I have a question: What do you think of the above quote about friends? Is that what a true friend really is?
I will confess that I really hate such sayings because I think they are nice mushy sentiments of how we wish people were, and they sound like they ought to be true, but they aren’t. I think they set up a person to have unrealistic expectations of others.
“A true friend will never fail, will always be there, will never judge, will always accept us as we are…”? So what happens if your friend fails you? Do you consider her to not be a “true friends” because she failed? If so, what does that make you–you who did not listen, who was not “there,” who didn’t accept a friend no matter what, and who didn’t love FOREVER? Can YOU live up to these expectations of what a true friend is? Do you want others to expect this of you? No? So why would you think others can live up to this expectation of perfection?
A true friend “will always stand by your side, will never put you down, will stick up for you…” what happens if your friend thinks you are wrong, or disagrees with you? What happens if your friend tells you a truth you don’t want to hear–that offends you? Do you consider this “not sticking up for you or standing by you?” Is a friend supposed to always agree with you? Do YOU always agree with your friend? Do YOU always stand by YOUR friend even if you think he/she is wrong? Is a true friend REALLY someone who never disagrees or confronts? Or could it be that they love you enough to tell you when they think you are doing something destructive, whether or not you like it?
There are times when each of us go through difficult times and are weak and hurting and need someone to come along with a shoulder to cry on, an understanding ear, a loving heart, an encouraging word, and forgiveess. However if we are permanently focused only on our own suffering, our own pain, our own needs, our own desire that others be there for us, and we never understand that EVERYONE has difficult days, suffering, wounds, heartaches, and “too much on their plate, if we never reach out to minister to them in their need, if we never forgive them when they mess up, if we always want others to be the perfect friend who excuses our messes and never seek to be a good friend who excuses their messes, then we are very self-absorbed and self centered, caring only about ourselves.
In reality, friends are human, they have problems, dysfunctions, and bad days, and they will make mistakes and occasionally fail, no matter how good a person they are. They will sometimes misunderstand, sometimes mess up, sometimes be impatient or unloving. They will sometimes be overwhelmed by life, be heartbroken, wounded, or discouraged and will need YOU to give THEM a break, given the understanding, and forgive them for not living up to your expectations.
In my opinion, a true friend is not one who never fails–because WE ALL FAIL each other at some point or another. A true friend tries to be honest and vulnerable. She is one who doesn’t throw a friendship away when there are problems or failures but is willing to try to work it out. A true friend is one who gives you “a break” when you fail, even though you hurt her deeply, and forgives you when you ask for forgiveness. A true friend is sometimes strong but sometimes weak. A true friend tries to be there when you need it, but needs you to try to be there for her.
I am struggling today because my friend got offended at something my husband did, and rather than talk to us about it, she told us that she was fine and understood and then she never talked to me again, even though in all the years we knew her, we loved her and listened to her, and sacrificed for her–and even though I asked her to forgive us for hurting her. Through all those years, she has cried that life is painful and she is overwhelmed, and she wants people to understand her and give her a break. However, when she had a chance to understand and give my husband (and us) a break during a very hard time, she abandoned our friendship. I feel sad about it.