Too often we attach nostalgia and/or chronology as reasons for maintaining or sustaining a friendship, which I’ve come to know, learn, and understand simple isn’t good enough for me .
I’m loyal to a fault and held on to many people in the name of friendship and it wasn’t until I went through some of the most painful and trying times of my life did I finally realise and recognise the impact of the embedded image.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not completely naive that I didn’t recognise sooner that my resulting weeding of certain people from my life was necessary; it was because of my loyalty to them; preserving the chronology of our friendship that extended it. I didn’t want to simply end friendships because we’d lost touch, they’d gotten new friends, or whatever reason we attach to prolonging friendships. I would sit and agonise over what would be a justifiable reason to end a friendship entirely or put said people in their respective place in my life.
As I said, the past five years gave me plenty of insight. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 07, so-called ‘close friends’ were there at the beginning, but suddenly faded out the picture when it came time for me to get to and from appointments, my needing to get out the house, or simply just needing company suddenly became a chore to them. I relied on the help and company of strangers; well, people I’d met through my support group and in some cases; strangers who saw me struggling and assisted me. When I became seemingly able-bodied again, all of a sudden those previously distant folk would make appearances, ask my assistance in various things, or want to come and visit. I even recall an instance where I received flack for calling someone whom I’d developed a bond with to help me get to and from a same-day surgery as they were available and volunteered to help if I needed it. Well, the person calling me out was asked and neglected to respond in a timely fashion in spite of my attempts to reach them, so what else was I supposed to do? Rhetorical, but I’m sure you’re getting the gist of what I’m saying. Folk are funny to say the least!
Fast forward to my back-to-back life altering events in 2010; losing my employment and then losing Lil Lady’s father a month later. So-called friends were either nowhere to be found or offered their assistance under what appeared to be duress. There was the initial shock and offers to help find leads on jobs or the volunteering of time to help me through my grief, deal with Lil Lady and take care of clearing out his house all while maintaining my own. This so-called help came sparingly at best. Insert once again, folk whom I’d either not known long or in one instance, just met a few months before. The Playmate as he became known, was a God-send to say the least. He offered time, company, a shoulder to lean on, and did it all without question. He didn’t make me feel like I was a burden or needy.
I realize that people can often be seasonal and I’ve learned to accept their role good or bad in my life as they’ve been a part of the growth into who I am.
Over time, I’ve learned to put people in their respective places. I’ve chosen not to point out faults or shortcomings as they’re counter productive because people will become defensive and nothing gets achieved that way. Those whom I’ve been able to address, I have and we’ve come to terms with the change in our friendship. Some are just too far gone for me to bother one way or another. I cherish those whom have come in and stayed. I give credit where it’s due to those who’ve played their part. And most importantly, I’ve learned that loyalty; though a beautiful attribute, must be carefully dispensed as well as guarded. My friends; correction; real friends know who they are. I don’t take the title lightly; Friendship is not an entitlement; it’s earned.
That is all!