I’ve always thought a true friend was just a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard and a person who gives assistance; a patron; a supporter. I was sure I knew what a true friend was. I only recently fully realized what it means to be a friend to someone, not just to revere and hold them in high esteem and not to share an interest in baseball, but to really respect them. I believe “friend” is a term thrown around too loosely, and very few people who call others a friend truly mean it.
I wish I could say I learned about this all on my own, but it took someone else to show me what friendship really is. I called this person my friend. This friend and I both believed we were “best buds”, “pals”, “chums”, “mates”. I don’t think either of us was in the truest sense. Both of us had the right idea, but we were each missing key pieces of the puzzle.
I always treat my friend very well, I’d give him gifts on all the major holidays, I’d help him out, do him favors even when he didn’t ask for them. I listened to everything he said, and I’d support him no matter what. He could be arguing that apples and oranges were the same and I’d agree without question. The best example of this came when he told me he didn’t believe in evolution. At first I thought he was being absolutely ridiculous but now I’m not even really sure about what I believe. My principals are now forever changed by what he would say. On the surface my actions seemed smart, but I realize that for me to really respect him I’d have to disagree with him on occasion.
On the other hand, my friend had almost the opposite approach. Everything he did for me he did because he thought it was “best for me.” Sure, it’s always nice to have somebody concerned about your health, but try sitting quietly while your best friend writes out an exercise schedule for you to follow. Don’t get me wrong, he made me a better person. He might even be responsible for me being a student at Kent Denver, but he never wanted to do something just because I would enjoy it.
Two kids can make a teeter-totter work when they each hold up their end, but if both kids try to go up at the same time neither of them will get off the ground. My friend’s devotion to what he thought was right, coupled with the fact that I never would speak up, contributed to the eventual implosion of our friendship. Looking back we both had it only half right. True friendship isn’t about bettering the other person and it isn’t about making the other person’s life as easy as possible. Real friendship is the happy middle between the two. It’s listening to what they want, and doing what is best for them. It’s helping them in life, but having fun along the way. It’s arguing against them, yet for them.
I wish I had another chance to work things out. I wish I could start again and be a true friend because this time I know we could get it right.
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