How Much Can You Expect From a “Good Friend”?

We all have acquaintances…and if you’re lucky, as I have been, these acquaintances, people you don’t  know well, offer helpful words all on their own. Without prodding.  They have either been through a similar experience or they are just caring people. But they know more than you think and from their hearts come these beautiful thoughts. No price tag attached. Pure thoughts.

With acquaintances, you don’t want to get into the stuff that hurts. The pain. The empty wallet you are carrying. It feels uncomfortable to let them into your physical house, But there are some people who just “know,” and they make the comment that changes life for an hour or two.

This goes beyond the mandatory: “Hey…..What’s happening, Man?” These days I’m into: “Hey Cowboy or Cowgirl,” depending on the sex. Then the conversation ends.

But what about friends you have known much longer. Friends who know, you know what I mean? They know you exceed the “limits” so to speak. Emotional limits, physical limits, limits, you know what I mean. They know you do that and they like you just fine when you’re not exceeding—but they hate you when you let go, when you just let go. I repeated myself because you gotta “let go,” hopefully with friends who understand and know it will pass. 

I’m not referring to nutty people. People who never stop exceeding.

But the vast majority of us know about the limits. It’s been drilled into our brains. There’s a card that gets inserted when you’re born and it tells you what you can and cannot do. And if you exceed, punishment awaits.

People have specialities, I have learned. If someone is grieving, and in “need,” folks with the special qualities are sent to soothe the person in pain. Those who cannot help with these heavy emotions, (usually men, sadly) come and look you in the eye and say: “I am not afraid. You can tell me what you need to say.”

But if you are in a place where nobody has these special qualities, you are in for a  bad experience. Let’s use grief as an example. Not everybody has experienced it. Grief for a “spouse” or “life partner” was my first experience. This is a person I spent ALL my time with. It’s like using a rusted, rotten knife to separate Siamese whatevers. 

I have learned, though. Few friends are able to care for others. They don’t know how. Maybe you need a class to learn. I think you got it or you don’t. But do not butt your head against a brick wall (which I did, and only made feel more frustrated). There are people who know, who care, who have a way with words.