I found out recently what friendship really is, and what it is not. In fact, although I still don’t know for sure what friendship is, I have had a lot of examples of what it isn’t. For one thing, friends don’t talk about you behind your back, even when they know you won’t find out. In this case, I did find out, and it hurt my feelings. It wasn’t what was said, because that was a small thing. It was the idea that someone I trust would say something about me. Maybe more to the point, it was the thought that this person could pretend to be my friend and then say things to show he really wasn’t. Maybe it comes down to trust. So I can say that a friend is someone you can trust, not just with secrets, but with your feelings.
A real friend would not do anything to hurt your feelings. This whole experience has made me less than sure about my relationships, because I really deeply trusted this person. If he isn’t my friend, do I have any friends at all? I mean, there are friendly people. They smile and say hello. Some even ask how you are doing, making small talk as you take on the busy day. I don’t think of these as friends, but as friendly people, because friends are the ones who will come to see me when I am sick, or cheer me up when I feel sad, or cancel plans to help me when I really need help with something. Ultimately, a friend is a person I can trust with myself.
Since this has happened I have done a lot of thinking. One thing I have thought about a lot is whether or not I’ve been a friend to him. I think I have been, but I wonder if that’s true. It seems like if he knew I was really his friend he wouldn’t have betrayed my trust that I had in him. Not only that, but when I confronted him with what he had said about me, he got real defensive. He wouldn’t look me in the eye, and I don’t think that is how friends are supposed to act.
He also didn’t want to talk with me about it right then, and he had to go somewhere all of a sudden. I don’t think I would act that way toward someone if I was calling myself a friend. So, yes, I think I have been a friend to him. I think he is the one who will suffer because I am still going to be someone he can trust. I won’t say things about him to other people, except in what I write, and will mention no names. That is about all of my friendship that he can expect, but it should be enough.
My dad told me once that if I had one true friend in my life, I was lucky, and if I had more than one true friend, I was truly blessed. After this experience, I think I understand what he meant a lot better. I’ve learned that the people who are closest to you can hurt you the most. Even so, I don’t want to become sour on friendship or relationships. A person has to have hope that there is something better.
I think that if I want to have that one true friend, or maybe even two, I will have to be a friend first. I will start by being a friend to myself, and being the kind of person I would like to meet. Maybe then, I can be ready to have a true friend that I can trust. I will be honest, first to myself, and next with everyone else. I will try to make sure and keep my word in every respect so that people will know I am honest. Even when they don’t think it, I will know that I am and continue to believe in myself.
Finally, I will try to look for the things that make me happy, and try to do things to make other people smile too, just as long as I’m not being asked to be dishonest or untrue to myself. Maybe after all of this, I will be such a good friend to myself, that I won’t really need a friend. That means if someone becomes my true friend, I’ll have two, and be truly blessed!