Friendships are important. More so than people realize. Making one’s way through life without peers in whom to confide can be difficult. Some people do it, but even they would need to admit that there’s a significant downside and difficulty to it. It’s almost something that society expects, as well. The old prospect of being an external loner with no friends or family is a bygone concept, and some professional aspects of one’s life may even require friendships.
Ever try applying for a job that requires “personal” references? I’ve applied for jobs that have required ten of them. Imagine, when your known circle of immediate friends doesn’t even extend to ten, how badly you scramble to suddenly contact people you may not have chatted with in years in order to ask if they’d be willing to act as a reference for you? It can leave you feeling embarrassed, even if what friendships you do retain are no one’s business but your own.
Outside the employment arena, friendships are important for a number of reasons. Having friends teaches us how to associate and communicate with others, how to function outside the realm of our own mind and how to act and conform (for lack of a better word) within the boundaries of normal society. Whatever the hell “normal” is, these days.
A small problem that I’ve noticed, especially in recent years, is the sudden disappearance of a good number of people who would easily identify themselves as “friends.” You’ll notice that I refer to “them” as opposed to “us,” because although we can easily tell who we’re friends with or not, some of them may not feel the same. As a child, I can remember having a small circle of peers that I would easily identify as friends. As I got older and our respective personalities evolved and changed, these friends moved on, relationships were altered, old friends went and new friends came. But there were always a small handful who would stick around. Or so it seemed.
I recently read a quote online…. Light knows where I saw it; considering how much time I spend online researching my posts, it’s no surprise that I’d lose track. And I don’t even remember it verbatim but the gist of it is that some people aren’t loyal to you, they’re loyal to their need of you. Once their needs change, so does their loyalty. And this is an unfortunate truth that I’ve learned the hard way, especially in the past few years.
One good example I can think of is a particular friend (and obviously, I’ll omit names) who used to lean on me for all of their personal and professional problems. Never one to turn away a friend, I used to sit for long hours while this friend would vent their problems, fears, concerns and issues to me. I’m definitely not a medical professional and more often than not, I would simply be an ear to listen as opposed to trying to fix the problem.
I’ve never had an issue doing this for any of my friends when they’ve needed it. Hell, I once flew back home to help a close friend in need during one of the most difficult periods in their lives. We’re talking an expensive plane ticket, time away from my wife and kids and time off of work to go and help solve someone else’s problems. I can freely admit that I’m no saint, but one can surely admit that this at the very least falls under the category of a good friend. However, previous and subsequent visits have proven that this friend usually can’t find the means to make an effort to visit ME, despite the fact I may have no vehicle and no means to reach them.
I used the title “Fair Weather Friends” for this post and the literal definition of that term is for a friend who disappears on you when times are difficult. Although I’m referring to friendships in general, a unexpected side effect of the important difficulties I’ve dealt with in recent years have exposed these fair weather friends. The ones who were quick to turn silent once certain difficulties were brought to light. Or the ones who, despite being in close residential proximity, never return the effort that’s made to keep contact with them.
This is why I value the friendship I DO have and the ones that are maintained. The ones where we may not speak for a couple of weeks but then make a point of taking time to communicate and catch up. We stay involved with each other, even when life gets in the way. And we appreciate each other FOR each other; not for what we DO for each other. I still have some of those friendships. I appreciate and value them. You know who you are!
Yes, friendships are important. Social interactions and relationships help us to develop and grow and are an integral part of a person’s life. The important thing is to be cognizant of those fair weather friends and to be sure that you acknowledge and appreciate the important people in your life. Given the state of the world, this is more important than ever. Food for thought…☯️