Why is it, that the older we get, the more demanding we become in the friendships we have.This sets us up, for disappointments that we may only have ourselves to blame for. At times expectations are high, and if we don’t comply with what friends expect of us, we appear rude and uncaring. Other times we are the ones who feel back stabbed or disillusioned, by our friends’ actions. In times of personal need we easily feel neglected when everybody is too busy with their own life, to care, and we also feel taken advantage of and hurt when the friendship appears mainly one sided. Sometimes we may even find ourselves competing for first place award in the fraternity league, stepping over everyone and anyone who may get in the way.
So what is it we want, and truly expect from our friends ?! Should we give as much as we get ?! Do friendships thrive on co-depency or is that exactly what kills them ?! What is the right balance ?!
In this world of constant turbulence and desire for more and better, we even put our friends through the ‘are-you-good-enough–for-my-needs‘ test. We want them to be there for us unconditionally, yet we know that it is something we ourselves might not even be prepared to offer. We expect so much for so little in return. It doesn’t seem fair or even logical. How can we want something we won’t even value once ours. It baffles me that we are greedy enough to feel entitled to a luxury good we can’t truly afford, that of true friendship, for only when we offer the same thing in return this becomes a fair trade.
I often wonder what example we may be setting for our younger generations, we’ve gone back to Darwinian times where it seems that ‘survival of the fittest’ is what counts. Hereby eradicating all other options. It is slowly becoming a very egocentric world, where only that which we ourselves most want, matters. This is where the ‘trouble’ starts if you ask me. By putting our needs before others constantly, we neglect what may be the more preferable option in specific situations. No consideration is taken for others and therefore we end up living in a ‘theatrical play’ that we nowadays most commonly call ‘friendship‘. But this type of friendship has nothing to do with real friendship, it is just a weak extract of the true commitment it ought to be.
Through thick and thin, is one of the key elements I believe, and like in other relationships love and empathy lie at the base, a kind of love that cares and protects. One that accepts the good with the bad, because we’re all human and none of us is perfect.
When I was a little girl I learnt a rhyme at school :
Make new friends, but keep the old,
One is silver but the other gold.
It struck a chord that kept me in tune with what friendship entails.
I have to admit that it is not always easy and it’s also not possible to befriend anyone and everyone. There are people with whom there just isn’t a connection however hard we may try. Sometimes I catch myself not being a good enough friend, putting my needs before my friends’ needs. Somehow though I think that is where we find the balance, in learning when it’s time to give and when it’s ok to receive. One thing that may characterize a good from a great friendship is the amount of effort we put into the giving and the thankfulness that goes into receiving.
For what it’s worth, friendships are valuable and fragile and maybe we should all try a little harder to see the wonder of it all, a little more often. Stopping to think about how much that other person really means to you. Learning to appreciate one another in good times and bad times, for better and for worse, in sickness and in health, because many, many friendships outlast any other kind of commitment !!!