- Gender and Relationships
Friendship: The new Rules of Engagement
How it used to be
Remember when you were a kid and you had that one special person you did everything with? You shared everything, spent every possible moment together and even lied for each other if necessary. That person was your friend-your best friend. A best friend is defined as the one friend who is closet to you. You were almost like twins; if one hurt the other one did too, you could finish each other's sentences and would know what the other was thinking with just a look. You didn't even have to speak to enjoy each other's company.
Even as the years passed and you went in different directions, the bond continued to grow and strengthen. You were like David and Jonathan, or Ruth and Naomi of the Bible. You truly understood John 15:13 "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends." That was how I grew up with my best friend.
We had some of the best times and had our fair share of getting into trouble because friends would never let friends do stupid things...alone. We'd laugh so much our sides would ache and we'd have to cross our legs to keep from peeing. We knew how to keep a secret and we never threw the other under the bus. We were loyal.
Today, friendship is totally different. The rules have changed.
How it has become
The word that I would use to describe friendships in the 21st century is "fickle". Today friendships seem to be based upon mutual benefit or need. They also can be very seasonal. How often are people told, when a friendship abruptly ends, that the friendship was for a season. Translation: You've served your purpose. I don't need you anymore. Goodbye.
I have had the experience, more than once, of thinking I had a really great friendship going only to have it end abruptly with no explanation. When I asked the other person what happened, they looked both surprised and annoyed and said that they thought I realized that we had "grown apart." How could I come to that conclusion when we were hanging out just a couple of nights ago?
Friends today don't share pain or bad times. We shut ourselves off. By the time we come out of our funk, we are looking for a new best friend. We also listen to gossip or rumors about our BFF (or bestie) and quickly dump them. And lets not discuss how quickly we will change friendships if someone comes along with more to offer. Translation: Someone with more money, better job, better car, big house and influence. We have no loyalty anymore.
Today we have such an "every man for himself" attitude. It isolates us and we no longer have that support of close relationships that help us "get through". Friendship are used as stepping stones to obtain our wants, desires and goals. And kept secrets are a thing of the past. As soon as you tell your BFF, they can't wait to log into Facebook and put ALL of your business on blast. Friendships have become disposable. It's a sad commentary on the direction our society is going. Yes, my friends, the rules have definitely changed.
Like everything else, the art of being a friend has changed. If you have a true friend, hold on to them for dear life.
Jam-packed with practical ways to improve your life by improving your circle. From dealing with friends-with-benefits to coworkers from the dark side, from feeling alone to being desperate to defriend a few dozen people, Andrea Bonior, Ph.D. helps you make the most of your friendships, whether they be old, new, online, or in person.
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