Lesson 49: The art of friendship

Today I am contemplating the many things that are very wrong with this world. Watching the headlines every day is enough to turn you grey overnight. The world we live in is becoming a more and more sinister planet and good people are becoming increasingly hard to find.

Portrait of business colleagues holding each other and laughing

Are relationships and friendships of such little value that we can change them and discard them as easily as we do with a barely worn out pair of socks. Why are so many casual, fair weather ‘’friends’’ in this world? There when it suits them and AWOL when you need them most.

Is it people raise their children to befriend or is this something the greater majority hope their children will just learn casually at school? I can tell you one thing most people seem to have the 101 on this subject – “How to selfishly love yourself and give only to others if it means a return on your investment”.

I know for one I value friendships – I value my time and have always aimed to teach my children to value the time others give them – to teach them that friendship, the true kind, is a slow paced journey – of learning to navigate your way into a strong reliable and cherished friendship. What breaks my heart is how quickly friendships turn out to be people that are fairly casual about them and are quick to jump ship when a more interesting friend comes their way.

I see countless beautiful young people left isolated by others wondering “what now”, and “here we go again”. It is a dangerous place to be as they quickly become fairly jaded on the art and beauty of making true lasting friendships.

So what is a true friend?

How can we become true friends?

What should we be teaching our children and doing ourselves?

How do we decide on who fits the bill of this seemingly rare gift?

True friendship…

  • Is Unselfish – it’s not about what you get out of the friendship but about what you put in. Imagine if both friends put the same energy and passion into a relationship, instead of just waiting to see what they could receive, how beautiful would that picture look?


  • Is Respectful – respectful of the person’s space, opinions (even if they are different from your own), approach to life and who they are. Respect is a beautiful thing when given before it is earned and I know many believe it is the other way around – but respect is a precursor for our next point of friendship.


  • Is trustworthy – which relationship do you know that works well without this core ingredient? Friends need to be able to confide in each other and know what they have said remains there in the preciousness of that space; they need to be safe in knowing that their friendship will not be given up at the turn of a new trend or the introduction of a new person, which leads me to the next point.


  • Values others – when we place value on people we treat them with care and we honour them as people. Value encompasses all of the above then, because as we value those around us we care more about their needs than our own, we respect them as fellow human beings and by being trustworthy of them we place value and priority over them as people. What more could we give as friends than value – this in a world where relationship seem to have become a disposable commodity. When people feel they have value they walk differently, they live differently and they love differently. It is all part of an intricate cycle of design.

So how do we become these people?

It’s simple – you choose it.

If you are not by nature this kind of person it will take sacrifice – of yourself. Just consider a world where everyone was more concerned about the person next to them than themselves…it certainly would look a whole lot better than the pciture I am currently looking at.

And yes, let’s not be entirely over romantic about this – there are many times when you have to do things for yourself and walk away from over demanding people – but that’s a whole new conversation about narcissists and so forth – here we are just talking about everyday – reasonably – normal people.

How do people fit the bill? When do we decide they can step into our sacred space?

This is the most challenging part.

Relationships of any sort are a risk.

We never know how it will turn out – for me I have had some doozies – there is no easy way to assess a person. You have to go in and take the chance – be willing to take a bruising along the way, no one is perfect after all, and give them the chance to be that friend.

This is often why we are so let down – because I would say 8 out of 10 of these people are going to let you down badly. 6 out of 10 may let you down somewhat or they could turn out to be great casual, socially fun friends but don’t expect depth and support from them. It seems to be a matter of statistics here. The sad but blatant truth of it.

And after all is said and done and if, just if you happen to be in the right place at the right time, with the right outlook on life, in just the right moment, you may find one or possibly two of those rare human beings who will be the ones you can lean on when life requires it, share coffee, laughter and life in between.

Good friendships are the rarest treasure of all – when you find them value them deeply, guard them fiercely and treasure them dearly.

I am deeply blessed to count a very, very few in my life but I know they will be there for the rest of it.


au revoir mon ami




  1. When you listed the qualities of friendship Mich, the first thing that popped into my head was that was the same list one used to love God. Faith, Mich, faith. That we are not the ultimate, that we are but a small tiny piece of God’s creation. Faith that we are all a part of a whole and as such are a part of each other. Faith that we are all loved by God regardless of who we are – unconditionally. As that Faith in God wanes, so goes friendship and relationships and good.

  2. MIch in French…. gorgeous.
    Tonight I had a run in with a let down. I am no great friend I think – I get some of it wrong you know of course. SOmetimes I disrespect unintentionally because I do not realise what I am doing seems disrespectful to someone. SOmetimes I do the space encroaching thing – you know – when I do not read the signs very well that the person needs me to step back.
    It is so hard to get right isn’t it?
    ANd so easy for misunderstandings. I SO know where you are coming from with this though in general terms of selfishness in the ‘USING’ of people for our own gains or needs..and it is frustrating and visible in the wordl we live in.

    However – within the realm of forming friendships and never quite knwoing the other person perspective and learning about each other and the lines etc…

    Just tonight at work, someone whom I was on fairly amicable ground with responded to my actions and words – which were no different to how they usually are with them – with great animosity and accusations of over-familiarity. Yup – I am TOO friendly. I get that. I tried not to take it personally. But how do you now? Especially initially.

    In my defense – did not become defensive..merely accepted their bollocking and pondered for a fair while WHAT I had done. Turns out, after chatting to FRIENDS – I did nothing to invoke their rage. But I did learn something… be careful. But – as I have always known and slowly am trying to reject…. put yourself out there and you WILL get hurt. I want to believe people are inherently nice. I think they are, but have so many issues to deal with. This person had done something that they FELT was underhanded(toward me behind my back) that really did not bother me and was NOT actually a terrible thing..in fact from my perspective they were within their rights to do what they did… their solution? Make me the bad person to appease their dilemma. Their guilt made them nasty. The silly thing is… I tried to show them that they had no reason to feel as they did about the situation… but their defenses were up to push me away to protect themselves. Sucks really… but hey ho… another lesson learned: Expect the unexpected from people and don’t take it personally. 🙂 Oh and – your write here?

    Well… I WAS feeling a bit bruised. But I AM a big girl now and KINDA used to it and it often makes me smile too when I see the underlying causes of peoples responses and even my own..that can be so far off the mark! AND a bit as though what I cherish ABOUT people was a figment of my imagination. But again… I have it reaffirmed… we are all broken –
    I was trying to decide which way to play it..be a bit distant (as I was told in no uncertain terms to not be so familiar. Interpret – friendly and caring.) Or to continue being friendly…as is what I do cos ..well cos. Not 100% sure to be fair. But I am leaning toward – don’t allow their mistake to destroy a pleasant acquaintance, cos I obviously somehow made one too..even if it was just not recognizing their need for me to step away… but take heed of their inclinations and triggers..and =- respect where they are at with that. 🙂
    Thanks for the word. ❤

    1. You know – you are the kind of friend that cares! If I can read anything out of this it is that! And that is what makes you a great friend to have.
      It’s the people who don’t care and have no worry in the world when they offend or misunderstand or react unreasonably that cause the pain. We all are going to get it wrong at some point or another – but if we are willing to admit it as I see you were – and then work towards ironing the issue out with each other… then that is how great friendships are built and grown.
      Its a clear matter of choice and attitude. You have always been dear to me – yes – we had our moments but if I recall we worked them out and over 20 years later we are still in touch…it says so much about the heart hey.

      Keep being you my friend – the world needs more like you! ❤

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