“I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod; My shadow does that much better.” Plutarch
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another; “What you too? I thought I was the only one.” Anonymous
How frustrating it is to to try to have hold and keep friendships alive and well. It takes so much work a person must wonder every day if it is worth the effort. Friends come in different sizes, shapes and attitudes. They wield a lot of power. They can elevate you or send you crashing to the ground if they want. At times they can surprise you with happiness but then again, there are those times when disappointments are on the agenda.
Some friends love to be around when there are problems. They prefer a crises situation more than a happy celebration. I remember having friends when I was a child, that were jealous of my clothing. We weren’t rich but my mother was the queen of the shoppers and we had pretty outfits. It was embarrassing to me to get a compliment. Although it was positive, it really wasn’t, and my friend and I both knew that. She wanted me to be aware of her hurt feelings, regarding my latest outfit.My friend sometimes disappointed me when she drifted off to play with another. She did this when she was in a troubling mood. I hated to have to run into my apartment to go to the bathroom, because likely she’d be off playing with another friend. She could never juggle more than one person at a time. Although we got along well, really liked each other and enjoyed each others company, I could never trust her. I knew that, even at such a young age. If any other kids were hanging out with us, she would at times side with them instead of me. It was hard for me to accept her unworthy behavior.
As I matured I learned to refrain from discussing any new toy or clothing item to avoid any friendship issues. I also knew that if you pretended not to know as much, kids liked you better. By acting like I couldn’t work the monkey bars at a playground, or beat my friends in a running race, gave me a friendship advantage. My friends were always willing to come to my aid and attention. We would laugh together and enjoy a great day. I continued this behavior when dating, by allowing dates to assume they were enlightening me about something I already understood. The guys experienced a sense of bravado about what they could do that I could not. I really didn’t care either way. I wanted friends and if it worked I continued to use my tactic.
When I became an adult and matured, I began to question and dislike my own actions. Comprehending the gravity of my low keyed demeanor, gnawed at my ethics. Nobody knew who I really was. They didn’t know what I was capable of. I’d spent so many years hiding from the real me in order to maintain friendships, that at times I wasn’t quite sure myself, just who I was. Work was also a place where I discovered other people besides myself, hiding behind a perceived profile.
Women and men who I knew to be extremely capable, were never the ones volunteering input or leadership. I began to find this appalling. How did so many people cover up their talents so well, that no one discovered the truth. When at long last I decided to be honest with myself, I discovered I could do even more than what I thought. It wasn’t easy and it took many many years to reteach myself. I am not in any way suggesting I am super human, but I knew I was more than I ever displayed to others. Even my family was in the dark. It felt easier to be inferior, until I began to have passions about ideas. At that point in time, it became necessary to shed the facade and be taken a bit more seriously.
As I look back on what triggered the whole charade, I realized it was friendships. I wanted pals at any cost. I wanted to be liked and loved by others, to the point that I lost myself. It makes a person wonder how many people in the world pretend to be something they are not. I now believe we need to understand what it means to be friends, and what a friend is.
Friends are with you not only in bad times, but in your good times as well. They are quick to offer a sincere compliment, and can rebuke you with kindness. They will speak up when necessary, and know when to be quiet and listen. Friends know they don’t always have to be your exclusive friend. They cherish the time they spend with you, but give you space to have time with others. Friends allow you to have secrets, without prompting you to divulge anything. Friends know they can let you down even on purpose, because you will forgive them and they can come back. Friends accept your weaknesses, and praise your strengths. You can be yourself, and not have to be nice all the time. You can shout and scream and embarrass the two of you, and they will still call you the next day. Friends feel your pain even when they can’t give the definition. Friends take the total sum of all of you under consideration, when making a judgement. Friends don’t have to return phone calls, and they know they will be forgiven if they miss your birthday.To me a friend is a person who always bounces back into your life, because they really do care about you.
“Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to ex[lain. It’s not something you learn at school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.” Muhammad Ali
“The truth is everybody’s going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.” Bob Marley
“It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.” Ralph Waldo Emerson