Friends. What would our lives be without our friends? As the saying goes, “one could not choose their relatives, but could their friends.”
Then why so much drama, heartbreak, and ultimately break-ups with the people WE CHOSE?
My personal experience, as a whole, is that there are various categories of friends:
Here are some I experienced personally (perhaps my experience is unique, but just in case it might ring a bell for someone else,) here are my unscientific, but heartfelt discoveries.
Disclaimer: If you always were, are and will be rich, good looking and sheltered this does not apply. However, sadly, while everyone seems to be your friend… only real life could tell, meaning the ups and the downs. The fairy tails are limited to a few.
My personal life took me down, and up, and down again (just as described in the first part of this blog which became a published book, “The Gypsy Saw Two Lives.”
What I didn’t talk about ever, was that these life experiences taught me the hard way who my real friends will always be.
There are a few categories. Here they are:
1. The friends of convenience.
You are neighbors, you bring each other food when the other is sick and your kids play together. In which case, you car-pull. One of you moves far away. You exchange first weekly phone calls, then monthly, which soon drops to a text here and there and… silence.
2. The friend in need.
Yes, definitely our nation, as a general rule, is generous. When one is in need, not only real friends, but strangers run to help. It happened to me and my family, and I felt loved unconditionally. However, in those hard times, when some “friends” determined I had nothing else to offer them, well, sadly, they found reasons to disappear. For example, suddenly they develop allergies to your dogs, cats…or your problems. The good news is that the friends in need, at least in my case, by far outnumbered the ones I lost. Perhaps they were not friends? Which brings to mind the possibility that my “judgement” might be in need of improvement…
3. Friends when you are not in need
So… I decided to raise from the ashes, just like the famous bird in the Greek legend, Phoenix (not like in Phoenix Arizona, whose newspaper is “The Republic of Arizona”. No, I was the “Phoenix bird,” who in spite of illness, raising two teens on my own, the suicide of my ex-husband, my daughters’ father, disability followed by loss of business, I was going to raise again to be the best that I could be and fulfill MY PURPOSE of being on this Planet.
I wanted to understand WHY my judgement of people has been so poor in certain situations. Therapy? Not enough. Support Groups? Helpful, only. How about if I go back to school and… you guessed, I got my Masters of Science in Counseling and Psychology. On top of it, I broke my foot and being confined in bed I wrote a book which was published!!!
Wait!!! I was not going to die? Or go to the asylum for the insane? Hmm… Who does that! If not in a Greek legend.
Suddenly, some of the same friends who generously supported me in my worst of times… disappeared.
I was hurt and disappointed. I misjudged again!
I asked my therapist (I confess I have a therapist and believe one goes in therapy for self improvement and to know oneself and the roots of our issues and not when it’s too late and we are in the mist of a crisis– I also believe people who seek therapy are not “crazy” but love them self enough to want to know who they are) I consider myself one of them, so when I asked my therapist why some of the people who supported me in hard times were turning their backs on me, when I was trying to recover? She summed it up:
“Some people categorize you, in their minds, you are on a shelf. You were on the shelf of needy and when one has the means it feels good to feel generous and make a good deed. But YOU changed the shelf. YOU, despite ALL expectations came back from the ashes and NO longer belonged on their shelf. They just didn’t know which shelf to place you on. You confused them”
4. The Real True Friends
Her explanation made sense, especially that a handful of people, my real TRUE friends, were with me in good and bad times. They had the empathy to support me in the worst of times, and the hearts to enjoy and support my efforts of not giving up and recover. True friendships don’t stop when one moves away, even over the Ocean. True friends are for life and not “under certain circumstances.”
Someone once said “if you are lucky, you have five good friends.” I consider myself more than lucky.
In conclusion, friendships are to me like marriages without the sexual involvement. Just like in a marriage though, a TRUE friend will be there for you for better or for worst.
…and last. but not least,” to have a friend, one MUST BE A Friend.”