What About Your Friends?

Manhattan strolling women
Image by craigCloutier via Flickr

Friendship has been everywhere for me recently — in the magazines I read, in my mailbox (the real one) and even, over lunch. So, I started thinking about what really makes a good friend.

I began by searching for the perfect song about friendship. I listened to several tracks on YouTube from “Cool” by Gwen Stefani, to “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” by Randy Newman, searching for lyrics that would help express the meaning of the bond.  Both old, and contemporary tracks, didn’t capture the real friendship between two women that I was thinking. Then, out of nowhere, I felt a pang of nostalgia when “What About Your Friends” by TLC came to mind.

I used to listen to this song obsessively and, most notably, my friends and I used lip sync and create dances to this fitting song.  This connection to the 1992 hit made it even more poignant. So, I ask, “What about your friends?”

“Will they stand their ground?”

The true test of  a good friend is her ability to stick around whether you’re mom dies, or you’ve landed your dream job. To be there for someone means you are willing to comfort and support them when they are confused, sad, angry or lost. Even if you don’t exactly know what they need, showing them that you are there, is what friends do.

As for the good times, having a friend who will embrace your triumphs and put aside her own struggles or jealousies, makes it even more special. And, part of that joy is allowing other people to partake in your success, which brings up another point:

“Will they let you down?”

Expectations in a friendship are about as different as the people you meet. Part of feeling disappointed is putting a high expectation on the person who let you down. I’m not giving people a pass to be selfish or inconsiderate, this is simply part of the two-way street of friendship — you have to treat others as you want to be treated by also being realistic about what particular people are capable of giving. Obviously, friends should follow through and try to live by the golden rule with their comrades, but ultimately it’s a give and take.

“I can’t tell who I should trust or just who I let trust me.”

We’d all like to think that people we like, or share interests with, will make great friends. However, being choosy with whom you trust is essential to the survival of a friendship.  Trust is fragile and can be broken easily. It is also tied up in expectation. Knowing who you are and what you trust to be good in people is usually a good start when scoping for friends.

“If your friend is true they’ll be there with you through thick and thin.”

Someone once told me that you’re lucky if you can count true friends on one hand. When I was in high school and college, I thought that was absurd, but now that I’m adult, I’ve learned that true friendships aren’t out of convenience or proximity — people have families, jobs and lives of their own. Being friends is a choice and an effort. They’re about being dependable, being willing to listen and able to put aside your own issues to be kind to another.

Last weekend I met with a friend from college for lunch. We hadn’t seen each other in years, for whatever reason, but we picked things up like no time had passed. The only remnants of the life we spent apart were simply great stories to share. My whole life has been filled with long-distance relationships and sometimes I do miss the ease of being close to my buds.

So, in honor of my college cohort and after gaining a new pen pal, I thought it’d be nice to give a shout out to all of my friends. You know who you are.

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12 thoughts on “What About Your Friends?

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