You and your friends are like magnets, for a variety of reasons you are attracted to each other. We all need friends. They are important to our wellbeing. Sports, religion, hobbies, careers pull people together until they like to hang out. Friends are fun most of the time and open us up to new ideas, personalities and experiences to add the much-needed variety in our lives. Friends are also temporary. You and your best friends from school probably drifted apart after graduation. A change in jobs or location will often dissolve a once cherished friendship over time. Sometimes a good friendship will become so routine that it becomes boring until we lose interest in that person. And we certainly can’t forget conflicts which arise that can blow a friendship apart.
The easiest friends to make and maintain are the ones who are most like ourselves. Everyone is unique but for the most part we like people who have a similar life style, political, religious, and cultural views. We find that marrieds hang out with marrieds, singles with singles, sexual preference, race, age, gender, careers show us to be pretty much herd and flock people. We are drawn to people who live inside the same fences we do.
Those of us who are more adventurous will seek out and establish friendships with those outside our comfort zone, someone from a different tribe, a Capulet befriending a Montague. It is a challenge and takes a lot more work and patience, but the payoff can be enormous. That friendship can also be dangerous. Healthy friendships should help us grow as a person. They will expand our cultural, creative and intellectual boundaries giving us greater understanding and tolerance for the world around us. A friendship that brings uncomfortable demands and temptations could put your well-being at risk. If friends are magnets, make sure they pull you in the right direction.
Some sad people are held together through sex, drugs, or alcohol. These relationships are like bringing home a Cobra for a house pet. What may look like friendship is actually mutual addiction to self-destructive, self-indulgent habits. The only bond between them is the desperate need for the next hook up, high or bottle. These connections put them on a lonely road into darkness.
Another caution, money between friends can break a friendship. It is better to help a friend find the resources to address their financial need than to give/lend them money. Or, they might need help with better money management. A good friend will help a friend learn how to be self-sufficient rather than feeding their dependency on others to meet their needs. Dependency can be a destructive spiral for anyone.
Find and build friendships that will make you a better person as you make them better. To find those good friends you must be a good friend, willing to spend the time to explore and discover the world through someone else’s eyes. Your compassionate friendship could actually save someone else’s life.
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