“a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.”
“the emotions or conduct of friends; the state of being friends. A relationship between friends.”
Friends are an important part of our lives. They help us shape who we are. They allow us to debate and learn from each other. We support each other in hard times, and good times. We argue and may at times lose contact for periods, but we remain friends nevertheless.
You make friends at school, work, sports, celebrations, through other friends, etc.
Sometimes these groups overlap, and you grow your social circles. It’s wonderful to have friends and it helps maintain a certain level of sanity. Your life is much more fun and there’s always something to do.
The challenge with friends is that some are closer than others, and finding out who your really close friends are, depends on the circumstances you are in.
When my dad was sick some years ago, with prostate cancer, he told me something I had not expected, and something that I only recognized years later when I fell ill.
When you are sick or in dire needs, you quickly find out who your true friends are!
At the time, it sounded rather strange, especially as he had so many wonderful friends for decades, and he always made new friends. Seriously, he has friends from when he was in elementary school, and they are still his friends to this day. I’ve always envied my dad for his extremely big heart and his circle of friends.
I too have always been very sociable and extending my group of friends. Although I have many friends in different countries, I have always tried to stay in touch with them, despite which time zone I am in.
Unfortunately, friendships are a two-way thing. If you reach out and rarely hear anything back, then some friendships will fade away and perhaps turn into acquaintances instead. Nothing wrong with that – just not close friends.
It hurts when people you once had close friendships with, slowly fade away.
When my dad was sick, and when he walked the streets of our hometown, some people that he thought were friends either walked to the other side or did not say hi at all. When he needed help getting to/from treatments, some friends ignored his calls for help.
However, other friends didn’t wait for the call. They reached out themselves. They drove him to his appointments, the helped my mum and they worked around the house. They spent hours with him, talking to him and making sure he was cared for.
When I fell ill, only a few from my current and past friends reached out. It felt as if I was alone. Despite having many friends, I felt lost and forgotten.
Few phone calls, few messages on social networks, few visits and just as few emails.
Despite the loneliness and sadness I encountered, I also witnessed that new friends emerged. This provided me with renewed hope and encouragement that people were in my life that actually cared and reached out.
People I had recently met would show up to my house just to hang out. Talk about the weather, watch a movie, play with the kids and help my wife. Heck, we even had the awkward moments of silence too, but we didn’t care.
Healing and recovery are greatly improved when you have encouragement and support from people who care for you.
I’m not upset with friends who decided not to reach out. I fully understand that they have lives and families to look after and that I’m thousands of miles away, and they get distracted by their own daily routines.
I did not expect them to fly in from Denmark or Ireland, hang out for days or be a stalker friend. All I was hoping for was a note asking about my well being, and showing an interest in my life.
I’m thankful for all the support I did receive and blessed that I’ve made some new friends who showed up unexpectedly.
All it takes is just a phone call, an email or a simple card, just to share that you care and think about someone. I’m sure I’ve been an arse in the past and forgotten to reach out to friends.
My illness has been a life lesson, and I now know that a simple “how are you” does wonders. Reach out to people you know are in some distress, has been through some rough times or simply not feeling well.
Your efforts will not go unnoticed and you will feel rewarded.