthy, dependable friendships enhance our lives and happiness comes in the wake of those types of relationships.
THE FRIENDSHIP JOURNEY
As for the toxic friends, the undependable, the back stabbers, the betrayers, the less than supportive friends, the disloyal, the less-than-admirable - well they don't have a place in my life any more. I wish them well on their journey but I don't want to travel the same road with people who place so little value on the years we've spent together. I'd rather focus my attention and my time on people who love me and allow me to love them in return - that's real friendship and happiness in a nutshell.