This is something that has come to life even more so more recently than in previous years. It could be that I am reflecting more than I used to. It could be that things that have come into my life have stirred the pot enough to bring things to the surface that have long been lingering deep within that can just now be seen.
Its not that I’ve not known what or who my true friends are. I think most of us, if we are truthful with ourselves (not always an easy thing to do) really know about our friends anyway. Many times, even if we choose to ignore reality, deep within us we already know things that become evident whether we want them to or not.
The TV show “Friends” though comical does show a few aspects of what friends are though my thoughts about friendship go deeper as I would hope yours would.
There has been an email that has gone around on the internet for some time now. “A good friend will bail you out of jail, but a true friend will be sitting beside you say “D@$# that was fun!”” (double quotes intended) There are so many good quotes about friends and I choose here to list a few:
A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails. ~Donna Roberts
A true friend reaches for your hand and touches your heart. ~Author Unknown
A true friend unbosoms freely, advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously, and continues a friend unchangeably. ~William Penn
Friends are God’s ways of apologizing for our families. ~ Anonymous
I can trust my friends. These people force me to examine, encourage me to grow. ~ Cher
In the past few years a number of relationship changes have taken place in my life. A few of those changes awakened me in ways I can only be thankful for now though at the time some of those events or changes were difficult to take. Looking back I have learned valuable lessons which I would not and could not have learned any other way though I very seriously hope that you do not have to endure these types of events to learn them. In some ways, maybe I went through them so that you would not have to. I do not wish to share all of what happened that made these life changes but I do wish to share with you what I feel I have gained in all of this. This is not to say that I will not answer questions. I will so long as it does not cause harm to others. Some things will remain secret only to me or a very select few that already know.
Some friends only really come to light in your life when the chips are down or the burden is heavy. They have felt some similitude of this heaviness in their own lives and can empathize with you and so share in your pain. They can ease your burden because they identify with you and share your hurt with you making the load just a bit lighter. These friends can sometimes already be good friends. Some of these friends are only friends for this period in your life. Just to be what you needed in your life for that very incident or trial.
Over the past few years I have been fortunate to find out who my real friends are. I’ve gone through a divorce, challenges on the job, relationship changes, and even some changes to my core beliefs due to what I can only express as an awakening to truth I already knew was there but was afraid or unwilling to accept. Either way, all in all, as several people (friends/acquaintances) have said over these last few years, “it’s all good” and “it is what it is” (different quotes from different folks).
Lets speak to the “relationship changes” and “friends” issue.
One thing that I have had some difficulty with and am still not fully sure about is… How do people that are in a emotional and physical relationship remain friends AFTER the relationship part of it ends? Is it possible? I’d like to say yes it is possible but there are too many things that can be a factor to make such a blanket statement. Not the least of which, what does or would your next relationship partner think of you being friends with someone you have had such a close level of physical and emotional relationship with? I know for a fact that the level to which the relationship attains is directly proportionate to the ability to remain friends does or does not exist on your own level. What do I mean by that? If you get deep into a relationship, it is nearly impossible to remain friends if the relationship ends. If the physical and emotional relationship gets a bit heavy but never attains a level of commitment, well, it is possible to remain friends. Or so I think. I do know that my partner is not or does not feel threatened by some individuals where as she does or would by others. Those that I have been more deeply involved with or are the most recent seem to present the biggest threat level to her. So… in conclusion to this topic, while it may be possible and in some cases it truly is possible on some level, it very likely would not be possible in most cases. So far as my personal blog editor is concerned (she knows who she is) she can remain my friend. The long term relationship and the other one that sent me into a downward spiral…. no.
In some ways this has been sad for me. I am one of those that would love to be friends with everyone. I would like the ability to help anyone as any need arises. It just isn’t possible. Not only could and would it cause issues in my current and very committed relationship, it is really not even possible. I can not fix the world (shocker I know). I can not help everyone even though I’d love to do so. I can not be a friend to everyone though it seems as though it should be possible.
It is funny (strange) in a way. There are friends that are very good friends that I seldom see that will always be and remain friends. There are friends that I see often but we do very little together except for the occasional bike ride or a social meeting to have an adult beverage that I know for certain and without a doubt that I could count on if the chips were down and they could and can count on me as well in any circumstance. These are true friends. Ones that can say whatever they like and I will not get mad at them. They can call me what they like. They can call me when the want at any time. I can do the same. This is a true friend. They can tell me I’m an a-hole and I get the message. In most cases they are correct at that moment. We all get to that point sometimes and we need those friends to do just exactly that. To bring us back to reality and show us that we are not the epitome of perfection. The world is not about us. We have not suffered beyond the ability to recover. And there IS someone who really gives a D about us.
Friends for life – this could be a blog all by itself. Most people never have a friend that they can count on for their entire life. It is said that you should count yourself lucky to find such a person. Again, “most people” search for such a person throughout their lives. The ideal person would be a mate. Someone that you find to be your friend through thick and thin. “For richer for poorer, till death do us part” type friend. At least that is my opinion. So far my record has not been good in this arena. I’ve been through two divorces and a couple of really difficult relationships where I though the person I was with was my life-long friend. It didn’t work for me at that time. I’m still in hopes that the relationship I am currently in will be that type of relationship. I feel it may be this time. Wish me the best at this. But don’t focus on me. Focus on yourself. I’m good with the one I’m with now. We are challenging each other on various levels to verify. We both have pasts that are coming into play but to me it is worth the effort and eventual results should we both pass the tests and there will be plenty.
I have a friend who found his mate early in life. They don’t always seem to be getting along, but, I’ve noticed their commitment to each other and I am both amazed and encouraged by them. I love them both even when they don’t love each other.
I have another friend who found his mate latter in life. She had been married 5 times before him and he had been married a couple of times as well. They have had their struggles yet they have dedicated themselves to each other this time around. I’m encouraged by them as well.
I have another friend. She has been married several times. Twice to the same person in fact. She is still with her last one and I’m encouraged by that.
In each of these previously mentioned relationships I find a pattern. It is a commitment. A commitment to each other. A commitment to work WITH each other toward a goal. A goal of dedicated acceptance and long lasting relationship. A commitment to stick it out regardless of the cost. Each of them is committed to living the rest of their lives together. I’m thankful for each of them.
I am thankful for each and every friend I have. Each of them is special in their own way. One is more country while another is more sophisticated. One is exciting while another is more subdued. Each has their own contribution to my life and I hope that I contribute to theirs as much as they do to mine. Each has a place. Each has a purpose. Each has an effect on my life and the way in which I live. Each has played a part in my growth as an individual. In fact, I’d say that this may be the most important aspect of it all. If your friends do not help you to grow, if they bring you down or cause you to do or be something you should not be…. Well… I’d say you need to think about getting some new friends.
One friend in particular has helped me to grow on a more spiritual/metaphysical level. We have deep discussions. We talk about anything and everything. He learns from me and I learn from him. It is funny in a way. We seldom see each other outside of our work environment. Yet, I count him a true friend.
As I said, each friend has had their special place in my life. My partner is becoming more of a friend every day. Though found late in life as compared to my other friends, I feel this will be a life long friend. I wish for each and every one of you to be able to find such a person. It is never to late. It IS worth the effort AND the risks. Yes risks. In order for a person to be a friend, you have to allow yourself to be vulnerable to them. Something that is much easier said than done. Especially if you’ve been burned in the past. Still, if you want a true friend, if you want someone that you can trust, if you want someone that will be honest with you, if you want a relationship with someone that will challenge you and help you and allow you to grow, you will have to open yourself to the possibility of being burned again. In fact, count on it. You will get burned. You will experience pain of the heart. Even from true friends. None of us are perfect. That’s right. NONE of us. Including you. I know. Tough to admit isn’t it.
So… how do you know? How do you know if someone will be a true friend?
You just have to take the chance. You have to try.
If you don’t, you WILL be lonely. You WILL be alone.
You don’t have to be.
Take the chance.
Take the risk.
It IS worth it!