It’s nigh impossible to go through life without falling out with friends, or family members. Unless you’re one of those ‘lucky’ people wearing an aura of respectability and dare I say ‘self-righteousness?’ You never ‘fall’ out with anyone, or if you do you’ll never admit it. But perhaps I’m being over-sensitive and you are genuine. I’ll name you the ‘ingénue’ in life’s game of monopoly.
A counsellor once asked me why a particular friendship was so important to me as it was clearly making me unhappy. Every time I met this friend I came away filling inadequate and inferior. It made me think about the people in my life and how much I allowed them to step over the boundaries. By not calmly stating that they had hurt or offended me, I was effectively giving them the power to do so.
We encourage our children to make friends and may have to guide them through the schoolyard game of bullying. ‘You’re not my friend. You can’t play with us.’ The mild version of what seems like innocence at play, but words that cut deeply leaving one feeling isolated and hurt. The words in the schoolyard become more sophisticated, and clever as we travel the road into adulthood.
‘You’re different from your sister. You look just like Aunty Calista’ (who happens to be lacking in any form of beauty and grace). Now I’m being judgemental about poor Aunty Calista, who in reality had a heart of gold. Then there’s that sinking feeling when you excitedly tell a friend about your new coat, or new hobby, or the holiday you’ve booked, and your words are met with silence, not even a nod or a smile. You falter. You stop. You shut up.
Do they think I’m boasting? But seriously I’m not. I’m just excited and passionate about my life right now. I wanted to share. The reality is very few people are interested in your life and your achievements unless you’re attending one of those workshops or seminars on positivity. What are the rules? How do you negotiate the path of life? What do you teach your children?
GIVE YOUR CHILD the gifts of
Love and Compassion,
Tolerance and Kindness.
Raise your child with
A Strong Heart
A Strong Spirit
A Strong Mind.
Teach your child how to reach out to others,
And equally how to reach inwards,
Strengthening the soul,
And gaining Knowledge and Inspiration.
Teach your child how to love,
Give your child Love.
The rules aren’t always clearly defined, but to make life as easy as possible for yourself be strong and decisive. Respect the people in your life. Everyone has ‘off days’ for whatever reason: illness, personal worries, or rough roads they’re trying to negotiate. Always remember that actions speak louder than words, and ensure they are kind actions. Don’t use that throw away remark – ‘We must meet for coffee,’ which appears to have become the new form of saying goodbye. Do it! Arrange a date.
I learned a painful lesson some years ago. Blithely saying to a friend – ‘We must meet for coffee,’ I let weeks pass without arranging it. She died unexpectedly and suddenly. I vowed never to say those words again unless I truly meant them and actually arranged a date.
My attempts at arranging ‘coffee dates’ isn’t always successful and I admit that years (yes years) passed trying to meet up (unsuccessfully) with a long-term friend. I wrote to her asking if I had somehow offended her. No response. Ironically, I just have to endure the faux-hugs and air-kisses, the ‘lovely to see you’ greeting when we occasionally bump into each other.
There is still a small core of hurt inside me as over 25 years of friendship has been cast aside. I questioned myself, my motives, but never hers. My circumstances in life had changed drastically and I wondered if that had any bearing on our friendship. Fair weather friend or enemy? I will never know.
It’s wonderful to have friends when going through tough patches in life. To have someone you can chat to inconsequentially helps to get you away from your personal issues and trauma. A lovely distraction that lifts your spirits. I am happy to say that I do have some incredibly special and unique friends in my life, and that I grieved the loss of one is more a sign of my insecurity than anything else. Life is like being thrown into a hug vat of liquorice all sorts and told to eat your way out.
I wanted to buy you a special gift to say,
Thank you for being my friend,
For being there with me
During those dark moments,
For holding my hand,
When I needed consoling,
For your open-ness of spirit and
Sharing of heart,
For allowing me to be myself and
Never judging me,
For your love and laughter and loyalty.
I wanted to buy you a special gift to say – Thank You,
But no gift was precious enough,
Could express the joy I have had
From our friendship,
So instead I give these simple words,
From my heart with love,
Thank You My Friend.
QUOTE FROM: FRIENDS AND ENEMIES – By Dorothy Rowe
RICHARD AND DOROTHY ROWE AT HER BOOK LAUNCH OF FRIENDS & ENEMIES LONDON 2000
Dorothy was a world-renowned psychologist and writer who died in March 2019, sadly missed by so many people. Richard first met her at the Refugee Council in London where she was doing voluntary work, and they remained in touch. We met her for coffee before we left the UK and that’s one ‘coffee-date’ I remember and treasure.
Author of sixteen books and countless articles, she was a lady with profound wisdom and the amazing ability to communicate it with simplicity and a smile. Friends and Enemies is one of my favourite books. Reading it brought me on a delightful and inspiring journey. It was also an educational experience which shone a light not only on my life, but on the people around me. To quote the lovely Dorothy:
“Sometimes friends become enemies because the groups to which individuals belong demand that it be so. Sometimes individuals themselves decide to change from friend to enemy. Sometimes it is hard to know who is your friend and who is your enemy. Mark Twain once observed that ‘It takes your enemy and your friend, working together, to hurt you to the heart: the one to slander you and the other to get the news to you.’”
On a lighter note I would like to share a conversation between my 7-year-old grand-daughter and her 4-year-old brother who will be joining her at school soon. She was telling him all about it, giving him the general lowdown. With great excitement he said to her: ‘Does this mean you’ll be my friend?’ Her response was: ‘No, I’m still your enemy.’ The joys of parenthood and sibling revelry. These two children do have a wonderful sense of humour.
To quote Dorothy again: “Siblings no matter how well they get on together, are different people. They see things differently. This comes out all too clearly when they compare their memories of the past.”
Thus, this is also true of friends. Our life story is different. Our experiences are different and at times our paths diverge. What once brought us together, may no longer be valid. Therefore, do not grieve when a friendship ends. Perceive it as a natural progression in life’s plan. Remember the joy it brought you and treasure the memories.
Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow.
Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead.
Just walk beside me and be my friend.
– Albert Camus
Thank You for being my friend theme song click on video below
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