Friday, October 11, 2013

Good Time Friends vs. True Friends - Who Is Worth Your Investment?

As I embrace the new year with art and family being my main priorities, I began thinking about how much time, energy, monetary resources, consistency, and dedication it took to stay in the art game.  To continue.  Because anyone who has a dream isn't doing it just to casually dab their tippy toe in the pool to see "what happens".  Hell naw.  All the dreamers I know, including myself, are out there on the front lines everyday jumping into risks, getting rejected, taking hits, making punches.  Nothing about what we do is casual -  and we don't pay any mind to those who receive us casually. Which got me thinking about friendships and relationships.  A friendship takes investment of time, energy, trust, vulnerability, consistency, and dedication just as much as any career focus.  Yet why do some of us continue to invest in relationships that we know ended a long time ago? Or continue to engage ourselves and waste our precious life with superficial people?

A while ago, a friend told me how she had different types of friends categorized - there were "party friends", "girlfriends", "friends with benefits", "college friends", "work friends", "networking friends", "fake friends", "help-me-get-to-the-next-level-in-life friends" and last but not least, "true real friends".  While trying to figure out which category I belonged to in her life, I wiggled my little Bunny nose in confusion and said, "Well the only type of friendship I invest in are real true friends.  My intention in every one of my relationships is to be a true genuine friend so I guess it makes things easier." 

But was it easier?  Sure it sounded nice and simple, but I questioned which of my friends were genuine true friends, which ones were "good time friends", and then there are people we just happen to know but we would never consider them any kind of friend.  Or those we thought were our true friends only to realize with disappointment that they are a better fit for the "good time friend" category.  

We all know what a true friend is - those rare gems in society that support you in who you want to be as a dreamer, who you can count on with everything, who hurt when you hurt, who you can tell your secrets to knowing it won't go anywhere, who you feel safe with when you are at your lowest and weakest moments in life.  You can assess a lot about who a person is in how they treat you when you are at your lowest - those who honor your dignity when you are down and out are our true friends.

So what's a "good time friend"? A "good-time friend" is someone who only comes around when life is good for you.  They are friends with you because your lifestyle is similar to their lifestyle in some kind of way, or they could be intrigued by your lifestyle.  The friendship is surface, light-hearted, and usually scheduled around some kind of activity such as clubbing, working out, book club, or some type of outing.  "Good-time friends" are attracted to you because of who you are (when you're happy), what you do for a living, your lifestyle, your company, and sometimes what you can do for them. Their acceptance of you as a person is limited only to when your life is good, to ensure a good time with them

I realized recently that some people who were in my life were attracted to me because I'm an artist. They were attracted to my lifestyle as an artist - being a creative free spirit, rebellious, non-conformist, unique, unconventional, and whatever else comes to mind when society thinks of an artist.  Maybe they dig being around an easel and paintbrushes, the porn, who knows. lol 

But once adversity hit, those folks scattered - nowhere to be found.  Like a character on that tv show "Disappeared". Or when they did respond it was something like "Hope life is good with you!" knowing that life was not.  Then you wouldn't hear from them again. lol 

From my observation, it's easier for friends to be in the "good-time friend" category than it is for them to be a true friend.  It's much more convenient to be a good-time friend. It takes much less bravery to be a good-time friend. Think about it - in order to be a true friend, you have to be incredibly brave to show up, show that you care, show that you're there, keep your word that you'll be there, and support your friend as they go through their adversity. It's incredibly rare.  

A true friend said to me today, "Bunny, it's not that they're bad people, but they are weak people." Such incredible wisdom, don't you think?  Those folks who we know are strictly good-time friends because they've proven to not be a true friend at all.  

So my question is this - why do we invest in these "good-time friends"? When we know their friendship is both conditional, limited, and no longer sincere (was it ever, really)? To keep them around in case we need them for some superficial favor in the future?  Or to be around when they need one from us? Because there's been history together?  

Now, don't get me wrong.  There are plenty of friends I have a great time with that remain unknown whether they are true friends.  That takes time to build, develop, and evolve into.  What I'm referring to are those friends that we specifically know are not our true friends because they've shown us who they are.  Do you still stick around?  Why?  Do you still invest in something that you know won't be reciprocated? Why hang on? 

Paraphrasing Joel O'Steen, "I'd rather have two friends that are 100% with me than 10,000 friends that are 20% there." Investment into anything and anyone takes energy.  We only have a certain amount of time and energy that we can invest with.  I used to be the initiator to keep in contact with a lot of people.  Sure they would call back, but they wouldn't ever initiate a phone call or even an email.  Which made me wonder if they were a true friend, or even a good-time friend.  

The answer to that question?  I stopped calling.  I stopped initiating.  I stopped caring.  I stopped investing and wasting my energy.  Some folks would call and ask, "Bunny! Where have you been?  I haven't heard from you and was starting to get worried." That's when I realized they were a true friend who just happened to get used to me doing the initiating. ;) But nonetheless they picked up the phone to check in.  The other folks, I just let them fade away out of my life to make room for more true friends.  Yee!   

It makes sense to invest in our true friends.  Those that accompany you to the emergency room at midnight and stay with you until 4am even when they have to be at work in a few hours.  Or going to the funeral to mourn with you in the rain.  Or calling you when you're freaking out to remind you of your strength and how you can't let anybody keep you down, for you to not feel guilty about something that was never your fault. To hear the pain in their voice from your hurt.  To know that a select few would take you in if you were ever homeless, no questions asked.  To come get you out of an abusive situation and arrange a women's domestic violence shelter to come get you and refer you to legal counsel.  This is the kind of thing my true friends have done for me, and what I've done for them.  That's love, and that's better than any good-time friend I could ever want.   

Wanna know how to tell the difference between a true friend and a good-time friend?  A true friend can't stay away knowing that you're hurting. It's impossible for them.  BAM!

PS - There's plenty of good times to be had with true friends, you know. ;)

* As always, much appreciation for sharing this Bunny blog post! 

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