Today, I wanted to take a break from the Occupy goodness to talk about something important to me – friendship. I have noticed in recent years that many people seem to have forgotten what friendship actually entails, and why a smaller number of healthy relationships is vastly preferable to a numerable amount of iffy relationships.
Firstly, let’s take a look at the Wiki definition of friendship:
At the very top, there is a rather telling bullet list:
Value that is found in friendships is often the result of a friend demonstrating the following on a consistent basis:
- The tendency to desire what is best for the other
- Sympathy and empathy
- Honesty, perhaps in situations where it may be difficult for others to speak the truth, especially in terms of pointing out the perceived faults of one’s counterpart
- Mutual understanding and compassion; ability to go to each other for emotional support
- Enjoyment of each other’s company
- Trust in one another
- Positive reciprocity — a relationship is based on equal give-and-take between the two parties.
- The ability to be oneself, express one’s feelings and make mistakes without fear of judgment.
I have noticed that many of these go out the window because someone nominally labelled as a friend is ‘nice’. Nice doesn’t include tearing down behavior. Nice doesn’t mean having to change yourself to meet the approval of another person. Yes, truth is an important factor, but there’s the truth… and then, there is ‘the truth’. One is healthy and tempered by sympathy, empathy, and compassion. The other is a crude assertion with no consideration for whom it is being delivered to.
The long and the short of it is thus – a friend is supposed to be someone who brings goodness into your life. As I say incessantly – good breeds good, and bad breeds bad. If someone is always on your case to do or dress or be like them, they are not your friend; you are their fashion accessory. If someone is always negging on you, they do not care about you or your mental health.
If you find that you yourself are engaging in such behaviors, why not take a step back? You might not even realize how inappropriate you’re behaving; after all, everyone else is doing it. Nor does it mean that your relationships are all null and void – if you are the instigator of unkindnesses, you can always apologise and try to salvage what might very well be a good friendship with the detrius removed. If you are the one being treated poorly, why not try to confront your assailant-friend? I know, I know – it’s not easy, and rejection hurts no matter how good or bad the friend is. But is your health really worth being treated like shit just to say you have x+1 friends? If you think about it, the answer is probably no.
Thanks for reading, and remember – be excellent to each other!