I have many acquaintances, people that I consider friends of convenience. They are currently in my life solely because our situation and proximity has thrust us together on the bus; temporarily sharing circumstance and common interest. Much like my younger years when my associates were dictated more by random happenstance than deliberate choice. I inherited my early friends during my twenties by the luck of the draw and for better or worse they remained with me through most of my adult life until I could no longer tolerate how I behaved in their presence. It wasn’t so much their behaviors that I objected to but my own when I was in their company, not that there wasn’t enough blame to go around, in fact there was but it was my interactions that ultimately caused me to eliminate all of my friends from those hazy youthful days.
Friendship is like an open room in a busy transportation terminal, where people come and go, staying for brief periods of time depending on their own destinations. Some are traveling in the same direction, while others are not. Most are enjoyable to chat with until their conveyance is departing down a different track. Some I’m delighted to see depart others not so much; but that really doesn’t address my confusion about the current expectations of the commuters currently in my life.
I’ve been researching friendship because being a recluse puts me in a difficult place when people get too close and others remain too distant. Reading a myriad of articles and blog posts on this bewildering subject has provided some insight but I can’t claim to have received an epiphany or gained any great life changing revelation regarding human relations, it mystifies me still. The mysteries of human interactions are difficult for me to fully grasp and comprehend but I’m working on it. This article that I found is most helpful and I share it with you now, it is titled “The Fifteen things friends do differently”. Of the fifteen items on Mr. Chernoff’s list, these three I found to be particularly poignant.
“10. They believe in each other. – Simply believing in another person, and showing it in your words and deeds, can make a huge difference in their life. Studies of people who grew up in dysfunctional homes but who grew up to be happy and successful show that the one thing they had in common was someone who believed in them. Do this for those you care about. Support their dreams and passions and hobbies. Participate with them. Cheer for them. Be nothing but encouraging. Whether they actually accomplish these dreams or not, your belief is of infinite importance to them.”
“13. They listen, and they hear every word. – Giving a person a voice, and showing them that their words matter, will have a long-lasting impact on them. Less advice is often the best advice. People don’t need lots of advice, they need a listening ear and some positive reinforcement. What they want to know is often already somewhere inside of them. They just need time to think, be and breathe, and continue to explore the undirected journeys that will eventually help them find their direction.”
“15. They stick around. – The sad truth is that there are some people who will only be there for you as long as you have something they need. When you no longer serve a purpose to them, they will leave. The good news is, if you tough it out, you’ll eventually weed these people out of your life and be left with some great people you can count on. We rarely lose friends and lovers, we just gradually figure out who our real ones are.”