Monday Musings: Are You a Good Friend?

I’m 36, and for the first time in my life, I believe I had found real friends. Having friends was never a huge factor in my overall wellbeing. I quite enjoy my own company.

There is a poem I love by English poet Alexander Pope, “Ode to Solitude.”

Happy the man, whose wish and care
   A few paternal acres bound,
Content to breathe his native air,
                            In his own ground.

Whose herds with milk, whose fields with bread,
   Whose flocks supply him with attire,
Whose trees in summer yield him shade,
                            In winter fire.

Blest, who can unconcernedly find
   Hours, days, and years slide soft away,
In health of body, peace of mind,
                            Quiet by day,

Sound sleep by night; study and ease,
   Together mixed; sweet recreation;
And innocence, which most does please,
                            With meditation.

Thus let me live, unseen, unknown;
   Thus unlamented let me die;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
                            Tell where I lie.

I’m a firm believer of loving yourself and being content with who you are before engaging in relationships with other people. Since I am content with my own company, I get highly irritated when I thought I had friends and found out my time was wasted, time I could have been spending alone or with other people.

Some elders I know always remind me that people can be in your life for a reason or for a season. This is true. I don’t mind those people especially if they added value. However, some people are leeches and are toxic. You thought some people were real and then you found out they were fake. One of my real friends, call those friendships pretendships.

Many times when relationships or friendships go wrong, we blame the other person and don’t consider our actions. Here are some thoughts for your consideration to determine if you are a good friend.

1. Are you a taker?

We all have had friends who don’t seem to know your phone number until they want something. Are you the type of person that only seems to know your friends’ number when you want something? You are always reaching out when you need something but rarely reach out to see how your friend is doing. You rarely or never reach out and offer that person help yet you call the person your friend?

2. Are you a liar or have attempted to compromise your friend’s integrity?

Don’t lie. It’s that simple. There is no justification for it. If you think lying works just watch one episode of one of these reality shows and see how that all turns out. Also, you should not put your friend in a compromising situation or ask them to lie. I ended a friendship a few months ago with someone who was a liar and who accused me of lying. Of course, when I was able to prove I didn’t lie, I decided this friendship wasn’t worth my time. I guess liars are just parnoid that other people will lie to them too. I don’t have time for that drama!

3. Are you supportive?

I believe I can do well by myself. If I’m going to have you in my inner circle, you have to be adding some value. You have to support me through the bad days and the good days. If you can’t support someone and cheer the person on, why are you considering that person your friend.

4. Is your behavior problematic?

Are you doing things that makes the other person uncomfortable? For example, I know people who don’t like to drink. I don’t order wine if I’m out with them. I try to be mindful. I know how importance boundaries are. For example, I’m not a big hugger. People respect that. I do hug family and friends 🙂

5. Are you unable to apologize when you are wrong?

I take apologies seriously. If I screw up, I’m going to woman up and say I’m sorry. If you are too grown to apologize then you are not mature enough to have friendships.

I’m not perfect. I know I’m an odd lady. I know that me not wanting to leave my house has put a strain on friendships. I’m doing better at getting out, but I’m really a home body. I know not ending friendships that were toxic was on me.

If you are not a good friend, consider why. Consider if you want to do better, if not end the frienship and move on. If you have friends who are bad, set expectations of what you need from the friendship. If the person can’t or won’t meet them, cut the person loose. No one needs anyone in their life that is not adding value.

Last, to my friends, I love you! Thanks for being real and drama free!

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