Social media is a wonderful thing. It keeps us in touch with people that we might not hear about otherwise. We can get away with posting photos of what we’ve been up to, knowing that others will see them. We don’t have to make personal contact with lots of individuals about our news because they have already heard.
I think the term “friend” has taken on another meaning in recent years. A dictionary definition is “a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection”. I am not sure we would use that definition for all of the people we are friends with on, say, Facebook. What I find particularly strange is the people who friend request me because we have children in the same class, and continue not to make eye contact in the street! I can’t make sense of it at all.
We all have some special, close friends. Can we name the friends that we would do anything for? The ones that we would drop what we are doing and help them out if they called? Are these the friends that would do the same for us?
Do you have a flaky friend?
The flaky friend. I think most of us have one of these. The friend that we are really close to that suddenly drops out of our lives. They then come back when they want something. And the cycle goes on and on. This one I find really tricky. I was discussing it with a wise friend of mine, and her reaction was “Enjoy her when you can”. I do like that idea, but it hurts when I feel I have been “dumped” for a number of months.
What are the qualities we value most about our friends? I read a list of thirteen qualities here. The writer suggested that they fit into three main categories: integrity, caring and congeniality.
Integrity, caring and congeniality
We need to have trust in our friends, to know they will be honest with us and keep the confidences we have shared. Knowing that they are dependable and will do what they have said they will is another important aspect to a close friendship.
And I think we would all agree that a close friend will care about us. They will be with us in the good and the bad times, and will listen to us without making judgements. They will support us when we need it.
Being around people who help us to feel good about ourselves is another important aspect to friendship. Of course, our friends will have ups and downs, but if they always come to us with their moans and groans and we don’t ever have fun with them, is that a balanced friendship? If a friend can make us laugh even in our dark times, they help us to keep things in perspective. Laughing is good for the soul, and we can benefit from it in many situations.
Talking things through
Let’s be thankful for our amazing friends, the ones who we know will be there for us whenever we need them. They will also be grateful for our support.
Back to my flaky friend. Do I talk to her about how her absences make me feel? Do I detach myself emotionally so that I am not saddened when we don’t spend time together? Or do I simply remove my friendship and treat her as an acquaintance? I don’t have an answer. I’d love to know what you think, and what you have done in similar situations.
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