There are a kazillion poems, articles, and greeting card phrases ( and soppy country western songs) describing "What Is A Friend" ... many of them are so sugary or syrupy they nearly make you gag.
Many of you reading this might have met thousands of people over the course of your lifetime. Some became friends. Most didn't. Most of us have never encountered any 'real' enemies whose purpose it was to harm us physically or emotionally, but 'psychically' is another matter. If you want to hear the rather dubious phrase "He had many, many friends and no enemies' -- just attend a funeral. Its usually after people are dead that many feel obligated to say a bunch of stuff you couldn't have paid them to say when the person was still alive. Nice things to say and bunches of flowers are always offered at funerals. A person who was never given a single flower in his or her lifetime finds his coffin deluged in huge flower arrangements. Then again, never have so many men (outside of a good drag show) worn so much make up. It's all so goofy.. and let's not forget the "She (or he) is just away" phrases on sympathy cards that endlessly talk about sunrises and sunsets in ways that one would nerver normally talk. OK, OK...so some 'tributes' are OK....blah, blah, blah... We do love our dramas though, don't we. It's easy to 'feel' who a genuine friend is when there has been a death in your midst.
Friends come and go...but very, very, very few are 'life long friends' who have managed to put up with us (or we with them) ... But if and when this DOES happen and we manage to endure each other through the ages, it is usually because these people really DO know us and we really DO know what they are all about -- and we have managed to tolerate each other through the years. NO ONE however, can say that we know each other 'completely, 100%' ...nope. Some may come close...but most of the time its romantic, wishful thinking. Hallmark cards again.
The words "a good friend" will never be accurately described by some flowery, sentimental words in a song or on a card. It just doesn't get the job done right. There is one quote by Jan Reinhardt, however, that I think does a most wonderful job of describing what a true friend is:
"Don't walk ahead of me. I may not want to follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not want to lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend." To me, that is much more powerful and speaks to the heart in a genuine, believable way.
Here are my tongue-in-cheek definitions of friends, enemies, and vampires.
A FRIEND: ... is someone who, for the most part, enjoys your company, is willing to allow you your own opinions and ideas, and to whom neither one of you feel obligated to. You feel comfortable around this person but you don't 'owe them' anything and they don't owe you' anything which includes undying faithful loyalty. If you 'need or crave' that, get a dog. The most important quality, ...to me... of a friendship is that of mutual respect. There should be no need for competition, or any need to impress one another. What we must remember, however, is to allow and accept each other's differences and uniqueness. Sometimes, the person who IS a good friend, might need to walk away if our own demeanor sends out bad vibes. They are not under obligation to 'save us'...and sometimes a temporary or even a permanent disappearing might be in order. Lecturing others is most often NOT in order. A good friend points out your strengths and is encouraging, but is not a co-dependant who overly sympathizes with your weaknesses.
AN ENEMY: An enemy is a hypocrite...mainly. You are an accessory and not a real person to them. Their intent is not so much to hurt or harm you in actuality as it is not caring if they do or not. They don't really 'talk' to you...they utter proper phrases, be they clever, hurtful, or meant to sound impressive. Basically, they don't give a shit if you are dead or alive but will most likely 'send flowers' and say words to impress upon others their deep graciousness and sensitivity. They are NOT there for you --nor will they encourage you...Although perhaps -- to the extent others may hear them utter profound words of wisdom for which they themselves, of course, receive compliments and admiration. They are full of phoney baloney. And most of us know that part of the cow THAT baloney comes from.
A VAMPIRE: A vampire is totally ego-centric and a born user. Some of them are aware of what they are doing ... others are as dense as sour milk.... but they most definately are not 'good for you.' They will suck you dry of all your energy because it is how their egos survive. The extroverted type may appear sweet, witty, clever, oh-so-funny, laughing, complimentary, and make offers they never intend to keep but make them look good. The introverted vampire whimpers and acts helpless. Their roles beg for attention; they need constant reassurance, always display a need to be saved, and will often tell you how wonderful you are....one minute...then turn around and stab you in the back the next minute, but with cleverness and slyness....They may also be given to 'stabbing remarks' then say: "I really shouldn't say that, should I...I'm just so bad..."--This is common,however, to BOTH types of vampires. Vampires come in two types: the helpless and needy, who play the sympathy card....or....the ones that are loud, flashy, 3 ring circus performers demanding your constant attention because they think they are just so f'-ing wonderful! --but they need your constant agreement. After being with these people (in either catagory) for any length of time, your energy level is that of the Energizer Bunny with completely defunct, drained, dead batteries....
I thought a picture of a cactus flower was appropriate because I think it expresses so well what friendship can be about. Beautiful--but handle with care. We cannot afford to live our lives dependant upon friends or ANYONE... That is _not_ meant to be a statement steeped in sadness, despondency, or glumness...but that of self-realization that the one and only friend you have that you need to honor, appreciate, and truly take care of ...is the one you see in the mirror. Once you feel good about the friendship with yourself, you will develope the inner sense skills appreciate good friends, avoid enemies, and recognize vampires.
And...as the good ol' Golden Rule teaches: ideally we will learn that we ourselves need to treat others...the way we would like to be treated. With respect. And -- we are learning that some 'friends' just gotta be dropped like hot potatoes.... Bless them on their way...and get on to devoting your life to what we inwardly KNOW makes us Feel Good and is Good For Us.
Life is but a dream...so lets row our boats gently down the stream....
Merrily, merrily, merrily.... :) Namaste'.