I’ve been extremely blessed in my life to continue to have and sustain very close friendships. Some of my closest friends even date back as far as elementary school; those are the friends who know you best. They know you from the roots up. Those are the friends you can’t cover up the truth to, ever. They’ll just laugh at you and remind you how crappy your hair looked at homecoming or how miserable you felt when you downed that Peach Schnapps and got sick senior year…(I wasn’t referring to myself of course…cough- cough) they just know your core and your soul.
Slowly, through the years, we make new friends. Some of these friendships are made in college, at work, through different relationships, through our children, and even through what I like to call the “social ladder.”
Nowadays, we can have a ton of friends with the click of a button. Voila! I like to call these “virtual friends.” These aren’t even all our real friends, but according to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn – I’m sure I missed a few other social sites – they are. They are all you BFFs, especially on your birthday!!!
Great thing about these sites is you can un-friend, de-friend, block and delete them out of your life without as much as one confrontation, and you can make them and keep them without any effort at all.
G-d bless modern technology.
When it comes down to it, most people, if lucky, can count on one hand their truest and dearest friends. Not just the ones that will get you out of jail – metaphorically speaking, of course, but you knew that – but also the ones that will bake you a cake, put the knife in it, and even provide you with an alibi. We should all be so lucky to have a few of those.
As I’ve gotten older, I find that my circle of “acquaintance” friends has gotten much larger, while my circle of “core” friends that I trust, smaller. I have a theory on why that is.
When we’re young, we’re also extremely naïve. We haven’t been lied to, or hurt, or stabbed in the back yet. Our best friend hasn’t told our deepest secrets to 10,000 other girls, or stolen our boyfriend- and we are like little bundles of clay, yet to be molded.
But we ladies learn…and we learn fast. We learn through the years how to trust, whom to trust, and how long they can be trusted for.
Even as we age and we think we know it all…we still get the occasional surprise when that one friend shocks us by being less of a friend than we thought. I like to call this “toxic friend shock.” Symptoms can include: racing heart, nausea, loss of appetite, and a knot in the pit of our stomachs. It’s a hard road to go down to lose a few extra pounds don’t-cha think??
I have had my share of friends disappoint me…but not many and not in a very long time. I have picked wisely and carefully though my years, but even I have been stung by the occasional lethal “friend bug.” We all have, and boy does that sting hurt. It leaves an internal hive that can last many years, and time is the only thing that heals it. (Or of course finding a new friend who’s had the same thing happen so you can commiserate.)
I think at a certain point in life, there are five types of friends we should look for:
Friends who make an effort
We all have friends who, although busy with career and childcare duties, never fail to reach out no matter what else is going on. Even if it’s simply something like “Just wanted to touch base and say hi.”
Friends who are genuinely happy for each other
These types of friends are happy for one another and don’t exhibit a smidgeon of jealously. They watch and revel in each other’s happiness — without any kind of resentment -and we do exactly the the same for them.
Friends who are positive
People who are positive and optimistic are definitely worth hanging on to.
Friends who are authentic
This is the loyal friend — the one you allow to see you without makeup and crying. She’s “real” and honest and will tell you the truth when asked her opinion.
Friends who are wise
Jesse Jackson once said, “Never look down on someone unless you’re helping them up.” If you have someone smart, and admirable in your life that practices this philosophy, you’re extremely lucky.
I really believe that the quality of friends you attract is a direct reflection of who you truly are. They say water finds its own level…ain’t that the truth!!
If that’s the case, I’ve certainly done a few laps in the kiddie pool, but I always find my way back down to the deep end.
Unfortunately, there are also the friends that we make that we must “break up” with. Just like a romantic relationship, you can’t envision a future with these friends. These friends most likely fall into one of these categories:
The manipulator, sad sandy, the emotional vampire, the drama magnet, or the mean girl. Need I say more? I don’t think any definitions are required here. We’ve all met these ladies.
I have also come to realize that being a friend is not always so easy in certain situations. There are many times people are forced to choose a side in friendship, especially when friends divorce, break up, or have business issues.
Sometimes we make new friends while in different relationships, and when those relationships end, so do the friendships. That’s what my dad likes to refer to as a “shanda,” (Yiddish for; what a shame).
There’s no judgment. Just sometimes it’s hard to put a friend in the position of choosing. It’s also the surest way to lose that friend, in my opinion.
It is important to treat your friends the way you want to be treated.
Just like any relationship, a friendship requires effort and reciprocity in order to blossom and grow. What you put into a friendship is most likely what you will get out of it.
Occasionally, a rare breed of friend comes along that’s neither fish nor fowl. This is the deadliest of all friends; I like to refer to this hybrid as a “frenemy”. By now I’m sure you’ve heard of this term. This kind of friend is really the mutt of the friendship breed because she’s half friend, half enemy.
Spending time with a “frenemy” requires wearing an internal HAZMAT suit and intensive preparation to keep her contained. Direct contact can cause a widespread outbreak -and as of today, there is no known cure. Treating the symptoms with isolation can sometimes be helpful.
One must decide what kind of friend they really want to be and try their best to be consistent. We all will fall short at some point in our lives, but the point is to try.
In the end, a true friend is sorta just like a good ol’ bra…
Close to your heart and always there for support– no matter how heavy the load.
Until Next week…
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