When we reach our teenage years, we finally open our hearts socially and embrace friendships with people of similar or different walks of life. These bonds become the foundation of our own social and moral fibers. The ones who stand tall and support you usually end up being the ones who are the “real deal”. Often through our vulnerable years, we fall victim to those who betray our trust and show their deceitful colors as traitors to the ideals we have formed. What happens when someone who you have turned to for trust, security and advice ends up slowly poisoning your life? How do we find strength to figuratively put a bullet into the relationship that was productive, but now just making your life a living hell?
LifeHack.org had a great article about pulling the plug on friends featured on Monday. The article brings about some really great points on the “criteria” you as a person should consider about your friends. At the same right, it does bring some factors to the table that you also have to take into account. One could almost break it into the concept of “friendship appraisal”. Like how when you bring a vehicle to the dealership for an appraisal before trading it in or cashing it out, it is a through evaluation that inspects almost every facet of things to make sure that there are not things that could subtract from the starting value. I would say the big “values” of a friendship are time, respect, integrity.
Time is important, because like the adage goes: “Time is Money”. Money can be replaced respectively with productivity, if you think about it. Look back on all the time and history that you have built a friendship over. Has the time invested in the friendship been good? Is it full of memories that have been uplifting and productive on a mutual basis? Obviously, if the friendly relationship has been full of drama, delayed agony, and strife that have only served to benefit the means of your “friend’s” ways… They are probably not worth your time. Conversely, if your friend has made an effort to try to be mutually impacting in positive facets, then you know that the friendship is definitely a good investment of time.
Respect, a value that no person should ever sacrifice. We have to remember that we should be equals to our friends. We should never let our friends trample on our beliefs or values, all just to make a friendship work. We have to stand up for what we believe in, because values form who we are as humans. If we have friends who criticize and pick apart the things we believe in, rather than pointing out things and respecting our choices regardless. If a friend can respect you for who you are, rather than completely ripping your respect to shreds… then they are true to the word. If a friend has been slowly breaking you apart to mold you into their “perfect” vision and forcefully injecting their own values into you… they probably don’t care if you’ve sold your soul just to be their friend.
Integrity, the idea of “doing the right thing even when no one is watching”. Integrity is also being consistent with one’s beliefs. Much like respect, this should never EVER be compromised. A friend with integrity is one that could care less about the drama for helping you, because you’re a friend. The same friend would do their damnedest to render aid to you should things get tough… The same friend would also be there for you at any time or hour, provided that real world obligations are not stopping them. The most important thing, a friend with integrity is not swayed by the “angry mob” because they have their own mind. The integrity is the bit of value that really determines if your friend is an asset to you. If they are one to turn a dagger on you or just change because popular opinion, they simply aren’t worth the effort to salvaging a friendship.
The above points also make it tough, because if your best friend ends up being the one that you have to debate with… More than likely, one of the above will be breached. There are some cases where you can try to compromise and reason, but it’s not a guarantee. I know it was hard to turn a sword to some people that I had confided in, but when the matter of respect was breached… I couldn’t allow myself to be trampled on. Sure, the initial pain of watching my former friends basically stab me to death… but being able to stand up and say “I will survive” while others mocked my assumed rigor mortis was something far more valuable than anything else out there.
From rising up after drowning in a bloody pool of social drama, I relearned how to make quality friends. Sure, I wasn’t as “cool” or “popular” as the social butterfly with 400+ friends on Myspace and/or Facebook, but I could care less! The reward of having friends who have been straight-up truthful as well as strong with me has held lots of merits. I have made friends for life that the bonds will get stronger as time passes by.
It is like the old saying goes… “Friends come and go, but true friends last a life time.” It may be nice to be “popular”, but once the flame dies, is the lack of substance really worth it? Friends who have not a clue about you or even the time to invest back to you. Having to sell your soul just to keep them around. Investments that only lead to ruin, it’s just not worth the time and effort! The world is far from over, you can always recover… I am living proof of that testament.