The “F” Word – Friendship or not Friendship

“Friendship,” in my opinion is a word that is all too often spoken without understanding of its true meaning. Of course, the “true meaning” is open to subjective thought. My subjective thought of the “true meaning” of that word seems to carry more weight than when I hear it spoken by others. I’m not judging, please do not get me wrong and assume that.

I hear people say, “this is my friend” or “that is my friend,” but what do they really mean? Do they mean they get along sometimes? They go out and party? They have sex? You give them money when they need it? Do they mean we met at work and have lunch together every day? Do they mean someone who clicked “like” on their Facebook page, or added them on their Instagram, or followed them on Twitter? Or do they mean what “friendship” or being a “friend” means to me?

What do I think “friendship” is? Who do I think is a “friend?” Glad you asked *smile*. I think a friendship is something that is built over time. Time spent with each other, sharing thoughts, sharing ideas, learning what each other likes and dislikes, appreciating an opposing opinion if one rears its ugly head, and most importantly, seeing the person for who they are and liking them and enjoying their company anyway. It’s when both parties give up their right to be “right.” In a friendship each person is free to be themselves because they know they will be appreciated, supported, respected, and loved for who they are, whoever they are. I believe a good friendship is one of reciprocity.

My opinion of a friend, a “true friend” is someone who I can talk to about anything. I can say anything to this person and they can say anything to me and it’s okay. We aren’t disrespectful with each other or our words. However, we say what we mean and we’re always honest. We don’t become disgruntled if there’s a disagreement, we embrace it as knowing the other person is an individual and their thoughts are part of their individuality, and we love them anyway. They’re someone who appreciates you for you simply being yourself. They can tell you if you’ve hurt their feelings or if you’re doing something they disagree with, and you hear them out, discuss what they are saying and why, and there’s no love loss or ill feelings. That, in my opinion, is a “true friend” and it goes both ways. It’s someone you know you can call, text, or email a question or situation to and receive their honest feedback. Their feedback isn’t based on feelings, but is based on reason and objectivity. Yes, their past experiences may play a part in their reason, but for the most part, if they’re listening to what you’re saying, their feedback will be based on what you’re saying. It’s someone you can call just to vent about a bad day, or call to share what happened on a good day and it’s reciprocal. There’ll be days when you’ll receive a call to listen them vent or they just want to share some good news with you.

A friend isn’t someone you don’t know on an emotionally intimate level. It’s not someone who only calls to vent or share good news with you and isn’t there when you need to vent or want to share good news with them. It’s not someone who’ll consider it an argument if you disagree with what they’re saying or doing; disregards your feelings and boundaries; verbally lashes out at you if you say something they don’t like or agree with; who repeatedly takes from you and your emotions without giving back. This person I’m speaking of in this paragraph is immature, childish, and selfish. This person, who isn’t a friend, is a taker. They will continue to take from you until you don’t have anything left to give, and then complain that you’re not giving enough. They won’t recognize what you’ve given them, even when you’ve given your all. They won’t realize that they’ve exhausted your emotions, while demanding even more from you. Be careful of who you call “friends.”

It’s possible to be a “true friend” to someone and them not be a “true friend” to you. You’re the one who accepts them unconditionally, are there for them when they call, listen to them vent, listen when they talk about their good days, give them feedback when they ask for it. However, they aren’t there for you in that same way. They’re judgmental towards you, speak over you when you are attempting to share your thoughts or emotions, talk about their good day when you’re trying to share about your good day – basically, they don’t really “listen” to what you’re saying. You’re trying to share information with them, while they’re trying to think of how to respond to what you’re saying without really hearing what you’ve said. It’s difficult to have your own moment, because they steal the moment by making it about them or something that’s going on in their life. It’s immaturity and selfishness on their part, in their thinking that everything is or has to be about them or benefit them in some way. It’s okay to be a “true friend” to this type of person as long as you realize that they’re incapable of being the same for you. I think of this as a big brother or big sister situation. The older and wiser sibling always looks out for and is there to help the younger and less wise sibling, knowing the younger sibling is not capable of the same level of emotional support. Again, be careful of who you call “friends,” because someone who isn’t a “true friend” to you is likely to emotionally drain you if you don’t practice healthy boundaries towards this person.

Be careful and be wise when it comes to the “F” word.


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I journeyed from GED to PhD with a host of experiences in-between. I'm a lover of penning my thoughts whether as poetry, prose, short stories, essays, inspirational articles, reviews, journal entries, and more.

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