You Have Many Acquaintances but Few Friends. Know the Difference!

Good morning folks.  I decided to take a minute to talk about true friendship.  I know most of us think we learned what a real friend is when we were kids.  However, in a day and age of social media, and so many claiming to be hurt by friends on a routine basis, I think it’s worth making the distinction again.

Back in high school, my dad taught me a very important lesson.  He told me, “in life you will only have a hand full of friends, but many associates.” Also, he stressed the importance of me not confusing the two.  Honestly, that was the best advice he’s ever given me.  Listening to those words of wisdom has prevented me from trusting too many people and repeatedly getting hurt by people I call friends.

For clarity sakes, I would define a friend as a person that you trust with your tears, brings about some cheers, and alleviates your fears.   It’s a person that is equally invested in supporting and loving you, as you are them.  An associate as my dad puts it, or better yet an acquaintance, is someone you never go deep with, nor is there a mutual expectation or desire to do so.  You two only share surface information about what another, and keep it light and fun.  (You sharing all your business, and a person telling you relatively nothing about his life, is not mutual.) A quote puts the difference between friends and acquaintances this way:

“An acquaintance merely enjoys your company, a true friend has your best interests at heart and the pluck to tell you what you need to hear.”

I almost hate that Facebook calls everybody that you add or adds you a “friend.” I mean that simply is not true.  A person just doesn’t have over 2,000 friends.  He or she doesn’t confide and trust in that many people.  Nor do that many people confide and trust in him.  Heck if I’m to be completely honest, I have some people on Facebook right now that I don’t even really know.  Most Facebook “friends” are NOT your friends people!  That goes for followers on Twitter, Instagram, and the Snap.

And just like romantic relationships, friendships need to be nurtured.  I’m not saying friends need to necessarily see each other all the time, and be on the phone every day. Heck my own friends can attest to the fact that I’m not the person to necessarily talk to you Monday through Sunday.  However, in nurturing a friendship, it’s important for people to set aside time in their busy schedule to at least send a message every now and then to check in on a compadre.  To make sure a person is doing alright.  Regardless of whether or not friends talk daily, real friends both have a sense that if either needed the other, he’d be there.

Friendships also may have to be reevaluated from time to time.  Two people that consider themselves to be friends should be in a equally beneficial arrangement.  That means one person shouldn’t always be draining the other of time, resources, and energy.  Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, wants a friend that always complains, does nothing but take, and exudes nothing but negative energy.

Look, I have days where I’m not going to be sunshine and rainbows (no pun intended). And during those times, I may need a friend to pray for me, send positive vibes, and lift me up a bit.  I can’t turn to a constant Debbie Downer for that support.  He can’t possibly give it to me.  That one-side relationship would drive me crazy.  I refuse to always be there for someone else, and he never be there for me.

To be honest, friendship is like a bank account you share with another person.  If you are the only one depositing money and the other person is always withdrawing, you’d be pissed.  Trust and believe, your positive energy, time, and support is much like currency.  So get pissed and reevaluate your friendship if you’re the only one lending the supportive listening ear, words of wisdom, or time.

Oh and if your friend can’t ever support you striving for better, that isn’t a friend worth having either.  I understand change is not the easiest for some people to digest; but, if you are trying to elevate your career or overall life, and a person can’t support you in your efforts to do that, hit the “reevaluate button.”  If you can’t go to the club and bar as much because you have to study, and a person doesn’t understand that, hit the button.  If a person tells you your dreams are impossible to reach, hit the button.  (Now if your dream is to win The Voice, and you can’t, don’t hit the button.  Listen to the friend. LOL!)  Just use discernment.  And if you don’t have good discernment, ask God for some.

In short, I just want people to save themselves some heartache by simply watching who they consider a friend.  Associate or acquaintance is not a bad word, and you can call people that.  They shouldn’t be offended, and you shouldn’t be afraid to say it.  Once you make the distinction between the people around you, you may get out of the habit of telling all your business to the wrong people.  Or expecting so much from folks that you mistakenly classified as friends.

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