How do you define friendship? How can each person be a better friend?
Friendship is a universal theme. There are thousands of quotations about it, and its importance. Friendship is a living, breathing, evolving entity. Where would be be without our friends?
Friendship is often warm and fuzzy, the best feeling ever. But sometimes, friendship can contain the sting of truth. Friendships contain and include uncomfortable moments. Friends can expose a blind spot, or keep you from doing something stupid, or call you out to be better than you are being in that moment. That’s the hard part of friendship, and the really great friendships are resilient enough to handle hard truths from time to time. Friendship is a type of love.
We have different classifications and strata of friends now, thanks to social media. I am friends with people across the world whom I’ve never met in person, and yet we share so many common interests and converse about them regularly, that it feels like I really know them — and, in a way, I do. There is a special thrill to meet someone in person, or “IRL” (In Real Life), with whom I’ve previously only had contact on Facebook or Twitter. How about “friendly acquaintances,” people whom I enjoy seeing at social events in town, and with whom relations are breezy and cordial. And then, there are the people who are sincerely interested in me, and I in them. We follow each other’s projects, activities, causes, and do what we can to assist and promote each other. We might even do business together in the future, or collaborate on a project. These friendships are ripe with possibilities, and they are also just fine in the happy and stable state they are in at any moment.
Then there are the friends who are like family, or perhaps even better. Friends with whom you share triumphs and tragedies, experiences for surviving the ups and downs of life. Someone who would be there for comfort and support, to meet any crisis, help change a tire, drive you home from a doctor’s appointment, or laugh and cry during a silly old movie. Friends whom you might not see for years, but can pick right up where you left off.
I try to be a good friend to the people in my circle. People would describe me, and I describe myself, as “friendly.” I consider each person I meet to be a friend — until they reveal themselves to be otherwise. I want my friends to do what they want to be doing, to be successful, to make the contacts and connections they need to move forward. I want them to be happy, and self-expressed. I want to help in any way that I can.
The best friendships are mutually beneficial. That’s not to say there is score-keeping, or a tit-for-tat expectation. A one-sided friendship is no friendship: it is out of balance and will collapse because of that flaw. Energy vampires will be your friend until you turn off the juice, and then they move on. That is no loss, even though it may take awhile to replenish your emotional, financial, or social resources.
I love the Gershwin classic, Friendship (From Anything Goes):
If you’re ever in a jam, here I am
If you’re ever in a mess, S-O-S
If you every get so happy you land in jail,
I’m your bail.
That’s friendship, friendship
Just the perfect blendship. . .
When other friendships have been forgit
Ours will still be IT!
Give a shout-out. What does friendsihp mean to you? How do you and I know each other? IRL, online, professional, social? Here’s to friendship, in all its wonderful forms.