It goes without saying that a true friend might be the most valuable thing any person might have in their life, and it’s why I think this quote is an excellent thing to have in your head when you interact with your friends.
It goes without saying that a true friend might be the most valuable thing any person might have in their life, and it’s why I think this quote is an excellent thing to have in your head when you interact with your friends. The reason it is so important to remember is that it not only is a great foil to use for your own behavior, but also to use as a standard for determining who really has your best interests at heart.
The enduring hallmarks of true friendship are honesty and loyalty. A loyal friend defends you against the world, against people who wish you ill, and against people who practice the casual cruelty of poorly considered words and gossip. This is typically the easier part of a real friendship because of course, you love your friends and it is easy to defend them.
But this loyalty also comes with a heavy weight. That is the weight of the responsibility for honesty. A casual friendship avoids the heavy conversations, the hard conversations. If you load up the scales with your dislike of having to tell tough truths to your friend against the value that they will get by having somebody give their honest opinion and the scales sink towards the former; then this is likely a casual friendship or not a friendship at all. If the scales move towards telling the truth, then you know that your affection for this person outweighs your own discomfort. This represents true friendship.
There is a wrinkle here that bears mentioning though. Some people just simply like to be “honest” as a proverbial hall pass to tread the corridors of simple meanness or cruelty. These are the people that will call a person fat and say “What? It’s true…”. There is no consideration about whether their opinion is valuable, how it makes them feel, and if that sentiment is coming from a loving place. This is a great barometer for determining if the person giving you that hard truth really has your best interests in mind. Look at the delivery.
Here is a for instance. Your friend is dating a deadbeat guy who doesn’t treat her as an equal. How do you tell her?
Do you tell her that “he is a complete loser who is treating her like she is nothing. Why would you even date this guy? Everyone thinks this way about him…”
Or do you tell her that you “care about her happiness and that she deserves to be treated better because she is worthy of that better treatment.”
One of these examples is brutally honest, which of course there is a time for, and the other isn’t. In the brutally honest example, your friend feels ashamed to feel how she feels and is embarrassed by her actions whether she agrees or not. I would argue that in this example, the person telling the hard truth cared more about saying her version of the truth than she cared about helping her friend.
In the more caring example, you make your friend feel loved and supported. You give her the solid foundation she needs to feel empowered to own her own decision, to be strong. There is very little that is more powerful than that. If of course she decides not to follow your advice, you at least have done your duty as a friend and you will be there if it all falls apart.
Use this quote to think about your own life. Think about who your real friends are. Are they trying to enrich your spirit or tear you down? But also use this to think about what kind of friend you are, and how you can truly be the best friend you are capable of being.Disclaimer : The views expressed in this article belong to the writer and are not necessarily shared by gomcgill.com