How the hell do YOU define friend? Go ahead, I'll wait...
Ok, now, how many people do you know that actually FIT that description? Hmph. And what about best friends, bffs, bffls, bf4e, and whatever horrendously cheesy net-slang acronyms one can place around the concept of a friend above all others- what about those?
The concept of friendship has always been a tricky one. And in this post-modern world, we now also have to consider things like associates, allies, frenemies, and plain-old bitches we don't like.
Why is everything so complicated? Why does having a relationship with someone, where your connection has nothing to do with neither sharing the same blood nor sleeping together, have to be so goddamn taxing? Yes, romantic-relationship are hard with the drama they bring but in the end -the belief is- you find one person with whom you get along and you just keep working at it. With family, you fight, you stop speaking, you move away; but somehow they always get a pass because you have no choice but to just accept them as they are.
Yet the relationship between friends always seems to be more stressful. The other two are just accepted forms of stress. Friendships are supposed to be easy, right?
I feel that the first step towards true friendship is to be true to yourself. Remember that magnifying glass I mentioned? You have to be willing to break down your own character- this aides you in being able to see yourself the way someone else would. This does not mean to be self-effacing, or worse, to damage your own psyche. No, you just have to be real about who you are. And you have to accept it- you have to be okay with every aspect about you; flaws and perfections. Then, and only then, can you realize that yes, you may critical or yes, you may be a bit bitchy around that time of the month, or yes, sometimes you are a bit needy. But you can also see that yes, you would give someone your last $10 to be able to afford a bus pass or yes, you will drive to their house at 3 a.m. to console them after breaking up with a boyfriend (or throw a brick through his car window).
You have to accept you. And then you have to find others who accept you as well. The theme of family relationships and romantic ones is acceptance. The same ideology has to be applied in friendship as well. You can't be friends with someone who doesn't accept you- what the hell kind of friendship is that? You need to be able to read people. Social cues and subtlety count for very little these days. You should be able to discern whether someone needs a pat on the back or a good swift kick in the ass and a dose of reality. People get so wrapped up in themselves that they don't know how to think about others. You need to be able to actually feel things too- anger, sadness, contentment. To feel allows you to remember that others feel as well. And, well, if you have someone with the same kind of social skills and intuition that you've got, you will have the kind of friendship where you don't even have to say much- the other person will just know what you think. Don't we all truly desire a connection like that? Isn't that what connecting is all about?
You also have to understand the difference in being a friend and having someone be a friend to you. It is all too easy to throw around the word "friend" because it is such a huge umbrella that seems to be all-encompassing. But not everyone is your friend. You also must accept that even if you have known someone for years, they could really just be a foe in hiding- a wolf in a fabulous sheepskin fur coat with Uggs to match.
<3 IMP </3