After reading the novel, Leviathan by Paul Auster this past week and attending a friend’s 40th birthday party over the weekend, I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship.
What is friendship?
What is a good friend?
Do you have friends that can last a lifetime?
Those types of questions have been going around in my mind and since I’m coming up on my 40th birthday next month as well….I believe this something I wanted to take a look at.
Here are some of things, I’ve learned about friendship.
Friends can create a greater bond than the bond you have with your siblings. I can honestly (maybe to a fault, here) write that I have felt closer to a couple of my friends than some of my brothers and sisters. (I’m the last in a family of eight.)
Also, I realize that you won’t always be friends with your brothers or sisters even though you are tied together in that family.
Next, I’ve learned that friends can disappoint you and you will disappoint friends. This can hurt and rupture many friendships because we placed some expectations on our friends that we can’t truly live up to ourselves.
However, the key is when a friend disappoints you or when you disappoint a friend can you talk to them about it. Or can they talk to you about it and both parties truly listen to each other and try to correct the disappointment.
If you can that’s real friendship. If not, then it’s not friendship or that person was only meant to be (or you) a friend for a certain time period in each other’s lives.
Next, people’s perceptions of you can color everything about your friendship: good or bad. If someone perceives you at this…it can either create a bond or change a friendship forever.
For example, I remember before I became a Christian I had quite a few friends who were into astrology and numerology (I was into astrology for a few years as well) and after that found out my birthday was in August, they would ask me if I was a Leo. And when I told my birthday was on the 31st and I was a Virgo, their entire facial expression and demeanor would change. And I knew intuitively, they were not going to be my friend.
I guess being a Leo would have created a friendship, but being a Virgo made me incompatible as their friend. Go figure!
Now that I’m a Christian and a Conservative (A Black Conservative, OMG!!!! You not suppose to be that in modern American culture) and their perceptions of what those types of people represent have now colored any chance of having a friendship.
Next, I’ve learned that being a friend is a two-way street. If you are always calling or tracking down your friend or everytime you invite them to do something together and they either make an excuse or say get with them another time, then I must write that’s not a real friendship. It’s only going one way and that will lead to nothing but hurt and disillusionment about friendship.
People who genuinely want to be your friend will find time to develop that friendship. Even if you see each other infrequently. I’ve seen in my own life with a friend of mine who is a big time lawyer. This friend is extremely busy…but he always finds some to talk to me and make a connection. I’ve made an attempt to keep a connection with him even though he has a busy lifestyle. I’m extremely grateful for our friendship.
Next, I’ve learned that even Christian friends can turn away from you and are just as fickle as friends who are not Christian. I must admit I was a little naive about this lesson. But I have learned this one the hard way.
People are people (regardless of religious beliefs or not) and are fickle. One minute they like you and the next they can hate you. However, I’ve learned that sometimes it’s not about you as a person…but what you stand for or represent something that people don’t want to face in their lives.
Lastly, I’ve learned that a friend can not share every interest with you. People have their own passions and sometimes they are completely different from yours.
For example, I’m a big reader of novels. It’s one of my main passions (besides listening to music and the Spurs). But, I know most of my friends can’t even remember the last novel they read and their frame of reference is with movies instead. I’m not a huge movie buff either. But that doesn’t mean we still can’t have a friendship. The key is having a common ground in things we do share in the friendship and strengthen that bond instead of worrying about the interests we don’t share. And then find other friends that do share that particular interest and cultivate those friendships.
Those are some of my thoughts about friendship. I’m realizing now that friendships are extremely important and to have friends one must a be good friend.