I haven’t much contemplated what it’s like to be a good friend to someone, as I have just been myself. We all like to think that we are great friends to those that we share our lives with, but are we? I have been fortunate enough to have some very near and dear to my heart good friends in my life, and wonder if that is because we have been honest and genuine with each other.
There are people in everybody’s lives that we can simply do without. It may be a friend that is a negative-nancy all the time. When you talk on the phone and really just want to talk or vent, all you get is opposition instead of understanding and just an ear. Maybe it’s a relative or close family member that behind your back is constantly fabricating stories or bending the truth to suit their own needs, but you keep the relationship alive. How about those people who always say what they think you want to hear? No truth, no opinion, just agreeable instead of honest? Sure, they might be a nice person, but human beings are inclined to relationships where both parties are benefiting, whether it’s a friendship based on love, honesty, kindness or solid intellectual conversations. Maybe it’s simply that when you’re with the other person, you have a rock solid good time, lots of laughter and moments of sheer happiness. Again, both parties are benefiting from the friendship.
Here’s where it gets tricky. What if there is only one person benefiting? What if there is only one person giving all they’ve got, the kindness, love, understanding, honesty and laughter? What if you’re the one person who keeps on giving, and the other enjoys the taking….. It’s even more difficult if you’re in a friendship and you are by nature the kind of person who will just keep at it, but feels that there is nothing on the other end. Call me crazy, but I believe that it’s our natural need to be getting something from relationships.
Let me be specific. The friends that I have, I cherish and love. I make sure to go out of my way, especially between the distances, to make sure they know I love them and think of them. They do the same. I send letters, cards, I call to say hi, or send unexpected parcels in the mail because I know it will make their day. They always follow up with a phone call, or a chat or go out of their way to drive 10 hours and surprise me. We value our friendships and treat it the same way that we would any other relationship that we cherish. I’ve heard people say that a good friendship or relationship takes little to no effort. I beg to differ. Would you put in no effort with a marriage and hope that you’re still standing strong 25 years down the road, how about relationships with children? Is it safe to say that no effort to build and work at a strong relationship will profit their emotional well-being down the road? Look at the obvious. In some circumstances, parent-child relationships are broken and that takes years of neglect and little effort. I believe the harder you work at something, especially something you love, the benefits are superb.
I think in every good relationship there is an exuberant amount of effort being unfolded. My marriage takes work, my husband and I are polar opposites, night and day. We have thus far, been together for nearly ten years and it takes work, and I committed to the relationship when I married him and he committed too, we will work hard for each other because we love each other. Friendships are similar. I have the most spectacular neighbours in the entire universe. It certainly didn’t start out that way, but over the last two years we have built a strong friendship based on understanding each other, being there in any circumstance and making sure that we put forth the same incredible effort they do. Why? Because we want to and because I’m sure that all the love, laughter and sheer understanding I get from them, they get from me. Two happy parties.
So, what I’m getting at is this. If you’re in a relationship rut with someone, look at the obvious. What are they getting from it and what are you getting from it? What are they putting forward and what are you putting forward? Is it time to bid farewell or is it time to try a little harder if you both want it?
To all my friends out there, I love you. I think you’re terrific and I’m thankful that we are both mutually involved in our friendship.