Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go and allow people to hurl themselves into their own destiny. And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it’s all over.
Octavia E. Butler
Sometimes being a great friend means biting your own tongue.
It can happen for hundreds of reasons, depending upon circumstances between you, your friend, and whatever they are going through and whatever you are going through.
We do our very best to be a true friend by showing up at the times when our friends are at their darkest hours, as that is when they need us most. Usually, this is one of the true barometers of genuine friendship.
General Ulysses S. Grant said it best:
The friend in my adversity I shall always cherish most. I can better trust those who helped to relieve the gloom of my dark hours than those who are so ready to enjoy with me the sunshine of my prosperity.
Our ability to be a good friend is highly determinative of the caliber of friendships that we are most likely to attract and build over the course of our lives. Being a good friend takes all sorts of different skills, energy, psychological prognosis, tact, diplomacy, tenderness, compassion, resourcefulness and an overall determination that the extension of ourselves on behalf of another party is really a gift that we are giving ourselves, even if it appears the opposite. Finding great joy in your friends’ successes and being the ultimate support in their sorrows, defines us.
Being a good friend teaches us how to grow, when to bite our tongue, when to offer to be of service, and when to be the greatest cheerleader of all time. The joy of learning how to become a good friend is very important in our development because it shifts all of the focus off of ourselves and places it on another in whom we are desirous of bestowing these energies.
The aphorism: it is better to give than to receive, could not be more appropriate in the context of how our friends and we engage. Sometimes we are needy and we wish our friends would make the extra effort on our behalf, and other times, we are digging into our reserve internal battery in order to find the energy to stand by their side.
Life offers us many chapters, some are far more luminous than others. I think the best that we can do is to pick our friends wisely so that each chapter going forward becomes further enriched by whatever we find so valuable in those friends and enables us to treasure what we are capable of reaping from each of those friendships over the course of time. As well as the personal growth that each friendship affords us in our path to becoming whom we truly are.
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