What is a friend to you? Is it someone you can rely on? Someone you can share your thoughts, feelings, opinions, and concerns? Is it someone you go out and share time with? In this post, we are going to discuss the many different types of friends one encounters in life and the roles they play in your life.
How many friends do you have? One? Two? 500? How many true friends do you have? A friend can mean many different things to many different people. For some, friends are those they can party with… have a good time with. For others, friendships are sacred and only to be shared with ones who they can fully trust and rely on. Have you been saved by a friend? Have you been disappointed by a friend? Have you at one moment in your life deemed someone your best friend, and at another moment your worst enemy? If so, what happened? Did your friend fail to meet your expectations? Did they hurt you in someway? As you go through life you will find that your definition of a friend will constantly evolve and change as you evolve and change.
There is always a reason why certain people are placed in your life. There will always be people who will be entering your life and exiting it. That is the way life is. It is always changing, growing, evolving. You will find yourself losing friends, and gaining new ones. The hard part is determining what role they play in your life. Yes, you heard that right. You determine the role they play in your life. You determine if you’ve outgrown the company of your friends, or if they’ve outgrown you. Contrary to popular belief, people change as do you. What once brought you and your friends together, might now pull you apart. Understanding and accepting these changes creates a stronger foundation in who you are. Many times we get emotionally attached to friends who are detrimental to our spiritual growth. Other times we are the ones who are preventing the growth of others.
My Master once told me these words during my college years…
“A Master never keeps company with those who would jeopardize the connection with his soul.”
At that point in time, I didn’t fully grasp the depth of his words, but as time went on I began to question the friends I kept company with. A lot of times I would find myself surrounded by shallow friendships. Friendships that didn’t have any real meaning or depth to them. They weren’t friendships I could rely on for emotional support, guidance, or compassion. This made me very sad, and I conveyed these concerns to my Teacher. He told me to go and make the best of the relationships I did have. He said to “expand and extend” myself to others, and see what their responses would be. And so I did, and I discovered something amazing. I found out that some friends would ignore my efforts to really connect with them, while others would embrace my efforts. Some of them, who before I thought were shallow friends, became deeper friends. And so I discovered that true friends are like gold. Have you ever panned for gold in a riverbed? You scoop the dirt and shake the filter. After all the dirt falls away, all that is left are pieces of gold. That is how it is with friends. Yes, you will meet and develop friendships with a lot of people during your life. But try and find the ones that you wish to really hold close to your heart. Those are the friendships worth cultivating.
That is another important factor in friendships. A relationship or friendship is a TWO-WAY street. A friendship isn’t a solid one if only one person is committing the time and effort to cultivate it. It takes both parties involvement to make the friendship fruitful. I have had plenty of friendships fall apart because I had friends who never returned phone calls or gone out of their way to see me. If someone is not going to put the effort to cultivate a sincere friendship with you, then let them go. You will only be exhausting yourself by trying to develop a true friendship with them. And that goes the other way around as well. Return phone calls, answer emails, and drive out to see your friends. Don’t let a little inconvenience or laziness destroy a potentially good friendship. You’ll regret it later, when you find yourself alone and wishing for companionship.
Want a good friend? Be that good friend. It starts with you. Take risks, trust more, and express how you really feel. If you do those things and someone responds sincerely to them, then you’ve just discovered the seeds of a fruitful friendship! Oh and please, please understand that even the best of friends will hurt you or disappoint you at one point in time or another. It’s just the nature of things. Don’t let expectations or drama destroy a good friendship. You will discover that all of your friendships, no matter how shallow or deep, will always be tested. The stronger relationships usually survive those tests, the weaker ones don’t. So do the best you can with the friendships you have, and let the Universe decide the rest.
Now go out there and make some friends! :)