I’d like you to think about who you consider a friend and why. For each quote, consider whose name you’d use to fill in the blank:
- Aristotle said that a friend is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.
- Who do you consider that close, that intimate, of a friend?
- Walter Winchell said a real friend is someone who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.
- In your life, when you’ve been rejected by just about everyone else, who stood by your side? Who would stand up for you today?
- Oscar Wilde said a true friend stabs you in the front.
- Who is it that will confront you, even hurt you, to your face?
- Marlene Dietrich said it’s the friend that you can call on at 4:00 a.m. that matters.
- Who are your 4:00 a.m. friends?
- Arnold Glasow said a true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.
- Think back over your life. Which friends warned you against harmful actions or tried to stand in your path when you were headed the wrong way?
- Robert Brault said he valued the friend who found time on his calendar for him, but he cherished the friend who did no even consult his calendar.
- Who are your valued friends (those who will find time for you), and who are your cherished friends (those who don’t think about the time when it comes to you)? Both are needed and necessary.
- Oprah Winfrey reminded us that lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.
- When’s the last time your “limo” broke down? Who took the bus with you?
- King Solomon, in Proverbs, said wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.
- We all know those people who will lie to our face because they don’t genuinely care about us. Who are the people in your life who can be trusted to tell you even what you don’t want to hear?
There are layers to friendship, just like family. My immediate family is my wife and sons. After that are my parents, my sister and brother, and their families. After that are cousins and aunts and uncles, the extended crowd you generally see only at weddings, funerals, and family reunions. For myself, I have a handful of truly close friends whom I keep in contact with regularly. After that are those I enjoy being with but don’t see as often. Beyond that is a larger group of people whom I consider friends, but who are more than mere acquaintances but less than intimates. There’s an inner circle, a middle-circle, and an outer circle. Based on how you’ve just answered the questions above, whom would you place in each ring?
Now, think about the people you’ve placed in these circles; where do you think they would place you? Do you have reciprocity, or are some of your friendships one-sided? As you think of yourself as a friend, go back to the attributes listed in this chapter: trust, honesty, understanding, acceptance, mutual benefit, sacrifice, and affection. How are you doing in each of those categories? Is there one that tends to lag behind the others in how you express friendship? Ralph Waldo Emerson said that the only way to have a friend is to be one. The depth of your character is best gauged by the depth of your friendships.
Authored by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and author of 36 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety and others.