When is a friend a friend?
This is a big question for many of us, and one I think many of us struggle with from time to time
We have friends. Some we’ve known for ages, some more recent. Some who think they are our friends when we don’t think they are, and some who we think are friends but that actually maybe are really just people we know
So what is a friend? Maybe easiest to think about how we behave as someone’s friend ourself.
For me the most important part of being a friend is being reliable If I say I’ll do something I try very hard to do it. If I can’t, then I feel really guilty and say so as soon as I can. I’m definitely not a perfect friend but I know that there are responsibilities associated with claiming someone as a friend.
It means being there for them. It may mean listening to them speak when it’s not something we are interested in ourself. It may mean postponing something we have planned to do, in order to help out
In return, my friends, the good friends, would do the same for me. I hope
And that’s the challenge, those two words “I hope”. Is it better to say “I trust”?
If a friend is a friend, they’ll be there for me just as I’m there for them.
Sometimes we notice that our friends actually are less and less present, except when they want or need something. Sometimes they just become unreliable, cancel at short notice, forget things, be late, that sort of thing.
It happens to all of us sometimes of course. It’s when we see a pattern developing that we need to notice. When we fit our lives around the friend over and over again. When we can’t remember the last time the friend put us first or did anything to help us.
Maybe that’s when it’s time to see that friendship differently. Actually, to “see” the friendship for what it is.
And step back a bit.
We still know them. We still like them - if we didn’t we wouldn’t even be wondering, we’d just stop seeing them!
But maybe we need to focus on more equal friendships for a little bit.