Do You Have Real Friends?
There are friends and then there are real friends.
Depending on the situation, it’s often challenging to know the difference.
As an example, when faced with a stressful situation, it’s nice to know your friends will dish you out a good dose of empathy, sympathy and a listening ear.
That’s your garden variety friend.
They are surface dwelling friends.
They lack depth, substance and, more importantly, value.
Empathy Only Goes So Far
You can insert your own definition of empathy here but essentially, it’s a reassurance mechanism.
It’s not a solution and it certainly isn’t a problem solving technique.
When you seek out empathy, it’s to make you feel good as opposed to moving forward, with understanding.
Empathy is a nice place to start so you can regain some lost emotional stability.
You also need to recognise whether you ultimately want the FIX to your woes.
Sit quietly for a few minutes alone, close your eyes and think long and hard as to whether you really are an empathy seeker or a forward thinker who is willing to take the hard lumps in being wrong (on some things).
That’s right, do you have the guts (within) to admit you’ve stuffed up, have some problems with your behaviour and want to ‘right the inner wrongs’ and get your shit together?
Empty Empathy Friends
Your real friends understand you’ll take their honest advice and their honest solutions too.
These people are rare.
You might not even have any, if your perception of reality revolves around being an empathy seeker.
I Took the Friend Test Myself
In the past, I’ve always tried to be a positive person who helps others.
When my marriage to Pam broke down and failed, I admit I was a little lost as I realised I had eroded my past true friendships as I gave priority to wanting to fix my marriage.
That meant, friends needed to come second, to my wife and marriage.
In hindsight, I felt like a Chump.
Until I reached out and called my old mate, Bill.
Jeez, I’ve got a tear in my eye as I write this.
Despite all the crap I dumped on Bill in the past few years, he unreservedly and immediately told me I had a place to stay and call home, if I needed it.
He drove for many miles, packed up what I was taking with me into his car and took me away. I can't begin to express the gratitude I have for him in my life and his strength of character.
He is a one of a kind human being.
I Got Out, Got Empathy and Got Honesty
Within a week, I left Pam – there was nothing left between us.
I also knew I had a saviour to escape the facade of the marriage I had found myself in. This wasn't just lip-service but action.
When the chips seem to be against you, you’ll instantly see the people that are there to support you, no matter what.
I spoke honestly to Bill about why I ‘wronged' him, what my past priorities were (to cause the wrongs) and as accurate a record of the past 3 years of so-called marriage as I could give.
Bill was empathic, he listened and has listened for the past few weeks as he saw the on-off pain I’ve been feeling.
You don’t get friends like this all that often.
I am deeply humbled by his caring and friendship.
Caring in that he was more than OK to give his honest opinions about my actions, Pam’s actions and what he thought I needed to do as I move out of the last 3 years of relationship bullshit that I tried to mend, in futility.
Hindsight Is a Wonderful Thang
- Don’t bother thinking you can open up to your partner’s relatives or friends n thinking they want to help you both – loyalties and beliefs will never be yours
- Do you already have unresolved ‘Writing on the Wall’?
- If you’re still trying to resolve it, the writing is still there, isn’t it?
- I should have sought the right counsel from the friends I knew would be unbiased and honest, with me.
Now You Give Your Opinion
- What are your friends giving you – just what you want to hear?
- Which of your friends would stand by your side, in real truth and honesty?
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