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Friendships and How They Influence Our Lives

Updated on December 1, 2011
Enjoying a new friendship.
Enjoying a new friendship. | Source

Friendships, Past, Present, and Future

We learn from a young age what a friend is, or do we? Do we ever really understand friendship? Is it something that we create in our minds? Is there such a thing as a true friend? I hear some people say, ...he is a good friend, or she is a good friend, but would they be friends if they weren't good?

I first started to learn about friends when I was a very young boy about 4 years old. I remember my sisters and brothers and some neighborhood playmates playing and I wasn't included. One of the kids said to me that they were not my friend so I could not play. I remember crying and feeling very sad because I didn't know what I did wrong or what was wrong with me that I wasn't included, and I wasn't that kids' friend. I didn't understand what a friend was but I knew that if you were not a friend, you can't play along.

As I sat in our living room I thought it was the end of the world because I didn't know how to become a friend and I was imagining never being able to play along and being all alone. It was right at that time when I heard my dad say to me, "come here, I want to tell you a secret". I wasn't aware that he heard the conversation and knew what was going on. Wanting to comfort me and give me hope that what I was going through would not last forever he told me that he will be my friend and we can play. At the time it was not the same thing but at least I had a friend. When my dad started playing with me, I noticed that the other kids wanted to play along. My dad told them that he is playing with his friend. They wanted to be his friend too so they could play and he let them. I didn't know if my dad just dropped me as a friend or if he was friends with all of the kids at that point. I was confused but I did learn one lesson from that experience. I learned that sometimes people will do anything to be your friend when it suits them. Today I don't believe for one minute that my dad dropped me as a friend or that the other kids were not my friends. The fact is, they were also learning what a friend was. They didn't hate me but at the time, they just didn't want me to play with them.

As we go through life, we meet many people most will never be a friend. Most will just be a casual acquaintance at best. That isn't a bad thing but it is just different than being a friend. From my experience I learned that people will come into your life for a reason and then as quickly as they came into your life, you will lose them one day, for many reasons. You might lose someone in your circle of acquaintances, or friends, and even enemies due to one of you moving away to another town, state, or country, People will disappear from your life because they found a new circle of friends, or another reason is due to death. If the person was close to you any of those reasons can hurt, and break your heart. Some people that enter our lives eventually leave and we hardly notice that they are gone so why do some make a big impact on our lives and others barely touched our lives? I believe everyone that comes into your life is there for you to learn something from them to help us on our path through life. That does raise the question about who learned the lesson, you or the other person? Did that person enter into your life to teach you something, or to learn from you, or was it both? We need to be more attentive to other people to learn that answer.

Take for example you meet someone today and you hit it off with that person right away. You have many things in common, you are around the same age, and to keep this simple, you are the same sex. You become best buddies, or best girlfriends. You know each other for several years, you do everything together, you know everything about each other, then one day your best friend moves away to another state, and finds a new best friend. You slowly lose contact until you never hear from the person again. Why would that happen if you were best friends? Sometimes we never will know that answer but sometimes the answer might be very clear if we truly knew the person like we thought we did. It might be that before meeting you, your new friend was somewhat shy or scared to explore life. You might have inspired that person by building his or her confidence level. By doing everything together, you could have made your friend more comfortable about going out in public, or talking to people. Eventually your friend was confident enough to want to explore life further, to see what was going on in another area of the world etc.. It was because of you inspiring that person that made him or her grow enough to move on. That may or may not be the reason, but if we pay attention and see how our friends grow in their life and we notice the changes, we can see the impact that we had on their life. They also have an influence on your life.

Now why is it that we don't have that bond with everyone that we meet? Who knows, but how do you know that you don't have an influence on every life that you encounter? Just by reading this hub, I am influencing you in some way. It might be a positive influence where you are going to walk away thinking about this for hours, days, or weeks to come and you are going to start watching people closer to see what influence you have on them, or you might walk away with a negative influence from reading this. You might think that I am some screwball that doesn't know crap and that would still be an influence on you. I am sure I will have both of them influences depending on who reads this. Why will some people walk away with a positive influence while others might have a negative influence? That depends on what your experiences in life are up to this point. You might have had very good experiences and many good friends and maybe haven't experienced losing many close friends so when you read this you might think that I am crazy or don't have a clue because we don't have the same experiences. On the other hand you might be someone that has lost many people and you experienced that pain of losing someone very close to you. If that were the case, this hub might peak your interest much more because you wonder why you don't have many friends, and when you do, they go away, It doesn't make either reader a bad person or better than other readers, it just shows how different people will influence your life.

This is why we have different levels of friendship. Some people we consider acquaintances, some are friends, some are good friends, and some are best friends. It all depends on how they relate to our own experiences in life. You tend to attract people that are similar to you, but you also seek out people that are different even if on a subconscious level. We need to have people that are not exactly like us so we can learn from them. We might meet up with someone that we consider to be a friend but later they break our heart. Like it or not, that person had an influence on your life. You might not know what the influence was until later in life, but once you learned the lesson that you were seeking to learn, the relationship with that person in your life comes to an end, one way or another. It might be through betrayal instead of losing the person to a move or to death. Once your heart heals, think about how that person changed you. Maybe that person taught you how to be more careful. You might take to many chances by trusting people that are not very good people. By betraying you and breaking your heart will make you more aware.

I'm not saying that just because someone breaks your heart that they were in your life to teach you not to be trusting. My point is, be more in tune to the people that you meet so you can learn from them and you can see how you influenced them. We call people friends but what is a friend? Most people would think that a friend is someone that they can have fun with, trust, spend their time with, and love. Why then do we call people on Facebook or other social networks friends? Most of the people that we call friends on the social networks are people that we will never meet, spend time with to go out on the town or to visit at their home. We only talk to them through things that we post on line, or through chat, or email. We never really know who is on the other end of our messages. Do we need to? Is being a friend someone that just touches you emotionally? That person on the other end might be a male or a female no matter what the photo shows, you really can't be sure, but you trust that person and you talk and have fun with that person, then one day they are gone. They influenced you, but how? What did you learn from them, or what kind of influence did you have on them? So what is a friend? After reading this, do you have a different thought of what a friend is? Do you think you will pay closer attention to the people that you meet to see what effect you have on each others lives?

My thoughts about what a friend is has changed over the years. I met many people that I will always consider friends but they are gone now. Some I lost contact with after changing schools, jobs, moving to another town, but some of the hardest were those that I lost through misunderstandings, and death. No matter how long we have someone in our lives that we consider a friend, when they are gone it is a loss and it leaves a hole in the heart. I learned not to dwell on the loss as much as thinking about the influences that we had on each other. Many years ago my dad told me he will be my friend and he has always been my friend even after his death. The loss of someone close hurts bad but everyone, if just meeting you for a moment, or being with you for a lifetime leaves a footprint on your life in someway or another, good or bad, but it is there for you to learn and grow from. Cherish everyone you meet as being a friend of the present for tomorrow they might be a friend of the past.

Below is a poem that I wrote about friendship. I had people tell me that after reading this, they thought of kids playing on the playground and one being left out. I had other people tell me that they pictured grownups in their little clicks at work and not including someone. It doesn't matter because everyone will get their own meaning out of it. That is the fun of how I influenced people with just a poem. I hope you enjoy it. The influence that you will have on me is your feedback.

Dare Not To Know Me

Dare not to know me, the friend that I can be,

The fun we’ll have, you’ll never know if you don’t want to see.

You think that you’re above me by the way you raise your head,

With your nose held high pointed to the sky, you think that I am dead.

You strut with pride, you brag a lot of things that you can do,

While never giving me the chance to play along with you.

You think because I’m quiet I must be shy or dumb,

You never once acknowledged me for things that I have done.

I know you think I must be dull, and not have friends to share,

Since you never saw me party with my friends that really care.

I doubt you’ll ever get the chance to know just who I am,

Or what I have accomplished or what I know I can.

Dare not to know me, and a friendship you’ll never see,

With this person you dare not to know, the friend that I can be.

By: Allen Williams


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