So You Think You Have Friends!

By Farida Hasanali

HOUSTON: Most likely you don’t! I know…sounds pretty morose doesn’t it? Every one of us wants to believe we have friends. Not just a friend, but different groups of friends. I find myself often explaining that I have many groups of friends. A group of Desi friends, a non Desi group, work groups from many different units and programs I am part of and one lone solitary friend from way back in India.

To explain what I mean, I need to first establish what a friend is.  According to a friend is a person attached to another by feelings of affection, OR a person who gives assistance, OR simply a person who is on good terms with another, a person who is not hostile OR a member of a religious society of friends. You didn’t expect that did you?

Somewhere along the way, our idea of a true friend has changed. We now expect a friend to be a soul mate, someone who completes our sentences before we do, some one who guides us even when they know we don’t want to hear it, someone who is never afraid of losing us. Some people have had the good fortune to find such a friend in a life partner, but very few, if any of us find or have such true friends. A wise person once wrote about friends that come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime. If a person comes into our lives to assist us in some way, they came for a reason and we should receive it as that and let them go when the reason is fulfilled.

Most of us I believe fall in the category of having friends for seasons. I’ve had many seasons of different groups of friends. It feels like their lives change; marriage, children, education, moves…whatever it may be, when the season is over the friends go away but I stay the same. Maybe there is nothing wrong with that. It’s almost as if you come into someone’s life for a reason, but stay for a season because there is a need to do so and during that period you have changed too and it’s really time to move on.

Now let’s tackle the elusive lifetime friend. I would like you all to take a moment and take a mental stock of your friends. How many people in your life will come to your aid in the worst moments of your life? If you were in dire need of a substantial sum of money, how many of your friends would offer it to you? And the true test, if you comment on something that a friend is doing wrong with the intent to improve them, how many of your friends learn from it and how many react defensively. I guarantee you, most will fall into the latter category.

True friendship is like marriage. Friends have to grow together, they have to learn to trust each other, and they have to accept the fundamental premise that no one is out to get them, or make them feel or look bad. Friends have to leave their egos and insecurities at home when they are together and think for the group instead of just themselves.  So now how many friends do you think you have?

If you have just one, Congratulations! You are truly blessed.

Farida 1Farida Hasanali is a freelance writer for several Indo-American publications. In her day job, she works as a Knowledge & Program Manager for BP’s Remediation Management Division.