Just last week I was thinking about the friendships I’ve made that are still growing strong and the ones that have fizzled out. I was looking at a few of my wedding pictures, and saw friends I’ve known for over 20 years, and some I’ve met more recently. But just as interesting and as telling were the people who were missing from my big day. Some of the people I met in college and assumed I’d be friends with forever didn’t even know I got married. Others found out after seeing pictures on Facebook. Big events like these force us to look back on our old relationships and contemplate what prompted changes.
It seemed that as I got older I became less patient with people who proved over and over again that they did not respect my time or my friendship. I became much less forgiving of those whose friendships were conditional based on arbitrary standards that were subject to change at their convenience. We are often taught to treat people the way we want to be treated, however that only works when this practice is reciprocal. I believe we need to find a balance between practicing the golden rule and treating people the way they treat us. That often does wonders in helping the less than genuine friends find their way out of your lives.
We should unlearn the concept of giving our love to those who give us none. We must reating ourselves to embrace the concept of quality over quantity with our relationships. We must learn to be selective with our finite resources, particularly our time and energy. We have to be able to distinguish between those who enjoy our company and those who benefit from our presence. As we begin to distinguish constructive feedback form criticism we’ll know who our friends are and who our “frienemies” are.
Life is a journey. Some people will be with us every step of the way. Some are mean to be temporary obstacles to strengthen us or teach us a valuable lesson. Many others are companions for part of the trip and will eventually find their own way. Under no circumstances should we attempt to force something that wasn’t meant to be, lest we want to run the risk of attracting misery to our lives. Is this a cavalier attitude toward friendship? Not at all. True friendships aren’t subject to those rules.