I was thinking about friendships the other day. What a big and heavy word, at least in my opinion. I happen to think that many of us take it for granted or just don't analyze its importance. I believe that every major relationship in life has to develop from some sort of friendship in order to fulfill its full potential.
Let's look at the definition so we can start analyzing from there. The dictionary tells us that a friend is a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations. The Bible tells us in proverbs 17:17 that "a friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity."
I've had all kinds of friends throughout my life; and by "all kinds" I'm not only referring to their cultural background, ethnicities, political views and religious believes but their personality. I've had the best of blessings meeting amazing people that I can still count among my friends. But I also met people that made me feel bad about myself and dismissed me like a housekeeper after hours. I also have my share of learning and maturing in my relationships. Still, like any other healthy relationship, I believe friendship is about love, commitment, honesty, communication and finding the perfect balance of all that between, at least, 2 people. Some people will find this as "too much work" but in a healthy relationship, you also get back what you give and believe me, it is not only rewarding but meant to be. We were created to be relational, one way or another. It doesn't matter how antisocial one may think he/she is, it is not mentally, emotionally or even spiritually healthy to live an isolated life.
Something I've learned to pay attention to, is the different emotional stages people can present when getting to know them. I burned myself in the past too many times, opening my heart too soon to trust a person and didn't see some red flags blinded by the need of a friend. I still do that sometimes. The trust part, I mean. I blame it on the unavoidable Latina passionate soul.
I was bullied when I was in elementary school. Thank God I was never pranked too badly but enough to mess with my insecurities. I was called ugly too many times and I believed it. So I turned practical and started developing skills since, in my mind, my face wasn't taking us anywhere, haha. I find it funny now but that's exactly how my analytical mind works. I should've learned to guard my heart sooner but at the same time I ask myself, how can we truly love people when our heart is surrounded by walls?
Now it is time to teach our children our experiences as they go through similar patterns. It is their turn now to develop a thick skin and learn to navigate some unnecessary mean comments at school as well as other places. It is also a time to learn that you can't call people best friend way too soon. That's a title that needs to be earned. Life is full of decisions. Deciding to offer our friendship to someone is an important one. So I would encourage you to be careful who you open your heart to. Every relationship needs to be reciprocated. Don't let toxic people walk all over you. That doesn't mean we can't open our hearts in general just to be kind to anyone. Still, there's a fine line between kind and stupid. I crossed it a few times.
I still have faith in people. Even though society keeps pushing us to prioritize so many other things over human beings. Many relationships get a wired feeling when sharing something important like work, stage, power... and that's when communication and honesty comes handy. A true friend should never turn on a person over anything. You can agree to disagree in a few things but don't forget what made you call that person your friend and your answer will be right there.
As for the toxic people that never make time to look inside to do a little housekeeping, I have the best quote for you.
"Just because you lost me as a friend doesn't mean you gained me as an enemy. I'm bigger than that. I still wanna see you eat, just not at my table. Tupac"