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!
I think that I may come across as not nice on numerous occasions, although I don’t deliberately try to be negative to people, but neither will I hide behind white lies. I have only ever offered feedback to people in an effort to provide them with an alternative perspective that they can examine as they wish. I may be too blunt in this and I’m striving to not offer unless asked…
I don’t think anyone could accuse you of intentionally being negative or cruel. Honestly, I’m not sure they get any kinder than you do. <3
I think sometimes, friendships are fickle. I know at least one person who forms new “best” friendships quickly, over a number of months or even less, and then acts hurt/surprised when the other person in the friendship lets it fade away, demonstrates that they’re nowhere near as dedicated to the supposed best friendship as a best friend ought to be. And at the same time, this person takes for granted the people who have been in her life for years, people who have proven themselves to be a true best friend.
That’s apparently symptomatic of a personality disorder, Trish.. I can think of a few people we know to whom that might apply to, and really? I just wish they’d get some help for their own sake. It really and truly breaks my heart to see how some people treat relationships. ::(