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Is Friendship a Lost Art?

Updated on October 31, 2011

 I'm either helplessly old-fashioned or living in another world, but I have noticed that friendship, as I always knew it, seem be a lost art these days. It seems that no matter who I talk to, they, too, have stories of disappointment in how their friends treat them. When did the rules of friendship change?

To me, being a friend (and I mean close friends, not casual acquaintances) means having that persons back. You are loyal to them, there for them when times are rough, give them a shoulder to cry on, stand by them...sometimes even when they might be wrong. You defend them when others put them down. You are involved in each other's lives and truly care about their triumphs and troubles. And they are there for you too. There's no games, lying, or trickery involved. You are friends, period.

From all the people I've talked to about this, I am not alone in having been crushed to realize that who I thought was my best friend, wasn't. And age has nothing to do with this. Whether you are five, thirty, or eighty, it happens and it hurts. I do a couple of answer sites, where people write in their questions or problems and you answer them if you have something to offer. I am always amazed and saddened at how many of these have to do with friendships. People writing in that they can't believe what their best friend just did to them! When, and why, did we forget the rules of friendship?

It's always said that when tragedy happens to you, you find out who your true friends are. You might expect to lose a couple here and there, but what I'm seeing these days is people ending up empty handed. There seems to be a general attitude of selfishness that people don't want to be bothered with your unhappiness. They don't want you raining on their parade, so they high tail it out of your life. When did we become such a self-absorbed society? Is technology to blame? There is so much texting, emailing, facebooking, etc. going on that we seem to have lost face to face communication. It's easier to be insincere when you're not looking someone in the eye.

I think back to my parents talking about times during the depression. People had to count on and help each other. Friendships ran deep and true. I was hoping that the one silver lining of our current economic problems would be that people would revert back to this. They would realize what having true friends really meant and how precious they are in your life. Seems it's gone the other way. "Look out for number one and the heck with everyone else" attitude.

But my main question is...why did this happen? Why did people decide to become so insensitive? There are some lucky ones who have at least one good, true friend and I am always inspired to hear this. Maybe, a little at a time, true friendship will come back into style. I'm still a true friend, but sometimes I feel like I'm being foolish. Am I just setting myself up for a fall? But I remind myself that I couldn't sleep at night if I wasn't. That I believe you do something the right way, or not at all. That if you claim to be someones friend, then be their friend a hundred percent.

If you have one true good friend, consider yourself blessed. If you're one of those "fair weather friends", start thinking about what kind of person you are. Maybe you need to change your ways because someday you will need a true friend too. I hope we all become more loving and sensitive and make (but more importantly keep) at least one good friend. And if you have one, give them a big hug. Let's not let being a good friend become lost forever.


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