Find a Friend - Keep A Friend - Love a Friend
Recent events not necessarily involving me personally, have encouraged me to revisit the gift that is friendship and the role that good friends play in our lives, especially when our friends help mold us into the people we are today. What makes a friend a best friend? How long can friendships last? What happens when we can do nothing to save our friendship? How can a new friendship evolve into a long-lasting friendship? Which admirable personality traits mean the most to me? Can I spot the makings of a good friendship from a distance? Is it worth the risk of pain to look for lasting friendships?
Circumstances I will detail in a moment, have lead me to ask myself many questions besides those listed above. I'm happy to say my analysis has lead to many positive conclusions about the role friendships play in my life and the life of many around me. I have also concluded that the biggest risk in friendship is not rejection but loss. The following two examples will help you understand why I have reached that conclusion.
My recent reflections can be attributed to two unrelated events and to two totally different people. Since reflection is good for the soul I owe them both a debt of gratitude for the renewed awareness and appreciation they have given me about the true meaning of developing and maintaining friendships for as long as humanely possible.
The Friend I Almost Lost
Many of you know Connie Smith, a fellow hubber. Although she has only been here 4 months give or take, she has made a lasting impression on many of us already. We look forward to reading more of her writings in the future and we probably have different reasons that we've chosen to become a fan of her writing style. Personally speaking, it is no secret that her humor is what attracted my attention to her hubs and made me an instant fan. For others though, I'm sure her writings on various themes and subjects is what drew you in. Regardless of the reason, we all have one thing in common, we like Connie and care about her.
I was shocked, to learn that she had been hospitalized with an almost deadly asthma attack. While I noticed she was missing, I attributed it to her possibly not feeling well, or even perhaps that she had taken a trip and just forgot to tell me. Instead, she was in the Intensive Care Unit fighting for her life, literally.
How does it feel to have nearly lost a friend you've only known "on-line"? It feels awful!
Had it not been for another friend of Connie's who is also here on hubpages who has shown the understanding that only long-time friends can show, I would never have known Connie was even in danger of losing her life. Connie's old friend, a keenly perceptive individual, understood our new friendship was solid enough that I would want to know where Connie was and what happened to her. She has proven she is a friend borne for when there is distress, because she made the right call at the right time with Connie's interest in mind. She took it upon herself to take care of this and notify her friend's new friend, of Connie's medical emergency. I still can't thank her enough!
However, it naturally got me to thinking about on-line friendships, especially newly formed friendships, still in the molding phase. What's the most dreaded thing that can happen in this instance? Is it finding out you are not as compatible as you hoped you would be? That used to be my top concern. Waiting and watching for personality traits that surface after the "honey-moon" period passes to see if the relationship will have what it takes to last. Now however, I think the bigger tragedy is the loss of the potential friend. This experience with Connie has been a painful reminder that everything you thought was secure can change in a split second. One day you could have talked to your "friend" on line and the next second you could be receiving an e-mail telling you that same person is in the ICU and was almost ripped away from you.
I find myself wondering just how quickly on-line relationships should progress. I think I will more quickly determine whether to forge a closer bond based on asking myself this one simple question: "How would I feel if I found out she was sick or hurt?" If I can say I would be upset and would want to talk to her, then it means it is time to get more information of a personal nature. Contact information for just in case. I also decided some type of deadline is in order. A decision of just how long I go without hearing from a person before I get concerned, 2 days, 3 days? Haven't decided on the exact number, but am close to a plan in that regard.
My biggest lesson learned is that on-line relationships can be solitary in nature. I must make sure others connected to me know to contact certain people if anything happened to me. I now know how torturous it would have been to have been in the dark all this time wondering where Connie was and why she hadn't written. I would hate for someone who is an on-line friend of mine to suffer in the same way if something unexpected were to happen to me.
Do you have on-line friendships? Would you want to know if something happened? You might also want to give serious thought to the personal contact info you receive and when it is attained.
I'll be glad when Connie is back home and truly on the mend. I am relieved she is better and I can't imagine finding out I lost her before we got to establish a pattern of friendship that could stand up to the test of time.
Get better soon Connie!
The Stony Limits Do Not Hold Love Out
- MS~LOL: Multiple Sclerosis a Life Of Learning
Amy is another new friend it has been my pleasure to know. She has written the most loving tribute to her best friend that I have ever read. It has reaffirmed my belief in life-long friendships. I think you will agree it is tragically beautiful.
Outside Looking in on One of the Greatest Losses
Which brings me to my last eye-opening, jaw dropping event.
Watching two best friends grappling with a loss they cannot control or prevent. How do you let go of a best friend with dignity, strength and love? I don't think you do let go, I think you fight tooth and nail to hold on to every second that you can remain in your space together forever linked and bonded in a special way and in a place where no one else can reach, and no disease can touch.
I've learned, the short time I have observed this tug of war in action, that what defines life-long friendships are the memories and intimacies that make a relationship special, unique and totally fulfilling for both sides. I have seen first hand how a selfless, ambitious free relationship can easily exist even with two very capable and accomplished individuals. That no matter what type of sickness or disease has the final say, it can be conquered with the type of love that bears up under all hardships and strives to move forward even when evidence of forward movement cannot be detected by the outside observer.
Have you ever had that type of friendship? Have you ever had the privilege of observing the rhythm of a friendship that will never die? Have you ever wondered if that type of relationship can even exist today? If you can answer yes to even one of these questions, then I implore you to allow your heartstrings to be played and tugged by reading of a miraculous friendship of two incredible people I have only recently had the pleasure of meeting. You will quickly understand why they coupled with Connie Smith have inspired this writing and why I have decided to analyze and appreciate the entire blessing that true friendships can bring.
Friendship - the Gift
Pondering the very idea of a friend can take you in many directions, I know it took me quite a few places I didn't expect to go. But in the end, I think it brought me back to the core of the matter, which for me is
- We were all created with a need and desire to be loved and appreciated.
- If we find a friend that fills our needs, do what we can to keep that friend.
- Rejection doesn't hurt nearly as much as the loss of a person you regard as a friend.
I hope we can all be more successful in finding true friends and keeping them once they are discovered.
To my friends featured in this hub, thank you for the timely reminders your experiences have provided. I promise you, the lessons are deeply ingrained in my mind and in my heart and will not be forgotten.