True Friendship – A Lost Art

Posted: August 18, 2008 by April Watkins in Relationships
Tags: , , , ,

This article will not focus on politics, government, the legal system or any other governmental entity. Instead, I feel the need to share my thoughts and feelings in hopes that you, my readers, might be a source of comfort for someone you love.

Recently, I lost a friend. In the succeeding days, I reached out to several other friends to find a shoulder, some empathy or just a simple hug. Instead, all of my other friends were busy – busy with their job, an important deadline, the kids, family obligations, etc. “You know how it is,” they said. “Crazy life, crazy schedule…Let’s get together for lunch in the next week or so, then we can catch up.” Not one of them stopped to really listen to my remorseful words, the tone of my voice, nor my tearful sniffles. It shook me to my core that no one was there for me. It didn’t seem fair. During all of their breakups, job losses, miscarriages, money problems, I was there. I listened, cried with them, loaned money, provided a temporary home, tried my best to help in any way to ease their pains.

This realization made me stop to consider how times have changed in our modern world. Have we become a society that is so self-centered, so single focused on our own needs that we simply have “phased out” real friendships? Real relationships with others who would stay up all night with you and let you cry in their lap until the hurt began to ease? Friends that hear how upset you are over the phone and immediate begin to clear their schedules or make other arrangements so that they might come to you in your time of need? Have friendships faded, only to be replaced by mere acquaintances? Has face-to-face communication given way to email, IM, texting? Maybe I’m old fashioned, maybe naïve, but I’ve really tried to be what I consider to be a true friend to those in my life.

In the generations following the baby boomers, it seems that our focus has been on the “self” rather than the “community.” As recent as the 1950s, it would have been expected to extend bereavement, solace or even send a simple handwritten note to a friend. In the succeeding generations, our culture seems to have lost its civility, its respect for others [as well as for self], and its expectation to strive for a respectable character that is responsible and caring. As they say down South, “You should act like your mama taught you.”

My hope is that we will all take a look at the friend that we are to others and evaluate whether or not we are up to “mama’s” or “grandmama’s” standards. It will “mean the world” to others, while teaching character by example to our younger generations, and that is…Why It Matters.

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