I have always valued the friends in my life. As a kid, there was nothing more exciting than getting to goof off with my friends on the playground. As I got older, my friends were the ones who have been there for me through good and bad times. In fact, the older I get, the more I cherish the friendships I have. I know that if someone has stuck with me for this long, then there’s a good reason the universe brought them into my life. And while there have been many moments in my life where I find out who my true friends are, I believe each and every one of these experiences has been valuable and necessary for my personal growth.
You may remember my recent Drive-By Coaching video about repairing cherished relationships. I talk about reconnecting with my best friend since 9th grade, Terrence (T-bone), and how important this moment was in the evolution of our friendship. Yes, the dynamic of a friendship often changes over time, but as long as both parties realize this, the friendship can continue to flourish.
So, Let’s Mind The Gap! Having a Friend vs Being a Friend.? It’s easy to assume that just because you have friends also means you are being a friend and vice versa. This however, isn’t always true!
When you say you “have” friends, your mindset is about possession…which means it’s about scarcity or, further at the core, a fear of NOT having any friends. I’ve been there…so afraid of “losing my friends” that my behaviors only ensured I would! There is no love required to have friends…
…being a friend, however and in my opinion, DOES require love…the willingness to be vulnerable so that you or your friend/beloved may grow! The friends we “have” are the ones we like to pass the time and/or do fun things with…but when we are BEING friends, we listen…we give…we support…we confront…we assist…we cheer…we commiserate…we inspire…we say thank you…we say I’m sorry…we say I forgive you…we say I love you!
When we focus on BEING a friend, we ask questions like, “what would a really good friend DO right now?’ and because you’re looking within to see what you can offer to the friendship. That is being the type of person that others WANT to be friends with (notice I didn’t say, “to have as a friend”).
Forgiveness is usually something “a friend would do” and,?I believe forgiveness is a success principal mental health. But just because you forgive, doesn’t mean you are required to forget. It’s important to be mindful of what you’re forgiving someone for so you don’t put yourself in the same situation again. Perhaps you’ve heard me say “I will always love you more than I will ever miss you,” because sometimes we need to create more space/breathing room in friendships…we need to actually MISS our relationships in order to best LOVE them. There’s a saying that if you are not LEADING your peer group or being LEAD BY your peer group, then you need to LEAVE your peer group!
So, MIND THE GAP when it comes to the difference between “having a friend” and “being a friend” and focus on being the best friend you can be. Be someone that you yourself would want to be friends with. If you focus on your own actions as a friend and what you can control, you will attract higher quality friendships in your life. If you focus on just counting all the friends you have, then you will lose sight of what it really takes to create and maintain long term friendships.
Friendships (have and will) ?come and go…but knowing how and a willingness to BE a friend is lasting.
During my visit to London for the 2012 Summer Games I got inspired for a blog series. In the London Underground, “Mind the Gap” is the constant warning to see and beware of the space between the platform and the train door literally a matter of life and death! Boarding my blog, however, is a 2-minute focus on the valuable difference between words or concepts that, without much thought, are used interchangeably.