I once read that in seeking to have great friends we need to learn to be one. How true indeed!
In reality though, despite all your good efforts to be a true friend, other people tend to just take advantage of our efforts or is that just my experience?
Human beings generally tend to seek ‘what is in there for me’ attitude. For as long as that mindset is underlying any relationship, it is unlikely that the relationship will blossom into true friendship.
What is friendship?
The Collins dictionary defines a friend as a chum, companion, comrade, confidant, crony, familiar, intimate, pal, partner, playmate, soul mate; and friendship as affection, affinity, alliance, amity, attachment, harmony, intimacy, love, rapport, regard.
All the right kind of words that makes us nod affirmatively.
Carefully considering these terms makes me come up with a simple definition for friendship as a relationship between two or more persons in which there is a personal commitment to relate to the other in a selfless manner and with positive regard. This definition in itself may not be all inclusive but for the purpose of this discussion, it just suffices.
To an extent, friendship is largely a conscious process, but there is an unconscious component involved because the act itself constantly undergoes appraisal in the minds of the participants.
Our speech and actions gives others the benefit of appraising the intents of our hearts to an extent. why not trying to make this topic a deeply intellectual one, I believe that it is an area of our lives we identify with. Humans are social beings who seek out relationships at various levels. Our need for the different aspects of friendship tends to vary at different stages of our lives. That brings me to another quality of friendship which is its elasticity. Friends should be able to respect other people’s need for a breath of fresh air. Or else the relationship becomes a choking experience rather than an enjoyable one. This in itself is an unhealthy sign.
Personally, I have a lot of acquaintances but sadly not friends as such. I choose to class my relationships as such because this enables me to see people for who and what they are. With great expectations come great disappointments!
Being there for the other is one quality of friendship I consider hugely, this may not be for you but I believe that it is important to surround ourselves with persons who have the right kind of qualities which we personally consider as endearing in a relationship. This is a difficult process and one that we continually work at.
If I may quote a known blogger, David Winer, he identifies the difference between coercion and friendship:
…….“When a friend changes you can find the bond that’s connecting you at a deeper level. The surface stuff isn’t a good thing to depend on. Physical bodies change as they grow. So do emotional bodies and intellectual ones. Take a deep breath. People move, life is more like a wild dance than a ceremony. You just can’t tell what’s coming next.”
So if you find yourself trying to coerce someone into not changing, then dear reader, that is not friendship, that is coercion………
Some people are pretty blessed in that they have great friends but for those of us still searching, my little advice is that you get to know yourself well enough to say that you are a true friend before expecting some great friends to come along your life path.
On that note, I know that there are truly great people who will make us true friends out there just keep searching, one day you will find a true friend.