I have been thinking about relationships lately and how they work. We all need them. Friendships build us up, sharpen who we are and bring great joy to us. Living in isolation only allows us to go unchecked in our flawed behaviors.
Unfortunately, our society has become increasingly isolated in many ways. While our activity has increased, it has only contributed to distraction rather than focus. It’s a very hard battle. We are pulled by our demands for attention. Yet, the very thing that matters in life is often neglected – people.
Without people, we are not going to get very far in life. I have realized in my own life and business how important friends are. I do not use the term lightly, however. In actuality, we all have only a very few true friends. Here are what friends do:
- Want To Know You: There are such wonderful and inexplicable depths to all of us. We are complex, irrational and fascinating creatures bumping around on this stage called life. Who are the people who want to know your depths and continue celebrating who you are? We all have imperfections, annoyances, and faults. Who wants to know you anyways? This is a person who is your friend. “A friend is one who knows us, but loves us anyway.” – Jerome Cummings
- Tell You the Truth: I often wonder at the lack of candor in people. I can recall a few people in my life that shot straight with me out of a care for me. They helped me grow as a person and cared enough to help me get better. There is a difference between unwelcome criticism and caring friendship. We all can feel that difference. While we all have itchy ears for compliments, the people who tell us the truth risk something others don’t. That is why they are your friend. “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” – Proverbs
- Face Adversity With You: Friendship can not be measured in the good times. It is easy to be around people when there is no hardship, conflict or strife. When adversity comes into our life, which it will, it is a great opportunity. We get to find out very quickly who is truly with us to travel the journey. Most people will not be with us. It is a reflection of their character. A true friend values you above the circumstances. If you can’t picture someone going through rough times with you, try and step back and reevaluate how you see that person. They may not be a true friend. “In prosperity it is very easy to find a friend, but in adversity it is the most difficult of all things.” – Epictetus
Ultimately, it takes courage, candor and character to be a friend. The fact that we all have only a few friends by definition indicates the rarity and extreme value of true friends. Now, if times are going good for you, or you have not yet experienced hardship in your life, it will be hard to understand the reality of this message. You are not as discriminate about friendship. It doesn’t count yet.
Take an inventory of your friends and invest heavily into those people. They are much more valuable than cash or luxuries. I run across a lot of people who go through hard times. Life is one giant dogfight. Everyone has problems. The people who have true friends are the lucky ones. It’s easier for them to fight and press forward. They also learn what it means to be a friend. As one person stated,
“To have a good friend is one of the highest delights in life; to be a good friend is one of the noblest and most difficult undertakings.”
Be a friend. It is a great metric of your value to others in this world. Your ability to discern and invest in true friendships is a key part of success.
I have had the privilege of having some few true friends in my life. They are the ones that are worth investing an inequitable amount of energy and care into. They have helped me to grow, persevere and win at life. My hope is that you will the same joy in your own life as you constantly move past your comfort to your passion.