“If you find one good friend in life, consider yourself lucky.” I’m sure I’m not the only one whose parents, grandparents or guardians have repeatedly been telling them this since childhood. As this quote rings in my head and I apply it to my life, I can say that I am extremely fortunate to have enough friends in my life to form a tight knit circle. However, I notice that certain people seem to consider just anyone a friend. What exactly is a friend?
I looked up the word friend on Dictionary.com and I cropped out the following definitions:
I found that this website best embodied the qualities I believe constitute a friend so keep this is mind as I elaborate……
People tend to mistaken acquaintances for their friends quite often. First and foremost, simply knowing someone is not enough to make them your friend. Just because you worked with, went to school with, lived on the same block as, or you know Ted’s brother’s cousin’s friend means absolutely nothing. So what if you have exchanged a couple words or even happened to have a decent conversation with them upon running into them at an event? So what if you had been introduced to them by a mutual friend…if this person is not someone you have any common bonds with, can trust and confide in or someone who truly cares about your overall well-being, they are not your friend. Also, if this person is unable to express those same sentiments towards you, it’s not a friendship. Friendships, just like relationships, are a two way street so it’s important for you guys to have a mutual understanding of your role in each other’s lives. This way, one person is not putting in any more effort than the other and complaining about the fact that they are being taken advantage of by their so called friend that takes what’s provided but makes no effort to give anything.
A friend is not defined by the amount of time you spend speaking to that person. It bothers me when people get annoyed with the fact that I may not want to text every second of the day, followed by a phone call every night to then hang out with you every single weekend. Yes, I may curve you every now and then, but this does not mean I am no longer your friend. I love you and you don’t have to read into me singing Big Sean’s IDFWU with emphasis because you think that I may singing about you. I just need you to notice that 1) I do have other friends and family that occupy my time 2) I have a life other than you 3) I value alone time and 4) just because you and a few of your other friends have separation anxiety when you don’t speak to each other doesn’t mean everyone else is the same exact way.
I must admit there are friends that I happen to speak to more often than others. The explanations for that vary between them calling at appropriate times, a need to vent about a situation or the ability to come up with topics that are simply very interesting and more stimulating than the average small talk. However, I have a couple of friends who I’ve gone some time without speaking to, not because there are any fallouts or issues, but simply because we are handling our business and striving for the greatness we both want to achieve. I appreciate being able to have a date where we spend hours talking and laughing as if we had been communicating daily. It somewhat solidifies the friendship knowing that distance and time isn’t strong enough to break our bond. Ultimately, whether or not I speak to you more than 3x per week isn’t what matters to me. The true test lies in my times of need. If you are there at my lowest moments because your concern is more about me than about finding out the latest news to gossip, then you are my friend. At the end of the day, befriending an individual simply based off the benefits you see yourself receiving doesn’t constitute a real friendship. It shouldn’t just be about gains but that friend should be helping knock down every obstacle as they come along.
As beautiful as true friendships are, unfortunately some do happen to go downhill. The cause of the downfall not only determines how the parties involved would act, but also serves as a testament to the strength of the friendship. For example, if Lucy and Karen’s friendship ended because communication fell off and they outgrew each other, they most likely would still be cordial with each other, just not as close minus the hanging out, updates on lives, etc. Their fallout indicates a weak relationship because neither enough cared that much to keep in contact with each other even if once a year. However, if Karen is talking shit to Sarah about Lucy, then this friendship would have ended on bad terms and could potentially result in petty behavior. In this particular situation, Lucy obviously took the friendship more seriously than the Karen, if she even considered it to be a friendship at all. This led to an unequal investment of effort and genuine care and eventually the death of a bond Lucy once considered dear to her.
Regardless of the cause, when a relationship between two friends go downhill, information acquired over the years should remain private. It does not need to be exposed. As I watched the latest episode of Love and Hip Hop, it upset me to see how Rasheeda’s friendship with Kalenna turned out. For those of you who don’t watch the show, their friendship went down south when Rasheeda was told that Kalenna had been speaking ill of her. An attempt to get some clarification turned into an argument where they threw back and forth the most sensitive topics about each other. I won’t even lie to you. That shit got me so tight. This argument made obvious the lack of trust within the friendship as the benefit of the doubt wasn’t given when accusations were denied. Furthermore, I don’t care whether we are friends or not, if you were once special to me at one point in my life, I won’t ever bad mouth you. IF I was present in your life during a time in which you needed me the most, I will be considerate enough to not ever have you relive that moment. I see it this way: Life has its way of working things out so I just let it play its course. Arguing does absolutely nothing but cause me to be stressed and grow gray hairs. In the words of my boo Tamar Braxton herself, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”