Being a Friend

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Dealing with life's ups and downs can be extremely hard when you are alone.  Having friends and being a friend can significantly improve your livelihood and keep you healthy and sane.  Strong bonds with other people, who motivate and inspire you, can be the best thing for you, especially when you are dealing with a difficult situation, such as divorce or death.

Real friendships allow you to be your unique, quirky self, without passing judgment.  I have noticed that lately people tend to pass judgment about people and situations without fully understanding the individuals involved and the situations.  That truly bothers me.  Real friendship means that a person can have his or her opinion, and I can have my opinion, but we can also agree to disagree.  I have encountered people, whom I considered to be a friend, passing judgment and leaving me feeling like I have made a terrible mistake about sharing whatever I was thinking or feeling.  Quite frankly, real friendship should not leave you feeling like you have to hide bits and pieces of yourself to be liked.  There is nothing like dealing with people, whom you consider a friend while being your authentic self. Plus, everyone at some time or another needs a friend, who can be their outlet from the growing list of overwhelming responsibilities and the demands of our personal and professional lives.

Hearing the news report about people dying alone and not being discovered fro a long time, I cannot imagine how I would feel knowing that someone I knew left this world in that state of loneliness.  This website identifies nine instances of this very thing.  It is truly sad and disheartening.  (*Warning: You may be disturbed by the actual details).  I know that we are so consumed with our trials and tribulations that we forget what our fellow man may be enduring.

The Holiday season often reminds people of their lack of friendships and the problems that they may have with certain family members.  These times can be hard.  I remember when I was single and divorced.  The kids were spending the holiday with my ex-husband, and for some reason, I forget what, I could not go home for the holidays.  I was alone.  I was invited twice to spend the holiday with friends and their family.  Those friends gave me life during a very hard time.  Their generosity helped me not to dwell on the negative feelings and sadness.

Find ways to be available for someone, who will be alone this season.  Even beyond the Holiday season, be a friend.  Be a real friend.  Be a friend, who does more than come around when you need something.  Be a friend, who comes around just because you care and value the friendship.

Being a friend should not be one-sided.  Friendship goes both ways.  You may not communicate the same as the other person, but you can establish a medium that works for you both.  For instance, I do not like talking on the phone.  I prefer written conversation to audio.  Whenever I am on the phone, I have to multi-task.  Either the task is dealing with my children talking to me or writing a paper or doing homework.  I hate having to end a conversation because my children will not stop talking to me while I am on the phone. I have people who get that, and they do not mind that I prefer texting or email or social media.  For this, I am truly grateful.  They could be like so many people, who just do not get that, and they decide that my preference just does not work for them. Understanding and empathy go a long way.

Disappointment from a friend, who insulted you, let you down, or did not practice reciprocity, can be so frustrating.  However, you need to remember that just like a marriage or any other type of relationship, it can be challenging.  You have to decide what works for you.  I honestly get turned off quickly from people, when I realize that they aren't genuine, or I can see beyond what they want me to see.  I guess after years of being used and mistreated, I just do not have the time or energy to put forth the effort towards a friendship that isn't worth it.  Then, you have friendships that just fade away.  It's nobody fault when this happens.  I firmly believe that their season was just up in my life for now.  Some friendships are just "understood."  We do not talk every day or every week, but we know that if anything ever happens, we will be there for each other.

I have always valued friendship.  Since I was a little girl, I always wanted to be the person, who was a good friend.  I have given more than I have received.  I have been there for people, who did not do the same for me.  However, at the end of the day, I was content because I knew that my actions were all because I loved being a friend.  I challenge you for the remainder of 2015 and all of 2016 to be the best friend that you can be.  You will not regret it.

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