I have always been someone who likes to be busy, whether that involves going to work, studying or other activities and my friends know this. So, they understand that I am not always available to talk, but they know that when they need me, I will always be there for them. I have a lot of friendships where we don’t always talk, but when we do talk or see each other it is like no time has passed and nothing has changed. However, in some of my “friendships” I wonder why people don’t reciprocate the care, loyalty, time and more that I give them, and I have finally realised why. It is because no one owes me anything. Even though I act a certain way towards someone does not mean they are obligated to do the same.
Recently, I realised I have a lot more acquaintances than friends. The people I have placed in this category are the people who fit the following criteria; 1) 70% of the time or more I’m the one who reaches out to them; 2) they rarely ask how I’m doing; 3) they don’t show me the same level of support I show them; 4) a text conversation can’t go beyond basic questions. Of course, there are variations of other things too, but those were the first four things in my thought process.
Another thing I had to think about when re-evaluating my friendships was how genuine I felt they were. For me this meant I had to think about how much I trust the person and if I think they are loyal. If I view you as a friend, best friend or basically family, then no matter what that person will always be able to count on me. However, thinking about it, there were some of my “friends” who I didn’t feel I could tell my real thoughts, opinions or problems to and any time I did tell them something it had to be something I didn’t mind other people knowing, because they were guaranteed to tell other people what I shared with them. If someone is your friend, you should be able to trust them.
One thing I hate is when people say they are someone’s friend, but when that “friend” isn’t around, they join in with people who gossip about them. Fair enough, you can be friends with people who don’t like each other, but person A should never feel comfortable enough to say rude and disrespectful things about person B to you. I question your loyalty if that happens, because one of two things usually occur in those situations; 1) you tell person A that you don’t appreciate what they are saying about person B or 2) you go along with person A and disrespect the friendship you have with person B.
Some of us are lucky to have friendships that have lasted for years and are still great. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t create new friendships. Sometimes new people enter our lives and you connect instantly. I have met some people like that, and I know God has put them in my life for a reason. I made a group of friends last summer when we worked together at my university. Some of us knew each other beforehand, but we weren’t a collective friend group. We even have a nickname for ourselves (which I won’t share), but the way we are together, you would think we have been in each other’s lives for years. We send each other the most ridiculous and hilarious things, but we also have the most meaningful conversations. My favourite thing about this group is that I can socialise with everyone individually as well as all together. I chose to use that example of some of my friends, because these are examples of true friends in my eyes.
There have been so many times when people have asked me for advice about friendships they have and I try to get them to not only look at the relationship from their perspective, but also from their friend’s perspective. Are you as good of a friend as you think you are? Friendships work both ways. So, if you stopped putting the time or effort into the relationship, why shouldn’t they?
It is okay for friendships to end, because the number of friends does not define who you are. I would rather have five loyal, genuine and trustworthy friends in my life than fifty people who I don’t trust and make me feel isolated. What about you?