Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I Miss My Friends

It does not always happen when the situation is dire, depressing and dismal. The feeling has washed over me when I’m sitting on a beautiful beach or walking through an emerald green forest. I’ve experienced the sensation when I’m alone, among crowds of people, or even sitting in front of folks who have paid to hear me talk about my book, Erase Negativity. Sometimes I miss my friends.

I’m a typical middle child. I learned (or thought) early on that I would not match my older brother, Dennis’ good looks, my older sister, Diane’s academic achievements, my younger brother Terry’s athletic ability or my baby sister, Tina’s skill as a pom pom girl. So I carved out my own niche in life – to be a good and loyal friend.

Through the years I have been fortunate enough to have some wonderful allies. Many have been at my side during the tough times such as when I divorced, lost my job, and my mother died (all within a year). I’ve had some pals who handed me Clearasil when my teenage complexion ran amok, helped me fix my unruly hair for the prom, and drove me home from the hospital and helped guide me through the door after eye surgery had me seeing double for six weeks.

I think some of my friend-making ability stems from my youth. As a middle child I learned to share at an early age. As long as my needs were met I didn’t have a problem allowing others access to my toys, clothes or time. However, I have to admit I took some liberties when the shoe was on the other foot and I wanted access to my sister’s clothing and shoes. There is a line between sharing and unauthorized pilfering. But I digress.

The point is, when I am enjoying something wonderful, I want to share it with others. The same is true for information. I suppose that is why I wrote a self-help book. I have benefited from the wisdom of others (in person and through books) and I would like to pass it along.

However, this desire to have friends can be a double-edged sword. In my book, one chapter highlights the experience of Maria, a meth addict. Her strong desire to have friends – any friends – led her down the path of drug addiction. Poor choices are not always so blatant. The term “frenemy” is a portmanteau of the words friend and enemy. It describes folks who are enemies disguised as friends. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between friend and foe.

In order to make better choices regarding friendships here are a few questions you can ask yourself.

•Does the person display good qualities such as honesty, integrity and consideration?
•Are they selfish and self serving? All friendships experience a give and take of needs, but if you find you are the one doing all the giving, especially in the beginning of the friendship, it is best to step back and assess the situation carefully.
NOTE: Often good-hearted individuals get sucked into an unhealthy alliance with a charismatic friend. Unfortunately, most of these individuals have learned to prey upon the kindness of others and are only interested in what they can take – be it time, money or favors. It is better to walk away from these people right away before you get emotionally involved.
•Do they talk critically about others behind their backs? If so, chances are they will do the same about you.
•Are they cheerful or cynical? Not everyone can be genial all the time, but someone who is consistently cynical operates on a lower vibration energetically, and if you spend a great deal of time with them your mood will be affected.
•Are they trustworthy and loyal? Remember that one’s actions speak louder than words. If a person says they are loyal, but demonstrates qualities that show they are otherwise, consider the actions, not what they say as the true barometer of their character.

Very few things are as important as having friends in your life, but, as in all things, make sure you pick good ones. Friends are like apples. Good ones nourish and sustain you. Bad ones can poison your heart and soul and give you karmic diarrhea. Pick well.

1 comment:

Ann said...

I, too, have made my way in life as a good friend to many, Sally. Although that trait has allowed a few people to take advantage of me, it has given me the opportunity to have friends of the heart all over the country. The challenge for me, however, was learning to be a friend to myself, too.