Friendship comes in all sorts of packaging. There’s the friend at work with whom you like to eat your lunch, but you don’t really know a whole lot about her extended family. There’s the friend you remember from your childhood, but you may not have had much contact with over the years. And the neighbors whose mail you retrieve when they are on vacation. All of these are considered friends, I suppose, but not truly “good” friends. Not that there is anything “bad” in those relationships, but a really GOOD friend takes things to a much higher level. Maintaining a good friendship is a lot of work, but it is so worth the effort. A good friend is one with whom you can share anything and be confident that, not only will she/he not judge you or abandon you, but that the content of your conversation will go no further than across your kitchen table between the two of you. A good friend is one who will be there when you most need a shoulder to lean on or a companion for that gallery opening on a rainy night. A good friend knows, too, that you can be counted on to come through when the need is there. It’s a mutual sharing of love and respect. That does not mean that you must agree on everything, but it does mean that you must respectfully allow for, and accept, your differences. There is also plenty of opportunity for laughter and always praise, never jealousy, over a good friend’s accomplishments.
If your friendships are draining the life out of you, it’s time to take a long, hard look at who is getting what from the relationship. If the balance is off, you might consider backing off, either temporarily to see if an adjustment can be made or permanently to “stop the bleeding.” It may sound trite, but life is indeed short and we all deserve more feel-good moments in our days. It’s something to think about, my friends.