I know I am not perfect. Really, I do. I mean sometimes, I’m close, I know, but I not perfect and I don’t do the right thing or say the right thing all the time. I also wear my heart on my sleeve. And perhaps it’s the way I was raised, and the environment in which I was raised, but the people I find around me now consistently disappoint me. Now, let me qualify that statement. There are a select few to which this does not apply. Generally, you know who you are.
I have always been the person others can rely on as friend. I am the one that people can call 24/7 in a crunch and know that I am there for them. I support people I barely know – or have never met in person - on a constant basis. I am reliable, honest, and consistent in my support of those people who I care about as friends.
Now I know I have been through a lot in recent months, and most of those of you who follow my blog will know that last year sucked royally for me. And the first thing one does in a time of crisis is reach out to ones friends. Now you need to understand that when I grew up, while we were taught independence, we were also taught the value of integrity and friendship. And ‘back where I come from’ friends are there for one another in good and bad times. We rely on our social structure – and support one another because no-one is an island.
I was accused of relying on my friends too much by someone I cared about and it truly hurt. I was very taken aback. It then sunk in. Many of the people I am now in contact with who grew up in a totally different mindset from mine back home, don’t have friends they can rely on. Their friends are not reliable, consistent or, often honest. They have grown up selfish, and not used to creating a strong family of friends. (It should be noted here that I am generalizing, and if this doesn’t apply to you – then calm down – it doesn’t apply to you).
When I speak with my friends, it’s like we spoke the day before although months may have passed. And when my phone rings at 2am and they can’t sleep because of pain, or because of a nightmare, or some stress in their lives – it’s not a hassle to me. It’s not too much to deal with. They aren’t ‘needy’. To me, it’s an HONOUR to be able to give of my time, body and heart to care for my friends. And I’ve been fortunate to have been given the opportunity to save life by being there for my friends on more than one occasion.
So this is why I am shocked at how some ‘friends’ conduct themselves. Firstly – the person who didn’t think I should rely on my friends so much, and others who feel the same, I would have to say I pity. Because that shows that in their past, their friends have been fickle and unreliable, and that is truly a terrible thing.
Secondly - I hear so often from people I chat to that they ‘don’t have any friends’ – and I can truly see what they mean. There are countless of those cutesy quotes flying around the web. Things like “A Friend will bail you out of jail, a good friend will be sitting next to you saying ‘Man we fucked up’ “ etc. I could quote them all and this blog will never end. The truth of the matter though, is that many of us don’t have friends - TRUE friends.
And sometimes being a true friend means taking the time to simply say hello, and ask how someone is. And knowing them well enough to know that sometimes when they say “I’m fine” that they really are not. And being their support and showing that you care. The tiniest gesture of friendship can honestly make the world of difference to someone who is going through something they may not wish to share openly.
I am fortunate because I have some who I truly consider my chosen family. How do I distinguish between those ‘family’ friends and those who are simply acquaintances? I can talk to my family about ANYTHING – no subject is taboo – regardless of their personal feelings on the subject – they will hear me out and offer advice and perspective. They will listen when it’s the middle of the night and I can’t sleep. They will be there when I need to hear a friendly voice or vent to someone. They are there when I want to tell someone how awesome my day was. They are the ones who check in and ask how I’m doing, no matter how busy and full their lives are. THOSE are real friends.
And it’s kinda funny. I love them because they are true friends…. just like me.