“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.”
A relationship is not simply a romantic involvement between two individuals. Rather, according to Merriam-Webster, a relationship is “the way in which two or more people… talk to, behave toward, and deal with each other.” While having a significant other may prove to be meaningful, it is not the only relationship we should invest our efforts in. Friendships, relationships between parents, siblings, and other family members are extremely important. Lately, I have been pensive about my mortality and the funeral that will eventually take place sometime in the future. I have been thinking about who I would like to be there and who I want to remember me. Morbid, I know, yet it has made me more thoughtful about the relationships I have in my life.
Although I am still quite young, I believe I have acquired some wisdom about relationships between individuals, especially friendships. My experiences have taught me that the greatest downfall in relationships is communication or lack of it. Unlike our ancestors, we have an abundance of sources to use in order to communicate with others. Texting, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, e-mails, etc. all provide us with a method of communication. Did you notice my examples are lacking one pivotal source? I purposefully excluded talking to emphasize how easy it is to overlook that form of human interaction between people. Talking requires communication over the phone or face-to-face interaction. It is, in my opinion, a dying skill.
Competent communicators make a relationship much more meaningful. Talking and hearing the other person’s voice can deliver us from our darkest hour. Consider suicide hotlines, for example. Those hotlines provide support and empowerment to individuals contemplating ending their life or those people dealing with a severe calamity. Simply put, relationships are our lifelines during a crisis. Family, friends, and loved ones should provide us with sound advice, inspiration to achieve the impossible, and more importantly, emotional support. We all need a friend that we can laugh with, lean on, and cry with; we need a friend who will extend grace to us, but also challenge us. Everyone needs a soundboard; someone who will tell us what we need to hear so that we may grow and better ourselves.
Let us evaluate our current relationships and see if we can find those elements listed above. It would be a lie to tell you that all of my friendships have been perfect. I have been in my share of toxic friendships and I feel it is my duty to impart you with some final thoughts regarding this subject. Good friends are respectful and kind. They do not slander you or take advantage of you. Having a big heart is a wonderful thing, but it can harm you if it is shared with the wrong person. While we perform acts of genuine thoughtfulness, never expecting to receive anything in return, we must also remember those acts must be appreciated by others. Appreciation goes a long way. It allows us to recognize each other as great source of support as well as demonstrate our love for one another.