Who are your true friends? When it’s all said and done, who will be left standing with you?
Being a high school teacher, I see more than my fair share of drama. More often than not, it has to do with friend problems – either boy or girl – or both. Over the years, I have accumulated a long list of observations that sadly, never changes unless it is to add another offense. Here is a rundown of that list: I watch friends talk about their friends behind their backs. I watch friends flirt with their best friend’s boy or girl friend. I hear friends say outright lies about their friends, without a blink of the eye or a look of shame at what they’ve done. These same so-called friends can barely contain their glee when their friends get a speeding ticket, fail an important test, get caught smoking in the bathroom, get dumped by their boy or girl friend, and the list goes on and on.
On more than one occasion, I have watched two boys who were best friends for years, fist fight over a girl who wasn’t interested in either of them – she just wanted the attention, and you guessed it – the fight was started by their friends’ gossip. I’ve seen girls reduced to hair pulling and nail clawing, over – a boy when their friends confided he was cheating (whether it was true or not).
After these observations, I understand where the phrase “With friends like that, who needs enemies?” comes from. I think back to my high school and college days and examine friendships. Did such things happen? Probably, but I can recall only a few incidents and those pale by comparison to what I see today. Is it because we were smarter or more mature “back in the day”? I doubt it, but I do think times have changed. In this fast paced high tech world, gossip can be texted instantly. I’ve seen kids text what they “overheard” without giving themselves a minute to consider it. The damage is done instantly. In a world where “reality TV” rules,friends turn against friends on national television.
Friends today are networked via the Internet and social networks like Facebook, so they can keep up a “zillion” friends at once. They can email blog, tweet, message, even post videos on YouTube. Unfortunately, the Internet can be used as a tool to cause even more drama. With what seems to be no thought to the consequences, derogatory comments about friends can be launched into Cyber Space with a click of the mouse. You can send a message without even using words – one incident I saw that devastated a girl happened when a group of her friends deleted her from their friends list on Facebook. I ask you,“What are friends for?”
Oscar Wilde said, “True friends stab you in the front.” The key word here is true. True friends disagree and get angry with one another, but they remain friends. True friends talk to one another, not about one another. True friends are there to laugh with you and cry with you. And true friendship lasts. This morning I spoke with my best friend from junior high school. We’ve been friends for over 30 years! We don’t get to see each other very often, but thanks to today’s technology, we can stay in touch.
I have always told my children, if you want a friend then be a friend. Perhaps I should add true – be a true friend.