“What about your friends
Will they stand their ground
Will they let you down again
What about your friends are they gonna be low down
Will they ever be around or will they turn their backs on you.”
~ TLC, “What About Your Friends, from the album Ohhhh On the TLC Tip!
Now I have to admit, the fact that this song came out in 1992 makes me feel some kinda way… I mean there are kids running around who have never heard this song!
But anyway, thats not the point of today’s post. Let’s talk about friends.
There are alot of songs that talk about no-good friends: “Friends” by Whodini is the first one that comes to mind… fair-weather friends, friends who steal your man, etc etc. But we’re not gonna talk about them either today.
Are you paying attention?
We’ve all been there: we have a friend who we love to death, but sometimes his/her comments make us wonder what they think or feel about us. You know when you talk to your girlfriend about your recent dates, and she never seems to like any guy that you like…. or doesn’t take your weight-loss efforts seriously… or has little snide comments about the way you dress or your hair-dos. What gives? I wouldn’t go so far as to call this type of person a frenemy, but its apparent that their own feelings about what you’re doing are interfering with their support for you.
Sometimes it doesn’t have anything to do with you. And we’ve all been on the other side of that too. Like the times when you’re single and your BFF is falling for a new guy. You’re supportive and you’re genuinely happy for her, but deep down inside you have the *tiniest* pinch of pain because you are not happy in the same way. The difference between you and the friend who is not happy for you is that you’re able to swallow your own feelings and be happy for someone else’s happiness.
When we have friends who don’t reciprocate our support, its very painful. In some instances, more painful than when our mothers don’t understand what we’re going through. Because this is our sister in arms, she feels our pain and has experienced the same ups and downs that we have. But lets face it — as much as we love ourselves, everyone doesn’t love us with that same unconditional love.
If you’re striving to improve your life, to reach higher planes and to achieve greater successes, make sure you’re surrounded by positive, supportive friends. I’m not saying dump your nonsupportive friends (well actually that would be best…) but you might have to start filtering information the way you’d filter for your mom. Initially though, pay attention to the patterns established in your friendship and really listen to what your friend says when you have triumphs or setbacks. Your friend’s attitude toward your goals will be apparent in how they respond.
Your friends’ intentions don’t matter
Let’s say you just had a conversation with your friend and you were complaining about the pain of conditioning your muscles when you work out. If your friend was unsupportive and negative about your gym routine and your weight loss progress, that doesn’t matter. Your friend may truly love you the way you are and think you’re fine as-is. Or, she may honestly think she looks better than you and subconsciously (or, unfortunately, consciously) discourage the competition. Whatever the intent behind your friend’s attitude, I’m telling you that it doesn’t matter.
What matters is that you recognize who is unequivocally in your corner. You may have less friends standing with you when the smoke clears… and you may not have any. You should be your own best friend anyway, so you know you can always count on yourself. Sometimes, though, you just need to feel that someone else sympathizes with your struggle and is looking out for you. Sometimes you just need an encouraging word and a hug from someone who cares. You need to establish who that person is, and if you don’t have someone who won’t knock the hustle then you need to be that person for yourself. Make sure you have inspirational reading materials, audio books, DVDs to give you that extra boost when you can’t count on your friends.
Another aspect of this friendship reciprocity issue is, make sure you’re not the hidden hater among your friends. Make sure that you’re loving, supportive and sympathetic to your friends’ efforts to better themselves. Because it could be that your friends are just giving in kind to what they’re receiving from you. Really listen to what you’re telling your friends when they share their struggles with you. And if all else fails, ask them if you’re supportive of them.
When its all said and done, life is long and we can’t trudge this long road alone. Friendships add a priceless value to our lives and our friends can be an invaluable means of support while we’re reaching our goals. Look at all the positive songs about friendship that attest to the value of a good friend.