But that definition doesn’t tell you how to be a friend, how to act toward your friends, you know, how to treat your friends, or how you want your friends to treat you. For that we remember the “golden rule”. You remember that one right?
Most all of us learned that from some one. Be it a parent, a grandparent, a teacher or a book. Most everyone has heard a version of that. So that’s more what friendship really means to most people. But now that we have a general idea of what it means, how many of us actually practice that “golden rule”. How many times has a friend asked something of us and we’ve blown them off? Or how many times have you said “Okay, I’ll be over tomorrow!” but you don’t come over tomorrow and you don’t even call and let them know. Or now with texting and email, you don’t do either of those. Do you stop and think about how that makes your friend feel? Do you think they feel valued as a friend? I’m betting they don’t. And the one day when you look up and realize that person isn’t your friend anymore, do you even understand why? Do you understand that they felt used and taken for granted? Is that how you want to be treated? I’m betting it’s not.
Do you know what it’s like to be friends with someone who has Social Anxiety Disorder? It means you come to me physically more than I come to you. That’s not saying I don’t come to you, but it does mean that I don’t show up at your house uninvited. I don’t just “drop in”. I know I’m not the perfect friend. I know I’m a hermit. I don’t do well in social situations. But I try the best ways that I can. Being invited to our house is a big thing, it’s not to be taken lightly. If you are invited and you blow it off without word, chances are, you don’t get invited again. If you tell me that you are coming over and I rearrange my plans to accommodate you and you don’t show up and I have to reach out to you, chances are you won’t get the chance again. Because you are showing me how you want to be treated. Friendship is a two way street, if I make room for you in my life, you need to make room in your life.
Oh and friends hate to be lied to and they hate to be used. So, keep that in mind when deciding what kind of friend you want to be. In my world, you don’t get a lot of chances to use me, to lie to me or to take me for granted until you are gone.