It’s hard these days to make friends that last. To me a friend is someone that doesn’t have an agenda for our friendship other than enjoying life and sharing life in some way. Not every way, just a few specific ways. It might be chat. It might be exercise. It might be eating dinner at a restaurant and enjoying hearing about the other person’s life and the other person listening about your life experiences.
For myself I only have friends that meet certain criteria. No, they don’t have to be PhD or make a certain amount of money, in fact, usually they don’t. Here is a post about what friends mean to me and how I go about choosing friends and events leading up to cutting off the friendship.
A friend is someone that I enjoy spending time with. I can have more fun with a friend than I can alone, usually. It’s good to have someone to bounce ideas off of and get feedback from and give feedback to. It’s like being needed or something. It’s good to have someone pay attention to what I’m saying sometimes. I can only talk to myself and approve so much!
I’m 42. It’s hard to find people that could be friends that have a schedule that goes along with mine. Sometimes my schedule meshes with others’ schedules, but usually it doesn’t. I’m a free spirit you might say, and I don’t have a set schedule. I eat at approximately the same time everyday and so that’s one way I meet with friends. I exercise daily and that’s the other way. I’m on the internet for 6-15 hours a day and I have internet friends that I’ve never met in person – and that is actually one way I’ve found to make my day more enjoyable. I mix work online with chats with my online friends. Twitter, Facebook, Google Talk (IM) and direct email are the perfect tools for this. Online friends ARE friends, though you may not be able to stand them in real life!
There are people I meet all the time that are potential friends. I might meet them in public by chance, usually while I’m exercising. Or, I might meet someone as a byproduct of knowing someone else that introduces us.
If I meet a couple in a relationship they are usually into their own world and don’t have many friends because they have each other and each others’ families to spend time with. They might have kids. What they don’t have is free time to spend hanging out with other couples.
I have one friendship now with a guy and girl from France that are amazing people in their brilliance, simplicity, and open-minded view of the world. My girlfriend and I spend more time with them than with anyone else – and we hope it lasts for a very long time.
Couples we don’t get along with are those that like to do things we don’t like to do. We don’t do drugs. We don’t go to clubs. We don’t watch sports or anything else on television. We don’t like close-minded people, bigoted people, stupid people or people with agendas.
Friends that have agendas are not friends at all in my opinion. I had a friend in graduate school named Jeff. He and his wife were awesome people and worth getting to know on every level. Eventually they fell into a MLM scheme and were inviting me and my wife at the time to a Tupperware party or some silly thing like that. Maybe it was Amway, or Melaleuca… I don’t remember what it was. We didn’t go to the event and my friends didn’t speak to me at all after that. Yes, I tried multiple times to keep the friendship going. Is that a friend?
Friends that are only acting as friends in order to persuade you to adopt their belief systems (religion), or get you to buy something or join something that will benefit them financially, socially, or in whatever way – are not friends at all.
They’re like undercover parasites. They’re attempting to take from the host (you). They are using your friendship in order to promote their own financial well being and aren’t concerned about whether your needs are being met or not. Their only real concern is whether they can influence you enough to buy what they’re selling.
I separate myself from these disingenuous people immediately. Even if you’re friend-starved, you must get away! These people don’t understand true friendship and they aren’t worth keeping around. There are plenty of people that understand friendship for what it is… a mutual sharing of experience and an underlying intent to only do good for people they befriend.
Participating in MLM’s and any system that destroys friendship in order to fill someone’s pockets is a disgusting way to live.
That’s an entire post in itself… how to deal with friends or strangers that appear to befriend you so they can talk to you about their latest MLM and how it can help “you”. Ha! Looking forward to that post…
Some friends are givers. There are givers and there are takers. If someone has their life together pretty well and all their basic needs are taken care of they might become a giver. Givers feel an internal obligation to help others accomplish things – to help others get through life a little bit easier. These people are the best kind of friends. Two people giving is a great match. One giver and one taker can be a good match too but, usually there’s a time limit associated with it. Eventually the giver gives up while waiting for the other to initiate some giving. Two takers? You’d never find together for more than a day.
Takers are those that are always looking for something from you. They don’t have to be involved in MLM’s, but, they have an agenda and you’ll see it if you examine your interactions with them over time. Takers are out to get something, maybe your emotional energy, time, physical effort, your ability to solve problems, your money, your respect, your sympathy. Takers are those that have underlying needs that aren’t being met in in other areas of life in a healthy way so they’re trying to get you to meet those needs. To some givers this might seem like a good thing for a while as they try and try to help someone that needs it. And, don’t get me wrong. There are people that have been through hell and high tide and I feel great about helping them get on their feet.
There are those that aren’t trying to stand up on their own feet though. They’re quite happy in the state they’re in and they only want someone else to deal with their issues, there’s no real drive inside some takers to resolve their issues and move forward. Those are tough cookies and you’ve got to decide at some point when the hammer drops.
I worked in the field of mental health for a number of years as I was getting my psychology degrees. I worked with the takers. Some were takers because they had brain chemistry imbalance. Some because they developed in horrible environments… and some, just because it was the way they enjoyed living life. It’s quite nice to rely on someone else to do things for you. For some it’s a complete way of life they choose – not one they were dealt.
What is Friendship?
Friendship is giving, yes. Giving until it hurts sometimes, sure. What friendship is not is giving until it hurts… every time. That’s a different sort of relationship and not one that is doing either of you any good.
- Without agendas
- With common schedules
- That aren’t too into religion, politics, and other hot topics if you’re not into them equally as deep
- That encourage you
- With time for you
- That listen to you
- That you can contribute something positive to
- That give
- That allow you to give
- That are good at making you feel good about yourself
Choose friends that add something to your life. Whom you choose to spend valuable time with - even your family, is up to you. Don’t waste any percentage of your free time with ‘friends’ that have an agenda…
Best of life!
“I’ve met some of my best friends in Hawaii… lifelong friends!”
Photo: Flickr CC by “notsogoodphotography”. But this friend photo is great!