For the past several years, Roger and I have been discussing the topic of friendship and the true measure of a friend.
Not continuously, of course, but it comes up from time to time, mainly because I get a bit puzzled by what people call friendship, who they consider a friend and why, and what expectations they have of friends and friendship. It seems that words like friend get thrown about so much that we don’t really stop to think what is really meant when someone calls us a friend… or when we enter a friendship until something dramatic happens and we find out whether or not we have a true friend, or a frenemy.
For some, everyone is a friend.
Their doors are seemingly open to everyone and somehow they don’t suffer downsides. (You know, the people who bring all kinds of drama and negativity to our doors.)
For others, like Roger, for example, the word friend is sacred.
He does’t believe most people fall into the friend category. Rather, most are friendly acquaintances. He has few expectations of friendly acquaintances, but has high standards for those who move into his friend category. His system seems to work; he has some amazing people in his life. And he doesn’t suffer the disappointments and drama I have.
We make friendship so complicated, but it shouldn’t be.
It comes down to one simple question: Does being around this person help you expand or cause you to contract and do you do the same for them?
People who help us expand are expansive themselves. They are comfortable in their own skin, they are happily living their best lives, and have healthy boundaries. Because they are comfortable and healthy, seeking to be their best selves, they naturally bring out the best in those around them.
A true friend wants the best for you, and encourages you to be your best self as well. You feel a sense of your soul’s soaring, you feel expansive and inspired in their midst.
Naturally, the opposite is true of those who are not true friends.
To have a good friend, we need to be a good friend, but first and foremost, we need to practice being a friend to ourselves.
The quality of our friendships directly reflect who we are and what we believe we deserve in life. If you struggle with friendships, as I have, maybe it’s time to become a good friend to yourself.