Been sickly lately, tired of running from pulmonary rehab to occupational therapy and still trying to maintain a sense of normalcy…but through all of my ups and downs especially since my car accident last year and cancer scares, I truly am learning more about the people I have allowed into my life. I believe we all have friends at different levels, various stages of our lives, for different reasons. And I think with the use of so many different social media avenues, we have allowed varying degrees of friends into our lives. These days the meaning of ‘friend’ has changed so much. With sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – we call people friends who we chatted to once online and sent a friend request to. These people are our every day, surface friends. We may share a laugh, comment on a funny post, like photos, etc. We have friends who are acquaintances, former or current co-workers, neighbors – those you may see on a regular basis. Some of these friends we may have briefly connected because of work, school, community or travel. Friends from a wine club, photography club, book club, running club, etc., may fit nicely into this surface level of friendship.
We have like-minded friends, those are like lifestyle friends and enjoy many of the same things. More social common interests bind these type of friendships. You can go out, talk for hours and still enjoy their company. Most of these type of friends are there in the good times. These two levels of friendships include people you know well enough to talk with should you meet up somewhere unexpected or offer you a ride as long as it isn’t out of their way. Share a meal with, let you borrow their tools, drive you to the airport if you asked, as long as it’s a reasonable hour. They will judge you. I have learned not to expect too much from these friends. All are needed in the days of our lives. I have been hurt, burned by many people who I thought were more than just a mere friend. So I have had to learn to shift my perspective and change my expectation of them. Some of those friends that in the past, I thought would come to my aid but didn’t are now my feel-good, lifestyle friends. We are friends with each other because of proximity, our lifestyles and really enjoy each other’s company. I realize that these friends of are actually a ton of fun. And they will most likely be the first ones who will invite me to visit, go on vacation, and get together for dinner, etc., when I recover from the life crisis I am currently experiencing.
Then there are those true blue friends…you know those friends who don’t judge you, are there for you in good times and bad. They know your weaknesses and strengths, yet still accept you for who you are. They can be honest with you (and you them) even when it is something you don’t want to hear without it destroying the friendship. They are willing to tell you the truth, and not just what they think you want to hear. Your friendship may have been through rough times, but it has not been destroyed. Instead it may have become stronger. A true friend does not abandon you when you need them. While a basic friend may only be around you when it is convenient for them, a true friend will go out of their way to help you and stand by you when others don’t. Your friendship is more than surface level, its skin deep. These friends are the ones you may not see them for years, but time doesn’t change the relationship, the love you have for one another. You pick up exactly where you dropped off. They are like part of your family and sometimes even closer than your own blood family. They are a part of you. A best friend, or true friend is someone who knows your faults and loves you anyway. A true friend is unique, if you have one count yourself lucky – after years of going to school, working on careers, having kids, growing your family, divorce, sickness, or one of life’s other issues – you call them up and ask for a huge favor and they drop whatever they are doing no matter the hour to help. Both of you pick up where you left off as if only a single day has past. They are the people that at your funeral cry because you are gone, at your birthday parties they are the ones that stay after everyone else is gone to clean up because it’s your birthday and you shouldn’t have to clean up, they are the ones that know when you are having a tough go of things to just stop by with a meal or a drink or just a smile to see that you are okay. It would never occur to them to judge anything you do.
You don’t really know a person is a true friend until the relationship has been tested. You may think they are a true friend, but you only know for sure when you go through a rough patch and they are still there for you. If you are lucky you have at least one…I have learned I have more than one. I am a lucky lady indeed. You may never know who your true friends are until life throws you an unwelcome curve ball or two…or three. When this happens and the friends or family you thought would help carry you through don’t, you go through stages of grief. It’s devastating. As time passes, you can either be resentful, bitter and heartbroken, or you can be so incredibly thankful that you’ve learned a valuable life lesson. I am learning to be more grateful and forgiving. The people who do step forward to be by your side are your true friends. You’re blessed to find out who these people are, so love them up. Some people will never have this luxury; they’ll spend their entire lives surrounded by people who aren’t their true friends.
Three simple levels I tend to believe when it comes to being friends and sharing news:
1. A friend, acquaintance is someone who you tell about it weeks later.
2. A lifestyle, close friend calls to talk and finds out about it.
3. A true friend doesn’t need to be told because they are already in the kitchen making soup because they were there when you started getting sick.
Once I was able to make a full emotional and logical shift in the way I viewed my friendships, I experienced appreciation for all my friends! I now feel absolute caring, love and joy for all of them. There’s no hidden resentment or underlying sadness. I feel blessed that I have learned this life lesson.
My truest bluest friends will always come first in my heart and life. I also love my lifestyle friends, because as I heal, I love having a wider circle of friends who will go to wineries, bars, games, have dinner, or go for a walk.
You can eat and drink together, talk and laugh together, enjoy life together, but you are only real friends when you have also cried together. Love to all. ♥