“If you have two friends in your lifetime, you’re lucky. If you have one good friend, you’re more than lucky.” S.E. Hinton
Over our lifetime, we have the opportunities to meet countless people and hopefully be lucky enough to make some good friends along the way. The Merriam Dictionary describes a friend as “one attached to another by affection or esteem; a favored companion.” Of course, there are numerous degrees of friends, everything from acquaintances to deep, bonding lifelong friends. We have them in schools, workplaces, neighborhoods, churches, and so on.
Hopefully, we can get along with most of the people who are in our lives whether they are friends, co-workers, and/or even family. Some relationships can be a real adventure in that there can be conflict or even outright hostility for whatever reasons. These can be great lessons in learning how to deal with difficult people. Some of these difficult relationships will work themselves out to where we can eventually get along, and if we’re really lucky, we may end up being the best of friends. With some others, no matter how hard we try to get along or how nice we are to them, we realize that there will never be any kind of relationship; therefore, we just have to bless them and let them go.
There are many reasons why we may not be able to get along with someone no matter how hard we try. It could be a personality conflict, they may have issues in their personal lives, they may not agree with your beliefs, lifestyle, religion, etc., and therefore, don’t want to associate with you, or it could be any number of things.
There are some who are happy being miserable or they’re constantly surrounded by chaos and they may not know how to be friends. I once knew someone who was consistently surrounded by chaos, and I asked my inner spirit why. She replied, “Because that’s all she knows.” Sometimes that chaos can become our identity. Thich Naht Hanh said, “When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help.”
There’s not much we can do when people are determined not to be our friends no matter what the environment. What I try to do is to see them embraced with love and light, to have more compassion and understanding for what they may be going through, and then I release and let them go.
Then there are the rare friends who will make you laugh a little louder, your smile a little brighter, and your life a little better. They lift you up, encourage you, support you, lend you their shoulders, and they’re always there to love you unconditionally no matter what. These are the friendships we should concentrate on building. These are the friendships that can last a life time.
“A friend loves at all times.” Proverbs 17:17
Published in the Cookeville Herald Citizen newspaper May 5, 2017.