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