Sometimes I catch myself when I’m about to describe someone as a friend when they’re more of an acquaintance or near close to being a stranger and I correct myself. The mutual relationship between friends has become quite cheap in this day and age when you’ve got people who have one thousand friends on Facebook and barely two friends to rub together in real life. It’s not just the friend lists and faux friendships though; it’s the bastardizing of the term and what should be quality, valuable relationships in your life.
- We say ‘friends’ to people as an “open sesame” for casual sex.
- We claim that we’re ‘best friends’ with someone who we were never actually friends with in the first place but whom it makes the affair behind their partners back more palatable.
- We throw around the term ‘friends’ after a breakup to make ourselves feel better… or to pave the way to keeping a foot in the door and having the person we’ve just dumped as a backup plan.
- We offer ‘friendship’ to soften the blow even though it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that a friendship isn’t immediately possible when at least one of you has romantic feelings (and possibly keeps trying to pull your pants down).
- We accept the offer of ‘friendship’ after a breakup because we don’t want to look ‘immature’ (we’re not) , we’re hoping to sell ’em in on this option and then upgrade them again at a later date, or because we’re worried that people will think that there’s something ‘wrong’ with us if we haven’t got a trophy case of ‘friendships’ with our exes.
- We allow ourselves to be influenced, persuaded and even intimidated by people we call ‘friends’ even though they’re more like bullies.
- We refer to people who we don’t know very well as friends but then have expectations of these people as if we have known them for far longer.
- We mistake being friends on Facebook as being the same as in real life, when all it takes is to click ‘confirm’ and then maybe click ‘like’ from time to time. It takes effort, time and experience for friendship to grow. I’m not saying that friendship cannot happen online (some of my closest friends are people I’ve met through blogging but we meet up in real life and we keep in touch and have the same depth as friendship forged ‘in real life’) but the danger comes when our expectations of these friendships outpaces the true nature of them. I get a hell of a lot of emails from people who are upset about why their Facebook friends aren’t acting like ‘friends’.
- We say that we’re friends with people and then we keep them at a distance or spend our time jumping through people pleasing hoops and then wonder why we feel resentful – because we’re wearing a mask, we’re not being ourselves and we might even be doing things to create a tipping point which isn’t really what friendship is about.
It’s clear that we can call anything we like a ‘friendship’ but talk is cheap. Friendship like love, needs action that consistently matches up with the words. It doesn’t need to be perfect, they or you don’t need to be perfect, you don’t need to be swinging out of each others pockets but it will probably be at its best if it’s organic with healthy boundaries.
- Friends don’t try to screw you, screw with your mind or screw you over.
- Even if you did end up sleeping with a genuine friend, if they value the friendship that much and they realise that you want more than is on offer, they don’t keep tapping you up for sex and instead pull their pants up and value your friendship. They will do for you what you might not be able to do for yourself even if it causes some initial upset.
- There’s no such thing as a ‘friend’ who takes advantage of or even abuses you; that’s just somebody taking the piss and dressing it up as a hug when they’re knifing you with one arm at the same time.
You should care about the people you call your friends and the quality of your friendships matter. It’s the fact that I genuinely value the people who I call friends and close friends why I don’t go racing around to put any ‘ole body in my circle of trust.
If you don’t trust somebody you call a friend, you’re not friends!
It’s also better to have one or two close friends you can really trust than a shedload of people you go around collecting like trophies as if, “Hey! Look how many friends I’ve got!” or “I must be one cool guy / chick because I’m friends with ALL of my exes. Did you hear that? I said all of my exes!”
I don’t know anybody who is in a relationship that keeps in touch with all of their exes but I know plenty of people who aren’t in one that do…
We live in a time where we seem to love to water things down (casual dating – what the hell? – and the oxymoron that is casual sex) and knock stuff out at the cheapest price possible but we’re humans. We need care, trust, respect and love. We need friendship, you know, the genuine kind that exists between people with a mutual affection. It’s hard enough to navigate romantic relationships without decimating something that’s a valuable part of our lives both in and out of a relationship. Just remember, friends don’t try to screw you, screw with your head or screw you over. Take your time, show up as an equal and be a friend to you first.