“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.” ~ William Shakespeare
The nature of friendships has been on my mind lately. I don’t need to tell you the benefits of having a friend because I’m sure we’ve all felt the positive impacts of a friend, especially a good friend. And if we haven’t, we soon will. Sometimes when I emerge for a quick break out of my writing world, I think about how somewhat anti-social I’ve been or rather that I haven’t been as a good a friend as I should be. I obsess over the details of what makes a great friend and that process leads to absolutely nothing because in the end there really is no perfect formula for the perfect friendship. And who wants to stress over friendships? Love and the actions that back it up are the most important things. But, I still want to share a list of what life has taught me about friendship:
1.) Don’t over think it.
It’s better to let things be without torturing yourself over minute details about whether this was done right or wrong, especially when it concerns the past. Just go with the flow, live in the moment, and if there are big decisions to be made, trust your gut to do the right thing. We’re all old enough to have learned a little from life about right and wrong. You should also never ever be anyone but yourself because if you can’t be real with your friends, then who can see the real you? Sometimes we feel we can’t be our true selves around our own families. That’s when friends lend an arm to save us from drowning.
“The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.”
~ Bob Marley
2.) A long period of non-communication doesn’t necessarily mean it’s over.
Sometimes you can pick up where you left off. We’re all involved in some project or other, and it can take time away from friendships, but as long as one friend or the other remembers to give that call or send that message, true friends can continue right along as if there was never a lull in the friendship to begin with.
3.) Don’t force it.
There’s a time for everything, and if you sense a friendship is stagnant with no more room for growth, it’s okay to let that person go and move on. Also, if you’re the only one putting effort into a friendship and the other person isn’t, well, that can be a signal to release as well. It’s never a good feeling for both sides when someone is forcing something to exist that is no longer there. People change, and that’s okay.
“Silence makes the real conversations between friends. Not the saying, but the never needing to say that counts.” ~ Margaret Lee Runbeck
4.) Don’t mistake companionate love for Eros love.
This one is tricky. There’s this consensus peering over our shoulders that you if love someone, you should tell them, which is true, but not all love is the same. Misunderstandings can take over to bring about painful awkwardness and may even transform a friendship into something else that is less satisfying or poignant than the previous nature of the relationship. However, I’m not saying people shouldn’t fall in love with their friends because it’s been shown to happen, and sometimes friends even marry each other. Shoot, I hope the person I marry ends up being my best friend as well. But, this isn’t always the case, so this is where a little thinking before acting wouldn’t hurt.
5.) You will find a friend who becomes family.
Soul mates aren’t limited to couples that have found eternal romantic love, but include friends too: two people who swear they must have been born from the same mother sometime or another. Or as like to I call my own soul mate of a friend: “My sister from another mother.” You’re in sync, cry and laugh together, share the deepest secrets, reveal yourself completely and truly without fear of judgment or rejection, and love unconditionally. No fear, no pressure, total acceptance, and genuine love for each other and each other’s growth. If something good happens to this person, you feel as if it’s happening to you. This friendship is no accident and has no end.
“We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?” asked Piglet
“Even longer,” Pooh answered.
~ A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
These are solely my experiences with friendship. How about you? What do you think when it comes to friendship? I’d love to hear your thoughts!