Monday, 25 July 2016

STEP #10 ON THE JOURNEY TO HAPPINESS ~ CHOOSE YOUR FRIENDS WISELY

Step #10 on the Journey to Happiness ~ choose your friends wisely - look beyond the superficial

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.

PLAIN SAILING

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.


“Surround yourself with people who know your worth. You don’t need too many people to be Happy, just a few real ones who appreciate you for exactly who you are.”

FRIENDSHIP TRAITS

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.

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30 comments:

  1. I think lately I fall into the undependable category. When I'm under a lot of stress I tend to hide out. That's still no excuse for neglecting my friends.

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    1. A little hiding out now and then doesn't hurt - it's cutting people off and being too lazy to make them a priority that is the problem Rena. I think there is a bit of give and take in friendship - but balance again.

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  2. Yes, that is the key: choose your friends. Because we CAN choose! And friendship is symbiotic, not one sided.
    carol

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    1. I thought it would be a selfish thing to choose who you want in your friendship circle Carol, but it's not - it's part of self preservation sometimes :)

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  3. Good post. Reminds me of the kind of friend I want to be.

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    1. Me too Cathy - and I would hope it's what all my friends want to be like too!

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  4. This is so true. For years now I have been able to count my tried and true friends on one hand and I like it that way. It's difficult to find the good ones so I feel very fortunate to have the ones I have.

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    1. You lose people along the way but not the ones that really count - I've got a handful too that I love sharing my life with.

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  5. So very well said. Friends will come and go. True friends stick with you through it all. Great read Leanne!

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    1. Thanks so much Brenda - I like the thought that our true friends will always stick around.

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  6. I was so naive and thought I had lots of friends and then I had cancer and I learned this lesson you beautifully write about! Fair-weather friends, friends just for the good times or friends until someone else better or healthier comes along! These type of friends all got written off. My circle is smaller and 2 have died but it is isn't quantity but the quality of their hearts that matter to me in their friendship.

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    1. I never understand people who walk away from friends at a time of crisis - they are the type of people you are better off without in your life. The ones who stay become even closer once you are through it all.

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  7. All of this is so true. I have no patience for toxic people in my life any more.

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    1. me either Lois - too much hard work!

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  8. Friends come and go in the seasons of life. You described what many of us try to feel and say. It isn't the amount of friends one has, but the quality and depth that a friendship will go to last through life's ups and downs. Lovely sentiments here.

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    1. Thanks Michelle - it is definitely a fluctuation and sometimes hard to understand, but I'm more accepting now that some people are just meant to be allowed to leave - and their presence is not really missed all that much.

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  9. It's a great place to be- the age when we just let certain people go. Time is short. There's merit in cutting one's losses and celebrating the unexpected friendships. Bravo my friend.

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    1. I couldn't agree more Cheryl - the people I have in my life now are gold and I can't express how much I value them - the ones who have moved on are missed occasionally but not really mourned.

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  10. No one needs toxic friends. I avoid them. I moved a lot and had to adapt but I have a few good friends and it's great.

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    1. Toxic friends seem to be a common problem for everyone Rebecca - I think we just get wiser with how we deal with them.

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  11. I'm absolutely loving all your insightful posts, Leanne. One of my favorite quotes and something I used to tell my kids while they were choosing friends is: show me your friends and I'll show you your future. What a great statement about the strength of who we allow to influence our lives!

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    1. Thanks so much Rica - it's been a really good series for me to write - reinforces a lot of what I've been thinking lately - and that quote you tell your kids is so true!

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  12. Another great post thanks Leanne. Quality not quantity is my yardstick for friendships. Thanks for sharing your insights with us at #OvertheMoon.

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    1. Yep I'll take quality friendships any day - even long distance ones like ours x

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  13. It's definitely best to let go of toxic friendships and "fair-weather" friends, too. When my husband and I were young, we had lots of parties and dozens of friends, or, so we thought, When the hard times hit us, there were no more parties and most of them disappeared. I can count my closest friends on one hand now, but those relationships have spanned decades. Life is too short, indeed!

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    1. I'm a bit the same Debbie - lots of casual friends when we were younger but now a smaller number - but worth their weight in gold!

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  14. GREAT article and so truthful. I've alway said that you know who your real friends are during times of trouble, because they stick around and do whatever they can to help. It's a quick way to weed out the fake ones, for sure.

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    1. Yes - none of us want hardships, but they certainly weed out who you can count on and who you can't!

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  15. Isn't life crazy? When I got sick we learned all kinds of things. And friendships take a huge toll when you are on bedrest for 7.5 months. Then when you realize that you can't do the things you used to do, another toll is taken. There are so many different stages of friendship. And your circle of friends are there for many different purposes. Some may be there for a bit of time, to get you through something, and others may be there for the long haul. Friendships are similar to love relationships, some relationships are in your life to teach you lessons so that you can learn for the next relationship. Some are fleeting, but few are meant to last. Friendship is the same way and each friend is a gift. They may not last forever, but the lessons you learn from them have the power to change you, we just have to take the time to recognize the lesson.

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    1. That's so true Nikki - I think I always expected friendships to last forever and to be authentic. Now I can see that some do and they are priceless, but others are for a time and I need to accept that. Also people are fallible and not all of them have what it takes to invest in a meaningful friendship. I'm sorry you found friends left when the going got tough - and it's sad that it isn't a surprise.

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