Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What type of friend are you?

When I was younger I had all sorts of friends, and we would often link our arms together singing that we'd be 'friends for life'.... Well, not exactly, but most of us really thought we would stay friends throughout life. How wrong we were when just a few changes were enough to separate us. Of course at the time we were young and pretty naive about the world around us, deception, backstabbing and lies.

As I grew older I discovered that not every person who calls themselves a friend is, and just because some people find it pretty easy to say they love you doesn't necessarily mean they do. Those words are completely empty unless there are actions involved. Loving someone is not just saying it, but showing it. How? Loyalty and dedication.

I had friends who would say they loved me whenever they needed something, whenever they needed someone to talk to, whenever they felt 'suicidal', but when it was required of them to live up to the title, they all of a sudden changed. I realised the cruelness of people when  I was once out in town to watch a movie with a person I considered to be a really good friend of mine and I had run out of money for food, trust me this girl had enough for both of us at the time, and I had turned to ask her for only a few coins so I could buy myself a happy meal. She saw that it would take a while to get home and that I was starving, yet she said no, complaining that her money would only be enough for herself.

God sent an angel that day, as someone I knew was working behind the till at McDonald's. It had been ages since we had seen each other, and I would usually spend time talking to  her, a cousin of one of my childhood friends as I pretty much enjoyed talking to people who were older than me. She asked me how I had been and we spoke for a couple of minutes before she offered me a full-sized Big Mac meal free of charge, and the best thing was that she added an ice cream sundae to go with. All of this was more than I'd imagined and I was so thankful.

Can you believe that the same friend who had denied me of a few coins for a happy meal greedily asked me if I could ask my friend's cousin to give her and another girl we were with at the time free food as well. AMAZING! To that I just replied that it would be impossible to do that and enjoyed my meal, not saying much for the rest of the day.

Before this incident I was the most kind, naive, good-hearted person one could come across, of course making it easier for people to manipulate and use me. I would think of going to the ends of the earth for a couple of people when they would not even take a step for me. How stupid I was at the time. I know better now.

I had friends who would say they love me and plan on stealing my boyfriend behind my back, who would say they love me and painfully criticise the most vulnerable aspects of my appearance or my personality. The things I held as insecurities. Friends right?

I was watching an episode of 'Girlfriends' today, an African-American sitcom, and two of the friends had fallen out with each other, as I read through the comments on the episode I came across a few that really had me thinking.

Could you honestly be able to forgive a person and put it all behind you as though it never happened, but when you do something similar to your friend they carry on holding unto it for ages and never let it go, even when you have apologised? The world is unfair like that.

There are people who keep counting up wrongs. Each time you did meet up is overshadowed by all the times you did not, each time you were kind and selfless is overshadowed by the times you decided to think about yourself.

One thing I absolutely despise is when people, knowing you have certain weaknesses, like to hang them up in broad daylight so you can feel guilty about it, feel helpless about it.

After a huge fallout with a few childhood friends over a small case, and a person who had managed to come between us, I really started to question our friendship. Upon that person coming along it seemed all my 'flaws' were major and I was constantly being picked on for all my 'imperfections'. Aren't friends supposed to help you overcome imperfections and not pick them out like a bird hacking on flesh?

Each time we met up it was an opportunity for 'them' to find something else which was 'terribly' wrong with me so we could talk about that. 'My life' and the fact that I was 'dependent' on my parents seemed to be of a huge concern to them and they would always bring it up to my discomfort. All of them against one, constantly dragging in people who were just waiting for someone to find a fault with me so they could join in on the fun of picking on me. It is another thing when people you don't really care much about pick on your imperfections, but not when it is someone you consider a close friend.

It is funny how most of the 'advice' I was given by them was advice they did not even follow themselves. I would always keep quiet and look upon myself as the major problem in our friendship. Always them against me, a majority against one.

To me: A person is not your friend if

1. The smile on their face fades whenever you have some good news about yourself you wish to share.
2. When they are constantly on your case about what's wrong with you and never about what's wrong with them.
3. When they are constantly encouraging you to go against your parents for the benefit of liberty.
4. When they encourage you to do bad things.
5. When they count up the wrongs you have committed against them and hang them out to dry each time.
6. When they say nasty and hurtful things about you behind your back.
7. When they team up with others to belittle you.
8. When they are the first ones to find something wrong with you.
9. When their I love you's are in vain.
10. A person who constantly laughs at your ideas, calling them naive and stupid.

The list is probably endless, but these are the things I don't wish to have in a friend.

To me a friend is:

1. A companion to whom you can confide in instead of always having to run to your diary, and your secret is safe with them.
2. A person who encourages you and your dream when no one else does.
3. A person who sticks by you when no one else will.
4. A person who would 'go to the ends of the earth for you'
5. A person who is not quick to point out your 'flaws' when everyone is busy doing it.
6. A person who looks at your 'perfections' before your 'imperfections'
7. A person who listens to you when you are hurting and who encourages you to be strong.
8. A person who tells you the truth without a hint of harshness, but an inkling of love.
9. A person you can laugh and cry with.
10. A person who accepts you just the way you are, without constantly trying to change you to better suit them.

After learning from my own mistakes, despite my mother's warning, I know not to be hasty about choosing friends, hence my small group of friends. And I have seen that there are truly friends for a reason, friends for a season and friends for life. Now I ask.....

What type of friend are you?