Sunday, February 17, 2013

You've got a Friend in Me

All my life friendship has been a huge theme in my life. Who likes me, who hates me, not enough friends, too many friends, are we more than friends? Are we parting ways? Is it legal to befriend a penguin? It's something we deal with everyday. Keeping in touch with people enough but not too much.... all these silly issues that really aren't a big deal in the bigger picture.

Unfortunately, friends are an important part of life, though. We need them as we develop, in order to form relationships and learn how to interact with people. We need to work with them in the future at school and usually at work. It's all so important and yet, friendships come and go. I know mine do. I'll be super close friends with someone for years and suddenly we hit a bump in the road and it all falls apart. This is not just junior high stuff, I am talking about life. When we go out there and people don't learn to look past the little bumps. Heck, even the big bumps. Of course, there is a line between a friend with vices and a friend who treats you poorly, but for the most part, we don't forgive the things that shouldn't matter much. In the end, we'll all be on our death beds thinking, "Man, I wish ____ could be here. I just want to say I am sorry/I forgive ____ before I die." That may sound melodramatic but it becomes more important each year.

I don't mean to say friends are the most important people in our lives, though. I grew up with either none or very few at times and that had its own benefits. There's certainly no shame in being a loner. The only people who don't like it are people that you don't want to be with anyway! So that's no bother. Of course, being a loner doesn't mean you necessarily hate being with people. Every day I learn to appreciate people more, myself.

On the other hand, having friends means there are people out there with a hold on you. You begin to care how they feel about you and when they get angry or hurt or upset at you, you can easily begin to blame yourself or let them abuse you. This is risky, particularly if you are the more easygoing type. Friendship is certainly a two-way rode. Acceptance doesn't mean accepting everything a person does to hurt you but it does mean accepting everything that  the person but deal with in their own life. This is the challenge of companionship. Thus, we find those we are compatible with and who can tolerate the difficulties of being with us. Not someone who says, "I put up with A, so you should appreciate me!" or "I'll put up with B but if it becomes inconvenient or frustrating, I'm out!" What you have to expect and look for in people is, "I understand you're like C, I can learn to love that about you. I won't deny that it's difficult but you're worth it." Something along those lines. This is how you know the difference between someone being your friend with an ulterior motive or a disinterested party and someone who will stand by you no matter what and therefore, you should commit time and effort into your friendship.

I don't know, just seems like the right way to do it to me!

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