This week I’m going to create a series called “The Power of Humanity“. I will choose a few topics to focus on and expand upon them. The first of which, is friendship.
I have been struggling with the concept of friendship the past few months. Trying to understand the boundaries, the necessity and the impact that friends can have on our lives. I would be lying if I said that friendship is no longer an enigma to me, but I also feel as though I have a bit more of an understanding.
I have good friends, bad friends and everything in between. What I have found is, that friendship itself is both selfless and selfish. Before you go off stating that I am just talking about a bunch of canceling out jibberish, here me out.
One of my best friends recently told me when I was discussing the concept of friendship that: “You meet people for a reason, a season or a lifetime.”
This sounded trite to me at first, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.
Friendship is a give and take. We need our friends at times and our friends need us at other times. Sometimes the “take” is much more than the “give”, which depending on the giver, they can either handle being a support structure, or they cannot. I will admit that given my life the last two years, I’ve done much more taking than giving (and to my dearest friends I apologize profusely). However, I think they know that I will be happy to reciprocate that in turn.
Best friends, Close friends and Acquaintances
I can divide my friends into three categories and then I divide acquaintances into three subcategories:
1. Best friends
2. Close friends
a. Those that I need to associate with for networking reasons
b. Those that I don’t like, but need to keep an eye on (they say keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer)
c. Those that I care about, but don’t know well
Aside from the obvious (family), there are nine people in this world that I would lay down my life for. Two of which I almost never speak with anymore for one reason or another, but I still hold them very strong as a friend and though they might not know it, I’d do anything for them.
There are is a large group of people that I would help out if they were in need and reached out to me. These are people that I consider close friends but perhaps not my best friends. Then there are acquaintances that I am associated with, respect and consider them good people. However, these people have either not had enough contact with me or have not attempted to communicate with me enough to gain the respect that a close friend deserves.
Why have friends?
A simple, but extremely complicated question.
1. They understand how you think. True friends, know how you tick psychologically. They can temper you and can help you make a decision that your own perspective prevents you from seeing.
2. Friends lift you up. In a time of need, friends know what makes you happy, they know how to help change your mood. (Consequently, if friends become enemies, they also know your weaknesses.)
3. Life long friends shape your life. Friends that you have had for most of your life, shape your interests, your social interactions and teach you about important life skills.
4. Friends can help you define your priorities. The old saying “birds of a feather flock together” is true. You will tend to attract to people similar to you. Your friends can help you protect yourself because they also fall into the same traps you do.
5. They prevent loneliness. Loneliness can be painful, we are social creatures.
6. They support you through thick and thin. As time goes on, we are always pruning our friendship tree here and there. It’s the branches that are there through all the pruning that are your strongest friends. They will be there for you no matter what you do or what happens.
The reality is, we need friendship. Even those that claim they don’t need it – yep… they need it. They are just too stubborn to admit it.
Friends play a key role in our ability to be individuals, a community and a society as a whole. If you have friends, cultivate the ones that cultivate you and remember, they say to ‘Do unto others as you’d have done to yourself’. That does not mean you should be doing harm to those that have done it to you… your job is not to pay people back for the wrong doings they do. That is up to God. But if you have a friend who is there for you, through thick and thin, be there for them through their hardest times and they will carry you through their (and your) happy times as well.
What do your friends mean to you?