Different personality types make different friends. I’m not the kind of friend that will go out and party with you voluntarily. But I may let myself get dragged along, if it means so much to you.
I’m not the person who will spontaneously go for a weekend trip with a dozen of their closest friends. I don’t have a dozen closest friends.
And I won’t chew your ear off with my latest exciting tales for hours on end never letting you get a word in sideways.
I’ll listen to your tales, though.
I’ll listen to your worries and offer a shoulder and I will be there for you when you need to me and beyond that. I will go out of my way to help you, if you need helping.
I’m the kind of friend, who will stand beside you through any storm that may assault us. It’s hard to lose me, but not impossible. I have rarely had to let go of a friend and mostly it happened when they betrayed me in some way or used my friendship and my capacity to forgive one too many times.
Sometimes I have to walk away, even though it hurts and I hate it.
I had to learn to say no, too. For the longest time I’ve let so-called friends just do as they please and, worst of all, take me for granted. It’s one of the worst things you can do to someone, especially a friend or a member of your family, take them for granted.
If I am there for someone, I am because I chose to, not because someone expects me to.
My ideal of friendship differs to the ideal that others may have. That’s okay. I try to offer as much as I can in the ways I am capable of and I won’t expect the same in return, because you may not be able to give it.
Now, what are friends for?
Good times, bad times, fun times, sad times. All in equal measure one hopes, and the good and fun times should outweigh those others. Yes, they should and ideally they will, because life is too damn short to spend much time with the bad and the sad times. Get through and out and move on.
Friends share journeys and will walk a path for a period of time with you. Few are there to stay, so cherish them as long as they are around.
Are friends there to make you happy?
No, I honestly don’t think that it is anyone’s task to make you happy. It’s your own. Not mine. I will share your joy and happiness and I wish you nothing but. I will think of you on your birthdays, and if I can, be with you to celebrate, bring a gift and make you smile.
I will share your grief as much as I am capable of, sharing your pain is more difficult, if it is not my pain or it is not related to me. It’s not that I don’t care, but the ability to relate to another’s pain is diminished for all of us by way of our very human nature.
I will worry about you when I see you struggle and offer my help, if I have a means to offer it. But all good thoughts in the world won’t alleviate your struggles, because my thoughts are immaterial.
I will catch you, if you fall, be your crutch until you can walk by yourself again. But you can’t keep falling and you will need to walk eventually, because there is only so much I can do and it may never be enough.
I may have lost a friend today. Only time will tell, if that is indeed the case.
When any kind of relationship with someone goes off course, I always look at myself first before looking at the other person. I do that without thinking or considering the circumstances.
If the relationship has had rocky times before and the blame wasn’t all mine before either, I have to look outside the current situation and see the whole picture.
It’s strange how some relationships or friendships enjoy smooth sailing all the way and either you stick with one another or your drift apart at some point and wave goodbye with a “well met”. But those that aren’t smooth sailing and that get stuck between a rock and a hard place more than once, if not a number of times, also seem to be the ones we cling to more fervently.
We’ve been through so much together that giving up now would seem foolish and a waste of past effort. But the hard spots we hit were pretty tough indeed and maybe we’re just not meant to know each other for the rest of our lives even though we once thought that we would.
It is that, which makes it so hard to walk away.
I’ve come a long way in a very short amount of time. No matter how hard I sometimes find it to confront people or issues, I am not shying away from it anymore and I am straightforward in matters that I used to circumnavigate in the past. I expect no less in return.
If you need me, tell me. If you want something from me, tell me. If there is anything you need me to do, tell me. It’s the only way a friendship can survive.
You need to give me the chance to say yes or no. I need to be able to consider my reaction and not be left to react to my own assumptions or past experiences, which may have scarred me.
One thing a friendship will not survive is resentment.
You can be angry at someone for what they’ve done to you or how they treated you or the way they spoke to or about you. But you can’t resent them for who they are or the life they live.
Nobody, as far as I am aware anyway, has ever been jealous or envious of how lucky I am or appear to be, for the fact that I never needed to struggle, that I travel, I have a job, that I am positive, have a family and parents.
I know all of it and have even written of all of this in my blog. I have also written about how grateful I am, how I don’t take anything for granted, how I appreciate it all and how I make choices every single day that ensure things are not only staying that way, but improve on those little things I am not happy with.
I know no true struggle, only through second hand. Maybe it’s a karmic reward for something I did right in my previous lives. I wouldn’t know. Or maybe it’s just the fact that I am always positive and even when I’m not I don’t stay that way for long.
But to resent me for that is pretty low and hurtful, because I’ve not done anything wrong. Yes, there’s always room to be a better friend. No question.
I have many friends that live overseas; a million miles away it feels. I see their lives go by on Facebook. Of their struggles I see little unless they put them out there. I wish each of them only the best, because nothing else would ever even cross my mind.
Your friends only have your best interest in mind, if not they are not your friends. They can’t ensure your happiness and may have little to contribute to it. But they can ensure your sanity and can try and enable you to pursue your own happiness and your dreams. They can encourage you and kick you, if you need a kick.
They are there to talk you off the ledge and provide a shoulder to cry on and they’ll let you know when you’ve done enough crying and need to get back to it.
Friends hold your hands through thick and thin. They’ll make you laugh and kick anyone’s behind, who dares to make you cry. They don’t betray you, talk about you behind your back, but call you an idiot to your face, if it is warranted.
And you never truly say good bye to a friend, because it doesn’t matter where in the world you are or how far away you are from one another, when you get together again time and space will vanish and you’re back right where you left off.
They don’t resent you.
I don’t understand some of the struggles some of my friends go through. I can’t understand them, because I have never experienced similar struggles. But I don’t need to understand the specifics or the reasons, though reasons might help, if I were to attempt offering advice. I just need to be there and be a sounding board.
And I will, but not forever. Not if nothing ever gets better. Not if things only ever get worse. Not if you don’t fight for yourself, because I can’t fight for you and I can’t watch you drown.
I’ve tried to save you in the past and it almost cost me my own happiness. That is how far I was willing to go. But at some point you need to go the rest of the way by yourself.
Friends make sacrifices for one another, if they love each other enough. But there are limits. I never want to get to the point where I’ve reached the limit and can’t push any further.
If you can’t see my outstretched hand for what it is and instead slap it away, then I can’t do anything else.
This is not an attempt to vindicate myself. I am as flawed as the next person. But writing helps me to evaluate a situation and think more clearly.
The friendship ideal that I have applies to nobody as much as it does to myself. If I can’t live up to it, I have failed myself and my friend and that makes me want to cry. I can’t be blasé about it, no matter how much I sometimes want to be.
If you and I fight or have a disagreement, the friendship isn’t over. We’ll sort it out.
If we don’t see each other for years, the friendship isn’t over, because I will make sure to visit once more. And maybe you manage to visit me as well.
If I don’t hear from you in a while, I wonder how you are and blame myself for not writing more often. So I’ll email you and wait for your reply, which will make me smile once it arrives.
I won’t ever turn away from you, but I may step aside and wait to see how much I actually mean to you and if you are willing to fight for us just as I would and have fought for us.
I’m not letting you down intentionally, but if we can’t find a common ground and you chose to misunderstand me, then that is your choice.
If this is the end of our journey, I’ll let you go with a heavy heart. You’ll never be gone from my memory and I hope to be able to forgive you once and for all for everything that went wrong and forgive myself for letting it happen. Our path is paved with broken promises, which is my biggest regret. But I still wish you only happiness and strength, health and wealth and everything that seems to be so far out of your reach, because you don’t seem to know how to grasp it and hold onto it.
You can think of me as you wish, but I don’t write more than 2000 words lightheartedly on any subject. Let alone on friendship.
I’ve had friends, who owed me more than they realized, but I’ve never asked anyone to repay, because it goes against everything I believe in. I needn’t have given to begin with, but I only gave what was mine to give and I gave it freely.
Once we part ways, whatever debts may have been incurred are forgiven. In most friendships those “debts” even out over time and no one ever mentions it. In some friendships there is an imbalance. It may just be that imbalance that tips the scales and ends the friendship.
But I prefer not to call the shots before having given it a try.
I have lost very few friends that I don’t still miss every now and then; even those that ended in a crash are still mourned.
For what it’s worth, I’ve tried my best and I will miss you.
And I don’t regret having known you, because it did make me a better person.