Thursday, July 18, 2024

Friend or FRIEND?

September 12, 2019 by  
Filed under Ent., News, Opinion, Relationship Talk, Weekly Columns

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(  Living Single. Girlfriends. Golden Girls.  All three are amazing shows with leading women experiencing the ups and downs of relationships, beauty, and family.  The core of these shows, however, is friendship: the conduct and connection between people who are usually not romantically involved. Social media will have you believe that simply agreeing to partake or view someone’s life events constitutes a friendship.  Eh…not quite.  Effective friendships usually involve many qualities, but the most important should be communication, honesty, and trust.

Talking is taken for granted these days. Listening is too.  As a high school teacher, I still have to practice communication with students so they at least have some idea of how to talk with people regardless if they agree with their ideals or not.  If this has to be done with students,  you can imagine how many adults still have trouble with communication, one of the biggest traits of an effective friendship.  It is not just talking. It is also listening to understand and not just respond. One of my biggest mistakes in a friendship I previously had was my inability to listen.  I was extremely dedicated to getting my point across. I sometimes wished I could cut the person’s head open and insert my ideas and opinions because I believed I knew what was best for them.  I lost this person as a friend because of my horrible ability to listen while talking.

The second part of an effective friendship is honesty. The hardest part of an effective friendship: honesty.  Why? Lizzo said it best in her chorus: “Truth Hurts!”  We sometimes do not want to admit when an outfit looks like a banana on her. We sometimes do not want to admit THAT girl has been everyone’s girl.  We sometimes do not want to admit that her breath really needs 5 peppermints and Dr. Tichenor’s mouthwash. The truth can be an easy pill to swallow if taken consistently. Do not wait until anger and vengeance control the heart and mind.  Attempt as much as possible to practice veracity with fidelity.  It will not only improve communication, but it will help create trust.

I laugh at workshops and retreats that want one person to stand in front of someone else and fall backwards. The idea is that if you trust the person then you should be safe from the ground. Sometimes, that exercise works. Sometimes, people end up on the ground with an injured back.  Regardless,  the group is supposed to learn the value of trust.  In friendship, understanding the value of trust is integral in maintaining a friendship because of the many tests and trials  your friendship is destined to experience.  Since you will not spend every single moment of life with this person,  you have to be able to believe that they have your best interest at heart. They will defend you in the most dire situations. They will support you in the most troublesome times. They will encourage you when the world says negativity.  If your friendship is not in a place where the aforementioned things will happen,  it should be no surprise when it fizzles into nothing.

Life has given me excessive joys and pains with friends. I used to watch shows like “Living Single” and the “Golden Girls” and hope that I could transfer what they did to what I would do with my friends. HA!  That did not work. So, I had to work to build communication.  I had to be honest while crying and screaming.  I had to bow out of a lot of great opportunities out of respect for a friendship.  It was not easy at all, but I would not change any of it. The experiences helped me to realize that effective friendships take work, and they are not just simple buttons on a webpage.

Staff Writer; J. W. Bella

May also follow this talented sister online over at; JWB Writes.

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