What is a friend really?
I’m sure each and every person has their own definition of what a friend is. It’s probably easier for most to say what a friend isn’t though. With the overhauling being done in my life on every level including the friendships department, I’ve come to experience many of those.
As a child, I found friendships hard to come by. Being labeled a nerd back then and spending most of my time alone, my best friends were books, my Atari, and the water in a pool where I swam daily. After going through an outside transformation of my personal appearance and behaviors at the age of 17, that all changed. I was suddenly thrusted into the “in-crowd” and for the next 22 years, I treated every friend like they were a commodity. They were something that if I needed it, I would do what I had to acquire it. They also were something I could put aside if I didn’t feel like dealing with it. And even worse, they were prioritized and shuffled around on scales of what benefit I could get out of each of them.
Making plans with some of these friends didn’t mean that they were definite either. If something came along that was a better offer, I’d cancel on them. If any of those friends started to get on my nerves regardless if it was something that was my fault, I’d distance myself from them and blame them. It seemed as if I always had a new best friend too. I’d cherish each of them like they were the most precious thing in the world. But at some point, every one of them always fell apart.
The truth was simple. I was always looking at what I could get out of any of them and not what I could put into it. In other words, I was completely selfish and because of that I became a fair-weathered friend to everyone.
Ask yourself the following questions and see if they ring any truth to you?
1. Have you ever sat home on a weekend night waiting for that phone call from a friend you so desperately wanted to spend time with and it never came?
2. Have you ever had plans with a friend you were looking forward to all week and then just as the hour was about to arrive to meet up for those plans, you get a phone call and are told “something came up”?
3. Have you ever tried calling a friend you really needed to just have an ear to listen to and you find yourself repeatedly getting their voicemail and rarely if ever getting a return phone call?
4. Have you ever called a friend just wanting to hear their voice and when they return your call, it’s through a text message saying a short and sweet hello and that they hope you’re well and will catch up with you soon?
5. Have you ever gone out with a friend where they are always looking at the time, spending much of it on their phone with someone else, or even texting again and again while you try to carry on a conversation?
6. Have you ever gone out with a friend who never seems to have enough money to pay, expects you to pay, or if they do pay, they spend time making you feel guilty for it?
7. Have you ever had a party where a friend says they are going to show up and don’t or where they do show up and stay for a very short time and say they have another engagement or that they don’t feel well?
8. Have you ever heard about a party or get-together that a friend of yours had and somehow they forgot to tell you about it?
I could go on and on with these questions…This is what a fair-weathered friend does.
Why is this so easier for me to think of them? Bottom line, I was guilty of all of them. That is what I did to others. And now I am experiencing what it is like on the reverse.
To put in bluntly, “karma’s a bitch”. What I have given out in this lifetime that brought pain to others is now coming back to me so that I may experience the lessons on the receiving end. It’s not much fun but I’m grateful for the lessons nonetheless. I’ve realized now that I was a fair-weathered friend to everyone, even my own family. I was once on the other side of those questions doing all those behaviors and actions that made someone ask them in the first place.
I know today that if I need to ask any of those questions about someone in my life that I think is a friend, they probably aren’t a friend at all. I’ve learned that a true friend is someone that is there through thick and thin. One that can be called upon if help is needed. One that keeps plans and promises. One that looks forward to time spent together.
While I only have a couple of true friends today that may have survived this shift I’m going through, I am grateful for each of them. I ask God today to be at the center of each of them and I do my best to be selfless in them and not selfish like I once was.
It’s not a great feeling to be on the receiving end of fair-weathered friends, but I can assure you that if you are dealing with this, you might have been one of them yourself to someone at some point in your life like I was. If there are people in my life I don’t particularly like or want to be around, I don’t string them along anymore. I don’t lead them on to believe a friendship is growing between them and me. I don’t make plans just to cancel them or to check a box and satisfy some requirement that I have to go see them. And most importantly, I am there for them as best as I can be as sometimes just having a shoulder to lean on is all that a friend wants in the first place.
Look within. If you are being treated poorly by a friend, maybe you have treated them or someone else the same way.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson