Shelly R. Wilson

That’s What Friends Are For

The topic of friendship continues to come into my awareness. There are so many aspects I can focus on, but first, what is a friend?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a friend is defined in four ways:
1. one attached to another by affection or esteem; an acquaintance
2. one that is not hostile; one that is of the same nation, party or group
3. one that favors or promotes something (as a charity)
4. a favored companion

To me, a friend is someone who is there for you when you need to talk. They will listen without judgment and offer advice when you ask (and even when you don’t ask). They will tell you the truth even when you really don’t want to hear the truth. As the saying goes, “people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.” There are also varying degrees of friendship. Typical terms are acquaintance, friend, close friend, dear friend and best friend.

I prefer to think of my friendships with a solar system analogy. I am the sun in this solar system and each of my relationships are the planets – Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto (yes, I still consider Pluto a planet).

Now, who would you consider your Mercury? This friend is the closest to you. They know everything about you, and they are your closest confidant. Then, who would be your Venus and so on? Pluto would be the casual acquaintances in your life. This analogy is simply a mental visualization especially since we all learned the phrase – My very educated mother just served us nine pizza-pies – in school to learn the names of the planets. I believe you can have more than one friend in the “planet location” too.

Just as we change and grow, so do our relationships. I was recently guided to go through my friends list on Facebook and purged over 2/3 of the people. I had a few people message me afterwards wanting to know why. My intent was definitely not to hurt or cause harm when I clicked the “unfriend.” My reasoning is that I wanted to reduce my list so that I could actually see the posts made by those people I have actually met or have had personal interaction with. I went through each name one by one asking the questions: 1. Have I met this person? 2. Have I had some kind of personal interaction with this person? 3. Do I know anything about this person? 4. Will this person even know if I unfriend them? (Yes, that last one was an important question to ask. If I didn’t know them, more than likely they don’t really know me).

Today’s Facebook post by SARK spoke volumes and sparked this blog:
Remember: The gifts of friendship can often be found in changes – even when friendships fade or end, the friendship is still part of us. It has contributed to how we are in the world and who we are as friends ~ SARK

It’s important to see the blessings within the relationships that have ended. Did this individual introduce you to someone else? Did this person offer you a lesson (an opportunity for learning and growth)?

The past few months I’ve had relationships with both friends and colleagues shift and change. It isn’t a bad thing per se, it just happens. My true (close) friends know that I am always a phone call, text or email away if they need me. Some of my friends, I am in daily contact with. Other friends, days, weeks and even months may go by with very little contact, yet once we do talk; it’s as if no time has passed.

To me, that is what true friendship is all about. We are here to support, encourage and love one another. Some people feel hurt and neglected if they have friends who aren’t “good” friends. When you feel this way, honor yourself and what you are feeling and then ask yourself a few questions. Have you reached out to those friends in your life? Have you let them know that you miss them or that you need them? Have you been the kind of friend to them that you want them to be? Friendship is most definitely a 2-way street.

The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart. ~ Elisabeth Foley

I have had a few “friends” actually vocalize their jealousy to me. I recognize and “hear” what they are saying, but I also don’t care for the jealousy/envy energy either. We are each having our own human life experience. For those believers in reincarnation (as I do), our soul chose our life experiences prior to our incarnation, including the “good,” the “bad,” and the “ugly!” I love that each one of us is having our own experience on Earth school and that our lives intermingle. We are here to learn, to grow and to evolve. Let’s be happy for one another, celebrate the accomplishments and be supportive during the challenging times.

The song lyrics to Dionne Warwick’s song, “That’s What Friends are For” are speaking loud and clear to me in regards to seeing the blessings within the relationships that have ended and also cherishing those people who are in my life now ~

Well, you came in loving me
And now there’s so much more I see
And so by the way
I thank you

Oh and then for the times when we’re apart
Well, then close your eyes and know
The words are coming from my heart
And then if you can remember

Keep smiling and keep shining
Knowing you can always count on me, for sure
That’s what friends are for
In good times and bad times
I’ll be on your side forever more
That’s what friends are for

Tell your friends what they mean to you.
Be the kind of friend you want in your life.
Don’t take things personally.
Recognize that people change and so do relationships.

That’s What Friends Are For by Dionne Warwick
Songwriters
ALLEN, PETER W. / BACHARACH, BURT F. / CROSS, CHRISTOPHER C. / SAGER, CAROLE BAYER