“Anything that takes a lifetime to build and seconds to destroy, deserves your complete attention.”
Here is an excerpt of the definition of friendship on Wikipedia:
“Friendship is a relationship of mutual affection between people. It is a stronger form of interpersonal bond than an association, and has been studied in academic fields such as communication, sociology, social psychology, anthropology and philosophy.
Although there are many forms of friendship, some of which may vary from place to place, certain characteristics are present in many types of such bonds. Such characteristics include affection, kindness, love, virtue, sympathy, empathy, honesty, atllruism, loyalty, generosity, forgiveness, mutual understanding and compassion and enjoyment of each other’s company, trust, and the ability to be oneself, express one’s feelings to others, and make mistakes without fear of judgment from the friend. Friendship is an essential aspect of relationship building skills.”
I believe that having friends in your life is one of the most valuable riches you can obtain. As with most things in life it is the quality and not the quantity that matters. In times of social media we often pride ourselves with the many “friends” or “followers” we have, sometimes forgetting that they can never be a substitute for real friendship.
In my youth, my Sturm und Drang period, I was probably so cool that I could have peed ice cubes.
Wherever I went, people knew me and liked having me around. On the street I was greeted by everyone and I thought I had many of friends. Maybe that’s the way it is when you’re young and inexperienced.
In the course of my life most of these people (I very deliberately do not call them friends) have left my life – and that is a good thing.
I have learned some hard lessons in my life and in my daily practice as an iEQ9 Enneagram coach, it helps me to integrate these lessons into my work. As I moved around a lot in my early years, I do not have the classic childhood friends, as they moved all over the world and at the age of 12 I was not much of a letter writer. But I made a few wonderful friends in my ´life and one or the other is even still there (I have known one of my best friends for 32 years) and I am proud of that, cultivating these friendships. They are people I can always rely on, people who are not only in my life when I am well. They are not good-weather friends that abandon you when you are in need.
But friendship also means saying ‘no’ sometimes. A real friendship is like any good relationship you have in life. You experience ups and downs and you have to put in the effort to keep them healthy and alive. Friendships, like many other things in life, are about balance – not about settling scores. But it is a give and take and if a friendship gets out of balance and stays out of balance, you should take a close look and reevaluate.
Sometimes you don’t even notice that someone in the friendship takes proportionally much and gives proportionally little. This sneaks in at some point as a self-evident fact and becomes the “normality”. This is when it becomes unhealthy and even toxic. It is a challenge to realise this and even more difficult to restore the balance. It is not impossible but it requires the desire and will to make this friendship whole again from both sides.
Some people, some friends are only meant to accompany us for a certain period of our lives and others remain faithful to the end. Here, too, it is similar to love, feelings may change and sometimes die…
“It only takes a second to destroy someones’s faith in you. It takes a lifetime to build… don’t take it for granted!”