Don’t get me wrong. I’m not implying you’re not a good friend. You’re probably a great friend.
Before I start ranting, I should be very clear about something. This isn’t about my friends. My wife and I have wonderful friends. We have much to be grateful for in life, and that goes for our friends and those relationships as well.
I’ve recently had a conversation with someone, however, that made me realize that not everyone is lucky enough to have great friends.
In my humble opinion, there’s a big difference between being a friend and being a great friend. I think we all know how easy it is to be a friend to someone when days are sunny.
But I feel strongly that being a friend goes far beyond those sunny days, and loads us up with tremendous responsibility. Sitting back and putting some thought into it, I feel that, as a friend, I owe my friends much. I owe them loyalty, honesty, sincerity, reliability and dependability. I owe it to them to be sociable, open and welcoming. I owe them help wherever I am able to, support and sympathy when it matters.
I believe I should be candid with my friends. Yep, that means honesty – even brutal honesty at times. Do you occasionally risk a friendship over this kind of honesty? Yeah, occasionally, but you will never regret telling your friend the truth, and true friendships almost invariably weather these storms. Frankly, these kinds of storms often make friendships stronger.
There are also times when I need to listen. And shut my pie-hole. I’m German, I’m loud and I’m not shy. This makes for a difficult time when it comes to holding my snout shut, but I have learned that oftentimes, friends just need you to listen. They don’t need your opinion, they don’t want your advice. They just need you.
Let’s say it’s one of those times where they DO want your advice – I believe we owe our friends good advice. We owe them our life’s experiences, and we should share with them the best we can give, hoping it will get them through whatever they’re going through.
What some of us fail to remember is that our friends are not us. They are often the opposite of us, and that’s what attracted us in the first place. Hey, guess what? Opposites do things differently than us, and what works for us won’t always work for them. They are your friend, not your clone, and they may well be going about every single facet of life differently than you are. It’s up to you to recognize that that’s OK.
What do your friends owe you? Well, if we lived in Utopia, it would be the same. But I certainly don’t live there, and I’ve had friends fail me before. But here’s the rub – you carry on being their friend. You forgive. You continue being there. Odds are, they didn’t fail you consciously. Odds are, they’re human – just like you. And odds are, your friendship can survive.
I think the most important part of being a friend is that we have to be there. And like I said, not just in the good times. There are dark days, days where a cloud hangs over us so thick and so oppressive, that it seems we’ll never see clear of this. Yet a friendship may be exactly what gets us through.
Hey, let me be the first to say you don’t always have to want to be there. But you should be there. That’s the key.
I want to be sure to be there for my friends on those days. The dark ones. The ones where they might feel as though nothing could ever make things the way they were again. I want to put my arms around them, I want to be a shoulder for them to cry on, I want to make them coffee and tell them everything will be alright. I want them to know I’m there. In the early hours. In times of trouble and turbulence. I want to tell them whatever it takes – not to worry, not to fear, to stop being ridiculous, to cheer up – whatever it takes.
I have the kind of friends that fables are written about, and I want to be the same kind of friend.
I want to be the kind of friend that will be there, even after all the other friends have fallen by the wayside.
No matter what.
Thanks, friends, for having been there for me – I pray I don’t let you down when your day comes to need me. You make my life a better place and I am so grateful for each one of you.
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