How To Be A Real Friend
It happened about 18 months ago.
After a “vocally violent” shouting, I got off my best friend’s house, nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs.
What happened to be the closest person to me beside my family, at that time, came out of my life’s stage in a moment’s notice.
Paradoxically, I wasn’t shocked at all, even though I knew this scar would’ve lasted longer than usual.
So the first month after that altercation I didn’t feel much the consequences, at least not to the degree that I expected.
Life was pretty much the same.
I kept studying, working and training.
It was all good, at least for the most part.
After a couple of months, I started to feel as if something was missing.
Still not a big deal to me, but that small void was enough to make me more self-aware.
Part of the reason the pain was more bearable than usual is attributable to the lethal combination of introvertedness and personal pride, which can make you a stranger in front of people you’d never thought would’ve become strangers to you, and it can do that as fast as lightning.
I still wasn’t craving for any type of emotional connection at that time, nor did I want any of it. I wasn’t afraid of being alone. In all honesty, I’ve never been.
“And, after all, who cares about friends when all they do is hurting you?”
I mean, I enjoy taking lonely strolls and listening to nothing but deep and emotional music. It’s reinvigorating; plus, it was, back then, probably the only mental escape I had.
Time kept passing by.
I tried to look as stone-cold as I could on the outside. I stayed on my feet.
But on the inside, my resistance muscle was starting to falter.
My self-awareness began knocking on my brain’s door:
“There’s got to be more than this.
I have to talk to someone.
I need to share my feelings and thoughts on things. And I have basically no one to tell them to.”
It’s not that he was the only friend I had.
He was just the closest, the one I could’ve said my most confidential secrets to and be sure he’d never tell no one else.
Now he was gone.
And in a confusing moment like the one I was going through, my gut was desperately seeking an emotional crutch to hold on to.
Circumstances took place.
My friend’s aunt, a beautiful woman who happened to live just a couple of blocks behind my house, suddenly had a cerebral hemorrage, and died a few days later.
Dismayed, the first thing I thought about was going to my friend’s house and offer my condolences. Which is exactly what I did.
I wanted to both show respect to his family and let him know that I was the bigger man. For me, it was an opportunity to demostrate that, at the end of the day, I still have principles that I live by, and that despite whatever happens, I can walk with my chin up.
I arrived to his house.
Rung the doorbell.
Waited for what I thought would’ve been a brief exchange of kind words.
His mother opened the door, and her eyes lit up. She couldn’t believe it was me. She rushed me into the house, where I immediately paid homage for what happened.
My friend was waiting in the kitchen.
We exchanged two or three stares.
“Let’s hurry up!” my crocodile brain whispered. I felt like I was in danger.
I offered my condolences to him as well, sharing my first five minutes contemplating what had just happened. I tried to comfort both of them as much as I could without, at the same time, trying to let them know I was still pissed off from the mishap of 18 months before.
Then something strange happened.
The temperature dropped.
His mother offered me some chocolate cookies. That was a sign.
In a short span of time, formal conversations and straight postures were replaced by ordinary chit-chat and less deliberate stances.
The three of us gathered around the table and started talking about everything I could’ve ever imagined.
They treated me like I’d never left.
It was just like another afternoon, like those I remembered from 18 months before.
Words, words, too many words followed by laugther and more words.
We talked about the same things we used to talk, confronted each other on pretty much the same topics, and ended the afternoon with the promise of another day like this.
For me, it was awesome.
And from there, we were (closer) friends once again.
It is often said that real friends are those whom you don’t see for long stretches of time, yet still maintain an extremely tight bond with.
If I didn’t believe this statement up to recently, now I do.
Months of avoidance can’t delete moments of true friendship.
I’m of the opinion that friends, in the vast majority of cases, have the duty to make you grow. They must keep you accountable and make sure you do the same with them. There’s just too many benefits in having those types of relationships, that an article wouldn’t suffice for listing them all.
However, they’re not the only legit company you should be surrounded by.
I think, at times, you just need friends. I mean, real friends.
Those that are impossible to find in large quantity.
Those that, as crazy as they might be, never let you down or forget about you.
Those that are okay if you decide to part ways for some time.
Those that wait for you to make your own experiments before deciding which way to take in life.
Sometimes you don’t even look to their resume and critical thinking skills. Sometimes you look for genuine company.
You look for someone who will be there for you when adversity strikes.
My friend is not the smartest guy you’ll know.
Probably not the funniest (although he might be in the top spots there).
And definitely not the most goal-oriented.
I already know he’s not going to be professionally “successful”, at least not based on what society deems as successful.
All in all, he’s not a personal development geek like I am.
We’re probably the opposite under most features.
But I think he’s special nonetheless.
I think he has something more that keeps me coming back even though he’s way below my standards for friendships.
I’m pretty sure we never considered ourselves enemies, even after the altercation. We just took the time we needed to figure things out on our own.
We both knew it was just a transition period.
And when the right opportunity came around, we found ourselves again. Because that’s what happens when you find a real friend.
Real friends are not those who provocatively tell you “You’ve changed”, as if the old you was a better version.
They are ready and excited to see how much you did, and how that change can positively influence them.
At the same time, real friends are not necessarily those you share life lessons and deep thoughts with under the moonlight. At least not very often.
They’re just content to see you and laugh with you, no matter the topic (there’s always something to laugh about).
I hope you are blessed as I am.
I’ve changed many friends groups, came across all kinds of boys and girls, and basically I’ve never had the same friends for more than six months straight. Along the way, I’ve learned to be more selective with whom I hang around, and, as rude as it might sound, most people failed the test.
However, I’ve had the opportunity to come across one person that stuck with me through my whole growth as a human being.
He was there when I was a mindless pre-teen, all the way through the rational and composed man I’ve become. And that’s enough.
“You don’t need a certain number of friends. You just need a number of friends you can be certain of.”
It might be one, three or twenty-seven. If it’s the latter, good for you.
But I’m of the opinion that four quarters are better than one hundred pennies.
Therefore, real friendship is not about quantity, conveniency, or length.
“It’s about who walked into your life, said ‘I’m here for you’ and proved it.”
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