Sunday’s Food for the Soul: Are You a TRUE Friend?

While talking to an acquaintance the other day she had made the comment that she wished she had more GREAT friends.  That got me thinking; in today’s culture where the main emphasis is the virtual world, do we all hunger, crave a true, great friendship? However great friendships just don’t happen, to have a great friend you need to be a great friend. What kind of a friend are you?

 

freind222222

Do you hold others to unrealistic expectations? If the situation was reversed would you be willing to hold yourself to such high standards?

Are you quick to forgive?

Do you give selflessly, without expectations or an IOU?

Do you judge? Do you base friendships on superficial qualities? What kind of car they drive, house they have, status, profession, etc.?

Are you willing to give your undivided attention?

Do you try to make yourself superior? No one wants to feel like an inconvenience.

Do you build the other up?

If there is a problem can you have a conversation and see where each other is coming from? Do you have sympathy and compassion? Are you understanding of each other’s circumstances?

 

482575_632511063430568_581391812_n

Have you had a friendship that has lasted the tests of time? How do you make certain your friendships thrive? How do you make certain you are a friend that is worth having?

Friendships: Real, Fake, and Facebook

The other day the children had a friend over for a play date.  I was in the other room when I overheard one of the children claim that they would no longer be the other child’s friend if they did not give them a certain toy. I chuckled to myself. It is rather amusing how we regard friendships when we are young.  By simply sharing a toy, or, as my daughter has attested to numerous times, a treat from your lunchbox you instantly have a BFF. Now, mind you that same BFF will totally take back that status if you don’t have a treat or toy to share the next day. There are so many growing pains in life that revolve around friendships. Thankfully as adults we are more mature and we don’t have to worry about a person being a friend one day and unfriending the next. Wait! Nope. I take that back. While just last month I experienced that precise scenario on Facebook. Perhaps adults have not evolved far beyond preschool and elementary school when it comes to friendships? Or has the definition of friend simply changed?

 imagesCAGFWOU9

With the introduction of Facebook the natural process or evolution of a relationship has become complicated.  It used to be evident who an acquaintance, friend, best friend were but thanks to Facebook everyone is now a friend. Your neighbor, friend! The woman at the grocery store who had to have that recipe, friend! Your child’s music teacher, friend! You get the idea.  A lot of these individuals would be given the title acquaintance back before we had Facebook.  Now we quickly give everyone the title of friend without ever earning it.

It has taken me a few years but I have come to the realization that a friendship is something that is earned.  You can’t instantly be friends without earning the title, without putting in your time, nurturing the relationship.  Also, in order to have a true friendship you need to be a friend worth having. Are you honest, trustworthy, loyal, kind, compassionate, empathetic, a good listener? It can take time and energy to truly be a friend worth having. And it can take many trials and errors before you find a person who can reciprocate.  Unfortunately the pain of realizing an individual whom you thought was your friend isn’t doesn’t lessen with age.  In fact, I think it hurts more. Children don’t know any better, adults do. 

imagesCADZEXN3

I did some research on the topic and here is what I found.

Signs that your friendship is fake…..

 

  • A fake friend does not feel genuinely happy when you have positive news. Smiles in front of you but fumes with anger inside.
  • A fake friend will always find fault about you, and highlights your fault.
  • A fake friend will never be humble towards you. His/her ego is bigger than yours.
  • A fake friend is secretly happy to hear about your weaknesses and will use it against you, or worst, spread lies about you.
  • A fake friend will use you as a punching bag, whenever he/she needs an escape goat, he/she will talk down on you to feel good.
  • The worst case, a fake friend is suffering from mental issues, would hurt you verbally, emotionally, mentally and destroy you as a person, without rational explanation

Source

 

Fake friends always expect a person to visit, call and see about them, but they don’t want to give in the same effort. They think that it’s okay not to give their effort to put back into the friendship at all, which drains a person out…… Fake friends don’t keep their word! They always leave another person in the dark about something! This means that they don’t call to say that plans have changed, or they don’t call to say something has happened!

Source

Craves attention from your peers….Ever experience a friend adding a lot of your friends on Facebook to their own list? This comes after only saying hi to your friend once if they’ve even said anything at all… sounds like someone is jealous of your popularity and wants your friends for them.

Disappearing or shying away…..Have you ever experienced trying to make plans with a friend and suddenly they’re always too busy or don’t even call you back altogether. All of a sudden they never want to hang out anymore. Sometimes when people are jealous, they would rather stay away then face the fact that they feel bad about themselves in your presence.

Source

 

Signs of a Real Friend……

• If your car is off the road they will offer to drive you even if it means that they are going out of their way to do so, neither will they accept any petrol money from you for doing it.

• Even if you only see each other two or three times a year, when you are together it’s like you have never been apart.

• They will offer their unfailing support no matter what you try to do, even if they don’t agree with your choices they will support you in them.

• They won’t say anything behind your back or gossip about you when you are not there.

• They know about all of your insecurities but won’t broadcast them to the masses.

Source

In conclusion….

Though I have been hurt a few times and yes, even un-friended a couple of times, I have not lost all faith in mankind.  I believe people by nature are good, God created it so. However our society feeds the ego so much that the good can become difficult to find. Thus when making new acquaintances tread lightly and be cautious. And when you do find that true friendship hold on to it, treasure it, for it is an invaluable gift, and lastly do remember that we are all human, no one is perfect, and forgiveness is a necessity for any relationship to thrive.

What qualities do you look for in a friend? Have you ever found yourself in a fake friendship…what were the signs?  Please share your thoughts, idea, and experience.

Tuesday’s Tip: Be Aware of Your Influence

Take a moment to sit back and reflect on your life.  Ask yourself these questions;

Am I a happy person the majority of the time?

Am I a positive influence on others?

Who or what are the positive influences in my life? (Family, friends, media, music)

To be honest I never really even considered a correlation between the people, media, music, etc. in my life and who I am as a person. Or the impact that my media, music, etc. decision had on my children. Shoot, I thought it was cute when my child started singing Poker Face by Lady Gaga and music in that same genre. That is until I had the opportunity to attend a very inspiring presentation, and it was during that presentation that I had an authentic aha moment!

A couple of years ago at a MOPs meeting two DJs from YES FM gave an amazing presentation about the pest, weeds, and chemicals that can harm your psyche.  I am sure you are familiar with the expression, ‘you are what you eat’.  Well this presentation addressed the fact that you are what you listen to, watch, and whom you choose to keep company with, mind-blowing right!?!

As we entered the room there was three different items on a table.  There was a basket full of fruits and vegetables, a box of Twinkies, and a bottle of Roundup.  They began the presentation by explaining that the fruits and vegetables represent the healthy or nutritious media for the soul. 

The examples they listed as good, or positive influences were, Veggie Tales, PBS programs, Christian radio (Matte West/Amy Grant), and a few others. When it comes to relationships, the vegetables and fruit represent those that nourish you, the positive and encouraging individuals and relationships.  Then attention was directed to the box of Twinkies on the table.

 

 
The box of Twinkies represents the media information, music, and relationships that are not necessarily good or positive, but not exactly negative either, but neutral.  The examples given were Sponge Bob and family friendly music (The carpenters/Frank Sinatra) and shows.  With regard to individuals in your life the box of Twinkies represent the relationships you have with individuals who perhaps focus more on the superficial things in life, while not bad, it isn’t positive either. As they moved down the table and focused their attention on the spray bottle of Roundup they indicated that it, without a doubt, represents the negative or toxic influences in the media, music, and the like. 

The examples they gave were MTV, Lady Gaga, violent games, etc. The presentation really struck a nerve with me. I had never realized just how influential even the background music or television shows could be not only to a young child, but me as well.  In terms of relationships this is where those individuals who talk about other’s behind their backs, who feel the need to tear other’s down in order to build themselves up, who attack the person as opposed to the issue, who live by motives, games, and manipulation.  These are the toxic relationships.

After that presentation I made a conscious effort to only listen to positive, uplifting music in the car and at home.  The result was surprising, my mood, as well as the children’s, seemed to be more uplifting.  I illustrated more patience with the children and them with each other.

With regard to relationships I feel it is important that we take each person’s situation into consideration and understand that sometimes we have been placed in a relationship with a Twinkie or a Round-up/toxic individual in order to be the positive and encouraging influence. But this can be a slippery slope, be cautious how much time you spend because they can also be influencing you.

So, from time to time take a moment out of your day and reflect on the influences in your life and consider who you are influencing. And always remember that we all have the potential to be a nourishing component in someone’s life or a toxic one, be the veggie in a world filled with Twinkies!