… from my perspective…
I saw the below comment today… and after all the self-reflection I’ve done over the past several years… for some reason, this grated me. It was a Facebook status…. and at my age, I go back to a few thoughts with this…
1) I don’t know what this person is walking through, but I know that being taken advantage of stinks…
2) Did this person try to talk to whomever it was about how they were feeling, and try to work it out?
3) If you are kind to your friends, do you keep score? Is that what this is? hmmm…
More thoughts after the pic…
Last year we sent our son to college. I won’t go into detail on my blog, but we were accused of not being appreciative of the family hosting our son in Texas… He lived at the dorms but they stepped in for holidays and breaks, and made sure all was well. When I read some things that were said… I was so hurt by it, I couldn’t speak to the folks because I was just stunned. My point – I think some people need all the accolades and attention, and for everyone to do everything their way…. And if they don’t get it – they feel taken advantage of. And that’s NOT ok.
When I am accused of something, I assess and reassess. For sure, I help strangers, and I know I would do more for folks I love… And I have to say – in no way were these folks taken advantage of. Someone just didn’t get their way in a matter, and it didn’t go the way they wanted it… and now, friendships are lost.
Everyone walks through life thinking that others appreciate their actions or advice. We all want to believe that people mean what they say. No one expects a friend to offer kindness, and then tell you what you owe them or act like you are not thankful enough. That’s NOT kind. Period.
But – the good news is… and Dear Readers, there is always good news… It really made me reflect on friendship… and what it means to be a good friend. And why some friends come then go… why some are lifelong friends. And it occurred to me, that not everyone knows how to make friends… But I feel like I can help.
In order to make good friends, you have to be a good friend. At my age (seriously said it), you can tell who is worthy of your friendship. There is a difference between being friendly/kind and being FRIENDS. Moving from Texas to Italy, trying to navigate the MIL Spouse life after Marque had been retired nearly 19 years has been interesting.
In order to be a good friend – you must do the below and MORE:
- For me: I prefer Catholic (Christian)/Conservative friends.
- But believe me when I tell you I have friends from every walk of life. It’s challenging and teaches respect to befriend folks who believe differently.
- Be there/show up and listen more than you talk.
- Be kind (and yes, honest advise is kind).
- Be ready to work.
- As you are getting to know someone be patient and understanding.
- Be honest and loyal.
- This is not hard. The best kinds of people are honest and loyal.
- Do for others what you want done for you.
- Do they teach the Golden Rule anymore? You do know it’s NOT all about you, right?
- Pray for those who hurt you.
- This is so important. My mother was a violent alcoholic. The things she did and said… unspeakable. But I forgave and prayed for her. I still do. People I poured my heart into that later rejected me… I pray for them when I think of them. And I really purpose to remember the good.
- Take responsibility for your thoughts and actions.
- When the day is chaotic, sometimes you don’t mean to say or so the wrong thing, but you do. People who know and love you will accept a heartfelt apology… ok – maybe a glass of wine/coffee/spritz… whatever.
- Don’t judge others unfairly.
- Did you know that some people are perpetually late, have a messy house, yell at their children, and make all kinds of mistakes? And these people – are still great friends.
- Be Kind Anyway.
- Love your enemies.
- Hard to do. But – through Prayer and Forgiveness – yes, even if you don’t continue your friendship, you still love them. Hurt feelings and severed relationships can also be repaired – IF you behave the right way (see below).
- Lead with Love. Jesus taught us to lead with love. And y’all, He didn’t say Love only those you want to… be kind to only those you want to… He lead by an example we are expected to follow as Christians. We are to Love our Neighbors As Ourselves… really – more than ourselves.
- Did I mention – BE KIND!
I have NOT always made the best choices in my life with friends and many other things, if I am being honest… And I have learned so much about myself over the years… One thing I know for sure is that the friends who encourage you in virtue and who you have faith in common with are the best friends ever. I have friends who aren’t Christians, and there are some things we can’t discuss. I cherish them, but it can be hard from time to time.
Friends do what they say they will do. They are reliable and they pick up the phone/pick up a child/send money/food, etc. when they can. And they expect NOTHING in return. Honest ~ Faith-filled ~ Loyal ~ Kind ~ Those people are YOUR people. Stick with them. But turn your back on no one… because others need to see your example.
Years ago in a Bible study, the leader was telling us to make sure our home isn’t spotless when folks come over for a casual Bible Study or cup of coffee – especially if they have small children. My OCD mind was racing y’all. I instantly judged this person… but then I listened to what she said. There are people who are in the thick of raising littles and their house won’t be spotless for decades… (you know what I mean)… I never realized that my idiotic perfection with that kind of thing made others uncomfortable. People just need other good people in their lives, they don’t need for your home to be a museum-quality clean.
True friends accept us for WHO we are and all of our flaws. Trust me. I’d have no friends if they didn’t. I’m blessed to have friends I’ve known 57 years or more… our parents and grandparents were friends, and besties I’ve known since HighSchool/College… you know? These people are treasures… and I know if there was a crisis, they would absolutely step up – because THAT IS WHAT WE DO!
People have said to me for years, “Why do you do volunteer?” or “Why do you help others that don’t seem to care for you?” But y’all, it’s not about me. It’s me, trying to do God’s work – as an imperfect human. I don’t pretend to do it all correctly.
To the person who wrote the statement at the top of this post, I say this… whether someone is taking advantage of you or not – you should always do the right thing. It’s none of my business what someone does with my advice, help or anything else. If I am doing the right thing… If I follow what God puts on my heart, I don’t have to get bogged down in other people’s issues… It then goes back to “Pray for them! Love them Anyway!”
Please know that everyone who comes into your life leaves an impression or teaches a lesson. Don’t be sad or beat yourself up. Learn and move on. God has bigger things for you – I promise you that.
And can I tell you one last thing – our youngest has always been a helper. Helped a lady change her tires the other day; paid for a man’s small purchase of water and coffee because the man’s card didn’t work…. and I was so proud. Proud of him. Proud of our example as parents… giving myself a good old pat on the back. But then, God said to me “he’s 19 and he is NOT of this world. He’s MY son.”
I deserved that reality… I can not take the credit y’all. It’s all God! And with that – I hope you learned a little today. I’d love to hear about what you think makes a good friend. Please leave a comment… and remember ~
Imperfect… but so kind. Talk soon.
Love, Hugs & Blessings,