"What About Friends?" What is the real truth?
Friends are often times a person's lifeline to solving problems. But is it that simple?
True friends are the best, but by whose definition?
My blog posts, at times, are a combination of my opinions, and well as facts. A great deal of time is spent each week researching the topics I discuss in order to provide you with factual and usable information. Whether you use it, it your choice. I also take great care to clarify when something is my opinion. What about friends, and what is the real truth, is a topic of great importance, because we all hold our friends in high regard. Friends are a very important part of all our lives, however, for everything in life that has a positive side, there is also a negative side. When it comes to friends, so many are misled or disillusioned by them. Ask yourself, how many friendships have you had in your life that ended for those exact reasons? If you want to be honest, I can tell you we all have. It is said that when we die, most of us will be able to count our TRUE friends on one hand. Do you think that is true? I believe it is. However, I guess that might depend on how you define the word "Friends." Many people have a different perception of what a friend actually is, or means to them. That becomes important because of the expectations you have of those you call a friend. Make no mistake. Everyone who has someone they call a friend has expectations of that person, and the reverse applies. The word expectations is used to define what you expect from your friend(s), NOT what society in general expects. Therefore, a person's expectations will vary. Some things in life cannot be lumped into the phrase, "society as a whole." Friendship is not a general concept, but a personal one. With that said, the main problems that arise between friends is a direct result of what each person expects from those they call their friend that have not been met, by their standards. We often times forget that another's expectations in most cases may be different from yours. Therefore, are you being fair to them?
Before we begin, and this is what works for me. You must choose what works for you. For me, I have what I consider the perfect mix of those I call my friends. Let me explain what that means, and tell me if yours is even close, and if so, do you live by it? It is very easy to say any set of words, but it becomes a much more difficult task to live by them. I treasure my friends because our friendship meets my expectations. Meaning, what I want in a friend. What are those things?
If I want an opinion, I will ask for it,
Should I ask for it I will be truthful in what I tell them, and listen to their opinion, why shouldn't I, I asked for it,
Now for the best part. Once my friends give me their opinion, I consider all my options and make MY OWN choice. Once made, they no longer harp on me about it, but they support my decision and help where they can. Should I make the wrong choice and it backfires, they are there to help me through it, and at no time do I hear the words, "I TOLD YOU SO.".
Never was it said that people like to be told they were wrong, and some fool says,
"I TOLD YOU SO."
There you have it. That is my opinion, and my idea of a good friend. Let's move on.
A DEEPER LOOK:
Before we continue, we must state certain parameters, such as acquaintances versus friends. The word friend is used more widely these days and holds a different meaning than that of decades ago. For example, I believe I have many acquaintances, but few friends. That is the way those two words were thought of decades ago. In today's society most believe that everyone is their friend, and that is the farthest thing from the truth. Remember that we discussed expectations. Well .... that is where the problem begins. When people refer to someone as a friend, they believe that person will support them, be there for them, and be HONEST with them among other things. In a perfect world, that is probably true. However, we do not live in a perfect world. There is a quote I came up with years ago;
"No expectations, no disappointments."
Simply put, if you do not expect anything from someone, you will not be disappointed when you do not get it. A simple concept that works almost flawlessly. Remember this;
HURT IS ALWAYS A PRODUCT OF EXPECTATIONS, OR LACK THEREOF.
Each time, and every time. I am not going to quote the dictionary meaning for a friend or acquaintance. I will tell you the real word definition, or what it should be, and how most people perceive it. It is quite simple.
A friend is someone you can trust in every regard. Someone you can tell anything to and know it stays between you. Someone who will not undermine you, give you an honest opinion, (not theirs), and follow through by supporting you no matter what decision you make, as well as be there for you when you fall. A person you can rely on.
An acquaintance is someone you are acquainted with. This person you would not share the most intimate details of your life with yet alone as their opinion regarding your personal life. The role they play in your life has much less meaning as it relates to your personal life. Acquaintances can be a family member, a co-worker, a friend of a friend, or other. Also, decades ago, friends were more gender specific. Meaning, females had female friends they confided in, and the same applied to men. In today's society the gender walls do not apply nearly as much. Females are close friends with males, and the reverse applies. This causes a problem in many relationships depending on how people were raised, and other human factors such as JEALOUSY. A person is not a bad person because they have jealous traits, unless they take them to the extremes. Jealousy is a normal human emotion, and everyone has a certain level of jealousy inside of them. To prove this, I ask you another question. Have you ever met anyone that claims they are not jealous that has never displayed a jealous trait? Smart money would bet on a no answer.
LET'S GET EVEN DEEPER:.
How many of you have been betrayed, or what you perceive as betrayal, by a friend. Either they repeated something you told them and asked them not to, or started dating your boyfriend after you broke up? Breakups are a funny thing. In many cases, one person no longer wants the other, but they also do not want anyone to have them, ESPECIALLY a friend. Isn't that a kick in the pants? However, people will take that action personally. If they break up with someone, in their eyes, it is not acceptable for their friend to date them. We must also take into account the human condition. I talk so much about that term because it is an extremely important term from which people and there actions, or lack of action stem from. Jealously and envy. You would think your friend would be happy for your good fortune, only to find that they are jealous of you, or envy you for it. A co-worker at work who you consider a friend backstabs you when you are both going for the same promotion. The list goes on and on. I ask you, are these your true friends?
Times have changed. Decades ago, people were friends for decades, mostly because the opportunities were not as available years ago as they are today. People stayed closer to home. People did not move as much. Therefore, kids were friends through grammar school, high school, and even college. In today's society, people move more frequently, so their friend base changes. So stay in contact, most do not. Did you know that only 2% of childhood friends remain friends? More young adults are going away to college, meeting new "FRIENDS," and usually staying and finding work far from home. I am NOT saying that these people aren't true friends. They may be, but they are not going to be lifetime friends. Not in the true sense of the words friends. Life is busy, life moves on, and people move on because in today's world, everyone's life is always in a constant state of change..
TRUTH AND REALITY:
Since all of these components are constantly changing the parameters, most times a person's base of friends will not settle in until they are older and more settled in life. Welcome to today's world. The other factor to consider is men and women handle friendships differently. One of my best friends lives close to me. We do not talk much and appreciate the times when we can get together. He is like family to me. However, as a rule, men do not require the physical or verbal contact that females do. Why is that? If you read any of my earlier posts you would know that men are based more around logic, whereas women are based around emotions. How many times have you seen two men get up from the dinner table and use the men's room together? To touch on one more fact. In today's society, as I stated, friendships are also less gender dependent. I have more female friends then I do male friends. However, I look at them differently. I never lose sight of the fact that people get jealous quite easily. Therefore, those friendships are different, especially since most of my female friends are married, and yes, I know their husbands.
Most people are familiar with the Harris Poll. Here is the link. The Harris poll is one of the most respected and accurate sources of data. You can read all the stats if you wish. To summarize it, In 2017, only 33% of Americans surveyed said they were happy. This survey was conducted with 2,202 Americans ages 18 and up. The survey was not design to find out why. My point is, 67% were unhappy. That means there is a greater risk that one or more of your friends are unhappy, and maybe you are. Why is this important? Because it speaks to the very concept of this blog post. As stated, most friends do not hurt you intentionally. Most times it is due to their own state of mind, and lack of ability to find their own happiness, which could be caused for a variety of different reasons. Let me give you an analogy. Although different, it is the concept you need to focus on. Think back when you were a child and were sick. You hated the fact that you could not go out and play with your friends, you were jealous and envious. However, if you spoke to a friend t