BFF. Bestie. “People let me tell you ‘bout my best friend….” (“Courtship of Eddie’s Father” for those of us who remember the TV show theme.)
What kind of friend do you want to be? Answer that with your response to “What kind of person do you consider a friend?”
When I was first dating my wife, I asked her how many true friends she had. Her answer rattled me. “Well, not many. In my mind, a friend is someone who will die for you.”
We’ve all had “friends” who we are convenient for:
- The *friend* you haven’t heard from in nine years. iPhone vibrates. “Hey, how are you??!! I’ve been thinking about you lately. How are you? How’s the family? (long pause) I’d like to tell you about something I’m involved in. Can I share with you?” (Sales pitch for their new business or multi-level marketing product ensues. It’s a cold call, that’s all.) “It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business.”
- The *friend* who calls you up, sounds off about their life, drama, and difficulties for an hour then finally says, “So how’s it going with you?” Five minutes later after you’ve started to answer and bleed, “Well, I’ve got to get going.”
- The *friend* who uses you as a sounding board. (Wannabe ministers are good for this.) They preach their sermon and you are their congregation. I had one *friend* literally not respond at all when I told them my stepfather passed away. No affect. Nothing. After he had preached of course.
- The *friend* who is there while you’re providing them a service or helping them build their business, their brand, or their empire. Then they’re gone and you don’t hear from them again. Until, of course, they need your help and skill.
This cuts both ways. Are you the kind of *friend* who finds people convenient rather than valuable? Don’t lie.
Maybe we use the word friend in the same meaningless way we say “awesome” to everything. Such friends might better be called associates, acquaintances or colleagues, even peeps. Don’t ruin something as beautiful as the word “friend” misapplying to people like this or to you if it fits. Nobody likes to be used.
This is what friends do:
- They ask you how you are doing and then listen.
- They really want nothing from you except you.
- They call out the best in you and call you out when you’re quitting and wrecking your life.
- They’re the ones who stick around when the train derails. They help put the cars back on the tracks.
“When you win in politics, you hear from everybody. When you lose, you hear from your friends.” (Richard M. Nixon after he resigned as President of the United States)
Have you friends?
The Chosen (Chaim Potok)
“Brian’s Song” (the original 1971 film)