A big family, a reading addiction, and the occasional celebrity scandal are the ingredients of life that create one woman's opinion on just about everything.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

You Gotta Have Friends...

A couple of blogs discussed friendship today. Holly talked about being a true friend in her post and to a degree this was also the subject of AngieW's post today as well.

This is what I commented at Angie's blog:

"A friend who can be honest without motive, personal gain or to hurt you, who genuinely just wants to help because they love you. Hang on to them…hang on tight. I have sisters, so ’nuff said, they thrill to grill me all with a kiss and a hug. But my closest friend who choses to be in my life as I do in hers…well, she’s a treasure beyond measure. "

I guess I'm sort of cynical because while several people at both of these blogs commented on their personal friendships, I have found both honesty and loyalty in short supply in real life. In fact, I talk to my two sons about personal integrity all the time. There simply aren't that many people with the courage to be honest, loyal and true...all things I think you need to be a real friend.

No offense to Holly, but I can't put telling a girlfriend her new blouse is unattractive in the same category as telling her she needs to go to rehab, or that a boyfriend is a lying, cheating scum, or her kid is a bully, or her daughter is a klepto. Try telling your parents you aren't going to another holiday if they are going to be drunk and have the rest of your family, who feel the same way, get mad at you for rocking the boat.

The thing is...it's hard to be honest. It is even harder if you absolutely know that what you say or do is going to hurt someone and that your only motive is to help someone you love and care about. Perception is everything. What if the family member or friend you are honest with thinks you suck for your honesty? It happens. People say they want the truth, but I've found that's not always the case. Being honest ain't for wimps. It's hard after the dust settles not to point to oneself and say...see me I did the right thing and everyone is pissed at me! No one wants to hear that or acknowledge it. You have to be ready to accept the consequences of being a good friend and sometimes that might mean the relationship is never the same, but the friend gets better or out of a bad situation. It's effing hard!

Honesty and integrity aren't things you employ when it's convenient. I think they have to be a part of everything you do. It's not just being the bringer of the news, sometimes you are the person receiving the news. So when a friend or family member is there in the trenches with you, holding your hand and supporting you no matter what the situation, that is everything. Forgiveness is huge with any friendship or family because as sure as there is sun in the morning everyone screws up sometimes.

As for the talking about people behind their backs, I've found that walking away from a conversation about some bitch or bastard that I'd love to add my two cents worth is hard. Being fair to people you don't like is even harder. The Golden Rule is easy to live by with the people you care about, but not so much for the guy who has no teeth (I kid you not!), reeks of BO, is rude and wants to rent an RV site for the night. So, not participating, even just by listening, has been hard for me. Stuff like that happens in the work place all the time. But I've found that I really got sort of poisoned just by listening to all that negativity. So now, nosy as I can be, I "just say no"! Well, to be "honest" I mostly say "no!" *g*

So while I have many acquaintances that I love and enjoy in my life, besides my husband, I have my sisters with whom I'm mostly honest (you know who you are) and one...one true friend that is all the things I've talked about here. I feel incredibly blessed for the abundance. They are all the more dear for their uniqueness.

BTW, I don't mean to imply I did any or all of those things listed...some are real life experiences and some are just examples. God forbid you all think I'm out there being a little Miss Fixer or Co-Dependent. Ack!!

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Blogger Holly said...

I hope I didn't imply in my post that I think telling someone they're wearing an ugly shirt is the same as telling them they need to dump their crackhead boyfriend-turned-husband ASAP. It's certainly not the same.

And you're right, it's not easy to be the person who tells your psycho mother that if I were my dad I'd have left her a long time ago. Ehem.

The truth of the matter is, as I said, sometimes I just keep my own council. Because the fallout isn't worth the discussion. But there are times (see crackhead above) when it's too important not to. And yes, like you, I'm blessed to have people in my life who aren't afraid to tell me the truth. Who look out for me, and care for me, and want what's best for me.

No, I don't have BILLIONS of friends like that, honestly. But the few I do have? Well, let's just say they're amazing.


1:46 AM PST  
Blogger Rosie said...

Holly, I shamelessly used your blouse example because I think we all jump on the friend bandwagon and comment (me too) and sort of say all the "right" and expected things. Those real relationships are sacred, not just some line in a Hallmark card.

I hope you don't feel picked on, it was more a matter of timing and my need to vent a little on the subject than anything else.

I appreciate your comments and think the other brave souls who read this post will too.

1:55 AM PST  
Blogger Karen Scott said...

I like to consider myself a true friend, but even I have my limits. I have a friend who's SO first had an affair two years ago, and has had at least one every year since. (two this year) At first I was happy to dole out advice, but now I realise that she'll do what she wants to do when she's ready, and no amount of 'get rid of that man' will make any difference.

Being there when they hit rock bottom, is as important, if not more so, than telling them the unvarnished truth, because as most of us know, giving advice is the easy part.

7:52 AM PST  
Blogger Stacy~ said...

Sometimes the hardest part of friendship is not just giving advice or being honest, but staying through the fallout that sometimes happens.

I have a friend that I've known for 15 years - we started for the same company on the same day, and clicked ever since. She was dating a guy for years who cheated on her non-stop, but no matter what we told her, she wouldn't believe it. Finally the last straw was when he tried to choke her (plus he had brought a gun into their home with their 2 kids) and she left him. It's still been a long struggle, and it hasn't been easy for her, but she's been there for her kids. This is the time when she really needed her friends, and I'm glad our friendship didn't end when we disagreed over the relationship. I hope I've been half the friend to her that she's been to me over the years. I know she will always be a part of my life, no matter where I am.

8:32 PM PST  
Blogger Rosie said...


I'm out of the advice business. I don't much like getting it unsolicited so I try not to dole it out...even in blogland. Now opinions that's another thing. I have opinions on just about everything.

My main point in writing the blog was just to say there is tons of lip service given to friendship, sometimes all the comments seem so superficial and canned. Besides, I know plenty of situations in my own life big and small where supposed friends scattered to the winds when the going got tough.

As for the truth, I might tell a friend (or sister) her man is a lying, cheating scum, but believe me experience has taught me to keep my mouth shut after that. While friends and family have eventually gotten away from the bastard they were with I've learned that what is said in rage or pain one day might not be the way things are the next day. Everyone has to decide for themselves when they've had enough. And you are right. Your friend when she works things out and has had enough will probably need you more than ever, not to tell her what to do, but to help her do what she needs to...at least that's been my experience.

It's hard to watch someone you love be hurt. It just is. I'm sorry someone close to you is being hurt and I know from the strength of character you've shown that you'll be there for her.

9:32 AM PST  
Blogger Rosie said...

Stacy, I had already sent a response to Karen when I saw your post. There's a sisterhood just in the fact so many of us seem to have experienced a friend whose been in a bad relationship.

Your love for your friend is obvious. She's lucky to have you in her life.

9:34 AM PST  

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