“Are They Your True Friends?” This is a statement that my grandmother asked me every time I complained about my friends.
Growing up, friendship meant consistent and good communication. It was okay to pick up a phone and call a friend just for the shake of it. It was normal to call a friend and follow up on how they were doing. It was proper for friends to show up at your home, or vice-versa if they had to.
Friendship was treated as a gift, and for the most part, friends were loyal to each other. Certainly, there were betrayals, gossip and falling out, but when someone was a true friend you rested assured that you could rely on each other.
What are Conditional Arrangements?
Of late friendships are more of conditional arrangements. The people you refer to as friends will only communicate if they want something from you. A few years ago I had a “friend” who was pursing a doctorate, and she was very consistent in communicating when she needed my help. She responded to all my text messages almost instantly and was always available. When she completed her doctorate, our friendship went on a down spiral. She started communicating less. At one point, I invited her for my annual seminar, and sent her three emails as reminders. But she neither responded nor showed up. Yet, I had supported her whenever she needed me. With time, every time I texted her she wouldn’t respond for days, and sometimes, weeks. And her texts became shorter and even rude. So, I realized that it was time for me to step aside and let her be.
People in conditional arrangements seem to be so busy for friendships. A few characteristics of conditional arrangements include but are not limited to the following:
- When you text or call someone and they don’t call you back in at least a week, and with a viable reason why they didn’t respond immediately, you are just a colleague. I know that sometimes life gets in the way, and we all get extremely busy. However, if you truly value a friendship you will find a way to get back to them sooner than later.
- If they hurt you and don’t apologize, it is a conditional arrangement. They don’t really care if you leave or stay. They literally take you for granted.
- If they don’t keep their word it is a conditional arrangement. If someone hurts you, and maybe apologizes but hurts you again in the same way, it is a conditional arrangement. True friendship is based on integrity.
- If they gossip about you it is a conditional arrangement. Gossip is normally based on fear, envy, competition or jealousy. Those attributes do not consistent true friendship.
- If you feel as if you are forcing the friendship, when you are the initiator of all your interactions, it is not true friendship.
- If you are always supporting them and they don’t support you, it is a conditional arrangement.
Note that although unconditional friendships do not expect anything in return, everyone in the relationship gives 100%.
- If they walk away in the midst of your challenges, they aren’t true friends. A true friend will always be there for you regardless of how challenged you may be.
- A true friend will never judge you. They will accept you as you are and will never attempt to change you. They won’t try to force you to do or be something you don’t believe in. They will respect your opinions and although they may not always agree with you, they won’t disregard you just because you are not on the same page.
In general, of late, people seem to be so engrossed in their own lives that they don’t have time to invest in friendships. And I believe it is also because we are all afraid and suspicious of each other. We aren’t sure about other people’s intentions. This might be based on the fact that we’ve been betrayed severally by those we have deemed as friends. Consequently, we build huge impenetrable walls around us to prevent others from connecting with us. However, although we remain safe in our protective cocoons we miss out on how true friendships can benefit us.
The rules of true friendship also applies for relatives. Just because someone is your relative doesn’t necessarily mean that they understand how to be friends with you. If someone is not friends with themselves, they will never know how to be friends with anyone else. True friendship begins from within.
Just because someone is your relative doesn’t necessarily mean that they understand how to be friends with you
The Characteristics of True Friendship:
To summarize this content, I base my concepts on Tony Robbins’ 6 core human needs of relationships.
A true friend will always make sure that you are certain of their friendship. For instance, they will be impeccable with their word. They will never lie, and if they do, it would mainly be to protect the relationship–plus they won’t lie often. Also, when you reach out to them, for the most part they will respond within a short period of time unless they are purposefully unavailable. And if they don’t respond immediately they normally get back to you as soon as they can.
A true friend will be open to the variety of things or ways that can enhance a healthy relationship with you. They will also offer you a variety of options to deal with challenges when and if they occur. A true friend will offer spontaneity, excitement, surprises, and even a bit of chaos—just to keep the relationship stimulating. Note that although this core need mainly applies for lovers, a true friend will use it in ways that will keep your friendship fresh.
A true friend will do things to make you feel loved, respected, celebrated, special and important. This takes someone who is also a true friend to themselves, because they will easily understand the importance of feeling significant and special. A friend will understand that when they hurt you, the way you feel matters more than what you did. They won’t try to justify their actions and ignore your feelings. They will acknowledge your feelings, apologize and then justify their actions. They will seek to be kind instead of right.
A true friend will do things to make you feel loved, respected, celebrated, special and important.
- Love and Connection:
This core need, is self-explanatory. It calls for respect, trust, integrity, consistence and good communication.
A true friend will always encourage you to grow. They will support your growth plans.
True friendship calls for progress. Note that if you are not progressing you are literally dying. A true friend will always push or support you to progress. They will be there when you feel stuck and will do whatever they can to help you get back up. And sometimes all it takes is a good listening ear without judgement.
Although the above suggestions might appear as if one is demanding so much from their friends, it takes one to know one. If one is a true friend to themselves they will understand what it takes to have and keep one.