If you’ve ever gotten an email forward before in your emailing history, I would be surprised to know that you have never seen this one before…
A Simple Friend vs. A Real Friend
A simple friend, when visiting, acts like a guest.
A real friend opens your refrigerator and helps him/herself.
A simple friend has never seen you cry.
A real friend has shoulders soggy from your tears.
A simple friend doesn't know your parents' first names.
A real friend has their phone numbers in his/her address book.
A simple friend brings a bottle of wine to your party.
A real friend comes early to help you cook and stays late to help you clean up.
A simple friend hates it when you call after he has gone to bed.
A real friend asks you why you took so long to call.
A simple friend seeks to talk with you about your problems.
A real friend seeks to help you with your problems.
A simple friend wonders about your romantic history.
A real friend could blackmail you with it.
A simple friend thinks the friendship is over when you have an argument.
A real friend calls you after you had a fight.
A simple friend expects you to always be there for them.
A real friend expects to always be there for you!
I have definitely gotten that one a fair number of times, but that doesn’t mean it is just one of those forwards that goes around so often that I write it off as having no significance. If anything, I’ve recently realized just how true the thoughts in this forward truly are in real life.
Within the past year I have seen some friendships flourish, as well as some others fade. Some friendships take a long period of time to slowly fade, while others can fade in a matter of weeks. Some friendships take a long period of time to flourish into the closeness that a friendship can share, while still others can grow close in a matter of days. Each friendship is special and unique, and that is such a blessing.
What’s interesting is to see the distinction between one friendship and another as flourishing and fading progresses; comparing the simple friendship to the real friendship during these times.
Over the past couple months I have gotten to see this sort of thing happen. I have had some time to give it all a lot of thought and I can look back on points during this time and note things that have distinguished a simple friendship from a real friendship.
Now before I go into my explanations, I need to clarify my thoughts on friendships…
Friendships are held in high regard with me. The value I place on friendships puts it near the top of my priority list many times. This goes for all types of friendships. I feel simple friendships are important to have, as are real friendships. I think having both shows the ability to relate to people on different levels, as well as the versatility that a person can have with other people. Please understand that I view simple friendships as important pieces of our lives. I think one should be willing to put forth a fervent effort for a simple friendship when paths seem to be wavering. A friendship is a friendship. We chose to be a part of that friendship for a reason, so it has value just as any other friendship. I think the difference that is to be noted between one friendship over another is the depth of the investments put into the friendship. I think the original email forward mentioned previously helps to depict the different levels of investing in a friendship.
Recently I found myself sitting at a crossroad in with a friendship. The crossroad was a situation of obvious disagreement. Disagreement does not have to be a crossroad, but in this situation it had developed into a time for re-evaluation for both of the parties involved.
Evaluating a friendship should never be something to shy away from. In all honesty, it can only shed light on the truth, if you are willing to see the truth and willing to give it the opportunity. Maybe the friendship really isn’t what one (or both) the parties hoped or wanted it to be. Maybe both of the parties were trying to invest in what they WANTED out of the friendship, when in actuality that was never a part of it in the first place. Sometimes it is this evaluation process that allows one (or both) parties to pick up on this sort of situation.
Still other times the evaluation can allow a party (or both) to realize the importance of what they have going on with the friendship. The blessing they have that they might have taken for granted for some time prior to evaluating the friendship.
Many, many years ago (like back when I was in high school…HA!) I told a best friend of mine that when I thought about it, it was my closest and best friends that I had the hardest time pinpointing what it was about our friendship that I loved so much. Many of my acquaintances and simple friends I could typically note what drew me to their friendship, but with my closest and best or real friends it was not always as easy. Today I still often find this to be the case.
So there I was. I was sitting among a time of evaluation—a time to reflect. Reflection on myself, my friend, as well as our friendship together. It was during this time that so many things became so clear to me. Things that reminded me that I was evaluating a friendship, but not just any friendship—a real friendship.
Let me add some stanzas to the original email forward, based on what I learned during this time…
When a simple friend tells you they disagreed with how you behaved you will apologize.
When a real friend tells you they disagreed with how you behaved you will apologize and think twice before doing that same thing again.
A simple friend will get to handling a situation surrounding a friendship when it is convenient.
A real friend will get to handling a situation surrounding a friendship when it happens.
A simple friend will be invested in figuring a situation out.
A real friend will be invested in working a situation out.
After having had a fight with a simple friend your body can usually disguise your mood.
After having had a fight with a real friend your body usually has no hope in disguising your mood.
When you are “not talking” with a simple friend, time passes day-by-day.
When you are “not talking” with a real friend, time passes minute-by-minute.
And the main difference I noticed through my situation…
It’s your mind that will remind you that you had a dispute with a simple friend.
But it’s your heart that will remind you that you had a dispute with a real friend.
I think what brought this whole real vs. simple friendships into perspective for me was seeing how one situation that posed friendship “fading” immediately caused friendship evaluation, while another situation that posed friendship “fading” has had friendship evaluation left lingering.
Friendship “fading” is never something I push for in a situation. It is one thing to evaluate and come to the conclusion (hopefully mutually) that a friendship is not going to work out, but it is a different thing to simply allow a friendship to “fade” due to a lack of investment.
Recently during a night of reconciling with a real friend of mine I shared with her the story of when I found myself trying to correspond with a friend who was allowing our friendship to “fade.” It was after I shared this story that my friend said, “that right there, kim, is why i never have to question why i'm friends with you...you never give up on a friend.”
I don’t know. We all invest ourselves at different levels in different areas of our life. For some of us, friendships are a high priority. For some of us school is a high priority. For some of us work is a high priority. For some of us sleep is a high priority. Whatever we view as a high priority we are willing to invest more of our self into.
If I am more invested in sleep than I am work, I will be the employee that often over-sleeps work. If I am more invested in work than I am in sleep I will be the employee that goes in early and works late nights.
That's just two examples, but this can be the case with any priority. Friendships vs. sleeping. School vs. Work. Friendships vs. Work. Still, there are other areas of interest that we prioritize that can be added in: significant others, food, hobbies, etc.
I think it goes without saying that there is quite a bit of truth to the idea that our lifestyle will reflect what we value in life.
So, in the end I realize that we will be able to distinguish one type of friendship from another. You’ll know the real from the simple. You’ll not only be able to see the investment differences between the two, but you’ll also be able to feel it…