What does it mean when a person says they are your friend? It all honesty, it can have several definitions. Friendships can be genuine, generic, or self-serving. Generic and self-serving seems to be the more prominent categories. Genuine….are few and far between.
Let’s talk about generic friendships, first. These are relationships that offer a friendly face or smile, good conversations, cordial interactions, basically. I have lots of friends in this category, as most people do. You sit beside these people in meetings or even at church; greetings are offered, how-do-you-do’s and so on. Inquiries are made regarding how a person is feeling or how are things going. The answer is often the same; everything is going along just fine. In those instances where the other person elaborates with details, we nod and express compassion and once the conversation is over, go on about our business. Lives are full of these friendships, which are necessary for social interaction, as well as reflective impressions.
Then there are those that are self-serving. We attach ourselves to people that can be of benefit to us or vice versa. Those are the relationships that often exhibit behaviors that include always seeking something in return. There is no denial in the fact when that “friend” calls upon you, it is because there is an ulterior motive of some sort, either spoken or insinuated. People utilize those friendships to advance their own well-being, in business, or in certain life’s situations. Like consequences, these self-serving relationships can be positive or negative. However, I am a believer there is no excuse to ever use another person in any way shape or form.
Now for the substance of these thoughts; genuine friendships. I almost want to blurt out, “What are those?”, but I will refrain from such. There are genuine, true friendships to be found and enjoyed, but let’s be honest, not many. The adage that if two people are friends for a long time, they will be forever. That simply is not true.
Genuine friendships evolve over time. Both parties must have a continued vested interest in the relationship and a heart full of understanding. The years are filled with a roller coaster of interactions, experiences, emotions, joys and heartaches. You always consider the other person’s feelings above your own. There is sharing of stories, good and bad, told in confidence. Trust is never questioned, never even thought of being questioned.
There is an unspoken respect that accompanies the word “genuine”. Friendships that fall into this category are held at a higher level in the minds of those involved. The Golden Rule that should always be adhered to is never give indication, let alone crude frankness, of personally degrading the other person through verbal expressions or actions. There is a huge difference between compassion and honesty and being cruel and just plain mean. Just because a person has always been of concrete foundation in the relationship and provided comfort and support under any circumstances, does not give a free pass to disregard the genuine offerings. You might get surprised at the response.
Regardless of the established trust and comfort, it can be broken. Somewhere along the way, people get taken for granted. That self-serving dilemma surfaces. Honesty turns into rudeness and callousness. Those stories divulged in confidence somehow find their way back through the voice of someone that should not have the information. Trust is broken and all that was thought was genuine has suddenly become a realization it is not.
We are all just human beings with more faults than we care to admit. I am neither above forgiveness nor above asking for it. God makes that plain. I am, also, realistic enough to recognize situations and people for what they are. People will disappoint and sometimes it is the very ones you never thought would. Initially, it causes questions to arise in reflection to try to find reason within your own self of what you did to cause or contribute to the dilemma. In truth, people change; circumstances change; and the relationship that was once thought genuine, changes. It is what it is.
This is something that unfortunately happens to everyone, sooner or later, in some capacity. It shouldn’t, but it does. I chose to write about it because it is not a subject anyone likes to talk about, but most can relate to. I am reminded now to keep your friends close and your enemies closer. No; I don’t think so. The ones I will keep “close or closer” are those very few “genuine” friendships I enjoy. I say very few because I don’t allow many, by choice. Trust is an earned rite.
It all comes back to the truth in the end……..Genuine, never waivers. Your actions today can dictate your true friendships tomorrow.
I’ll see you on the flip side……..