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Measuring Stick for Friendship

There is this place in me where your fingerprints still rest,
your kisses still linger and your whispers softly echo.
It is the place where a part of you will forever be a part of me.
Gretchen Kemp

At my previous place of employment, during a casual conversion we were having, a coworker made several disparaging remarks about another coworker. Because it made me feel uncomfortable, I was mentally searching for a diplomatic way to change the subject, when something occurred to me.

“Aren’t you two friends?” I asked. As she replied in the affirmative, that old saying sprang to mind. You know the one…with friends like that, who needs enemies?

I think I’m a good friend. I always tell the truth, but try to shape it in a way that’s supportive, compassionate, and more importantly, won’t hurt feelings or burn bridges. I might discuss another friend’s behaviour with another friend, but only in the context of seeking advice or asking for feedback. I have clearly defined ideas about what it means to be a good friend – loyalty, being supportive, active listening, knowing when to say nothing.

Until just recently, my measuring stick for friendship was the 3 o’clock in the morning test. If something bad happened to me at 3 a.m. and I couldn’t contact my family, who would I call? I find it interesting that of friends who live in the same city, I would only call one of them if I needed help in such an extreme emergency. The other two people on my friends-measuring-stick list live in two different provinces. However, such is the strength of our relationships that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt they would do and say what they could regardless of the distance between us.

But last month, when a friend sent me an email that included the above quote, it inspired me to redefine my own personal definition of friendship. Over the years, I have lost close friends to death, suicide and just plain time. No matter whether they are past or present, newly acquired or have been in my life for a stretch of years, they have left their fingerprints on my heart. And because they did, I am rich.

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One comment on “Measuring Stick for Friendship

  1. Very touching. The 3:00 a.m. call does make you think. I don’t think I would be calling some family members then either!

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