What is a friendship for you

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
I’ve been reflecting on the meaning of friendships and relationships in general. How do we accept, want and keep people in our lives and why? How, ourselves, we do behave as friends? In short, what are our standards to decide "this is a friendship"?

I have quite high standards to call someone a friend.
A friend is someone:
- you are most of the time happy and relaxed around
- you are able to listen to
- who’s able to listen to you
- who is loyal and truthful and sincere
- who helps you when you need, according to their capacities and limitations
- whose you accept the limitations
- with whom you share information about each other in a balanced way
- who’s capable to challenge you when they think what you’re doing isn’t okay without blaming you -> close friend thing
- who doesn’t use guilt or sense of obligation or any kind of manipulation to make you feel you owe them something
- who is safe to be around and won’t use what they know of you against you in any case
- who can forgive you when you make a mistake or cross a boundary (without malevolent intention) -> close friend thing
- that you can forgive when you make a mistake or cross a boundary without intention - > close friend thing
- that you can say they’ve crossed a boundary and who can say you did -> path to be a close friend
- with whom negotiation and compromise for the best common solution is always possible
- who brings joy/happiness/peace or anything positive in your life consistently, and who feels the same for you
- who, when they speak about you without you being here, always put the emphasis on the positive

I consider there are levels of intensity in these relationships. Over time, these have been my criteria to call someone a "close friend". So far, I have 4 of them in my life I think. Which is already quite nice. In the category "friends" that meet these conditions without being so close, I might have 8 maximum. And others are acquaintances that more or less enter in the conditions above, but with much less intensity. Personally, I don’t need to see them that often, and these relationships really have been built over a decade.

What aren’t friends, or toxic friends
- they mostly make it about themselves and consistently don’t take you in account in any decision process
- who respond negatively when you tell them you’re upset about something they did or do (guilt you, be mad at you, etc)
- make you feel consistently stressed or awkward or "on your guard"
- use intimidation (yelling, ignoring you, threatening you, etc…) to get what they need or block your needs
- who don’t seem to take your needs into account
- who reproach you for having needs
- whom you don’t trust saying much about yourself in fear they’ll use it against you
- who speak about negatively you behind your back and/or disclose information about you that you don’t want to be disclosed

Now I have a certain flexibility in accepting people’s flaws and mistakes. But placing boundaries is complicated at times. When too much is too much?

I wondered what were your standards and how you see friendship in general. :-)
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
I have few friends for over 20+ years that live so far and I hardly ever see and now and then we may have intense email or whatsup exchange and reminisce about the past, share about the present (which can be a lot of information missed in the distance) and talk about future dates that we hope to see each other. I do not any more (maybe coming with old age) care or think or focus behaviour or thoughts or feelings about another person. If my interactions give me a feeling I am not sure, I just ask. No different that way in even intimate relationships or family. I do not project as much anyways or have expectation of behaviour. A friend is someone that I would feel comfortable in my house for dinner. Very low bar! but I no longer find ugly and hostile people...I must tamed my own horns!
 

Recovery4Me

MyPTSD Pro
I have been blessed with a few lifetime friends that had my back through thick and thin. Although they have since passed (as death comes to us all) they still are in my heart, soul and mind. They were my family elect for over a half of century.

We held each other accountable to old way standards, keeping one’s word, avoiding confrontation or uproar while locking and loading if need be to protect. They all had courage, mad skills embedded in sincere loyalty without needing to posture, brag or even talk about it. They never made someone plead for help during hard times (as people kept an eye out to make sure you were OK). Everyone in our circle carried their weight in some arsh busting manner. All hard workers: good folk. Honest and true.

Times were different back then in some parts : not a lot of technology nor political correct maps. You did or you did not : simple. Survival often forges working relationships but courage with upright constitution was the metal that my friendships were built on. May they Rest In Peace and hear my tale with a grin on their face holding a drink in their hand.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I think I have different levels of friendships.
I have a friend who I have known for 20 or so years, we met at work, and whilst I might see her once a year now and communicate at birthdays etc. When we see each other we are really close and talk about a lot of things. I actually have a couple of other friends like that, who live on the other side of the world, and when we 'regroup' it's like we never left each other.
I have other friends, again at work or I know them through other friends, who I might see and speak with more, but those friendships are more casual and I would maybe not share personal stuff and they might not with me. But I still value these friendships just as much, and we have lots of fun and interesting meaningful conversations.
And then I have my three core best friends who again I have known for a long time , but again I would share different things with each of them, and vice versa.
So a range of friendships from various settings with varying levels of closeness. All of which are precious to me.
What I need from a friendship is someone who doesn't judge, who is open and values the person. Rather than judging them on what they look like, or the clothes they wear, or the job they have or don't have, and how much disposable income someone might have. When I was younger I had friends who judged on those qualities, and I did too to go along with it. And I found that very challenging. I need to relax around my friends and not feel I have to worry about these things. So I ended some friendships with people who saw the world that way.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
Having people around me that I don't have to hide my true feelings or thoughts from. People that I can trust not to tell other people my private information. I had a friend before that was telling strangers to me all about my secrets and personal information so I got rid of her and ended up getting the police involved when she wouldn't leave me alone.

Someone that can try and lift my spirits when I'm down. Someone that will make an effort to go out and spend time together. And it goes both ways. People that I can show love too. That I can care about.
 

TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
Friendships are something I see as on a spectrum.......that have several different outcomes. If they are long term, they move to the right on the spectrum and remain as friends....at a deeper level.

Acquaintances like the mailman, the oilman, the postman.....someone you see regularly but don't know much more than their job
Acquaintances like you meet at a bar or online .......tend to go nowhere and lack dimension or a strong interest.....so I don't go to bars.......and friendships made in an altered state.....well....aren't or haven't been healthy.
Friendships quickly made over trauma or sex (won't often last long and can get real dramatic fast-so I don't do that either....
Friendships made over people in need......I keep really strict boundaries because I like to help/fix things and situations but over helping leads me into drama (a fixer role in the dysfunctional family setting) and some people in need aren't always as needy as they make themselves out to be......so I help people, but try not to enable....keeping healthy boundaries.
Friends made over a common interest other than trauma-these have more potential for the long term, so I set clear boundaries for music friends, art friends, people I'll go out and do things with like we'll do photography....we have something of an interest in common-but these are people I don't usually see more than once a week to begin with and who have a life of their own.....w/o trauma talk (They have no code to my house to get inside (or key), nor do I share intimate information with them. I've found going gung ho with initiating friendships.....isn't the best way to do it....slow and steady wins the race.....as the turtle said to the hare. The reason I say that is if one is hungry for friends, wanting things to move more quickly than the relationship should or can in the moment (expectations) can kill a potential friendship before it gets going....so having fewer expectations is the best. Then you can sit back and really think if values, social mores, ideologies, spirituality, interests, and passions match up.

A person I share an interest with and have known a good while....at least a couple of years....might see them a couple of times a week but not likely every week, and we eat at each other's house (They would get a one time code to my house if I were going to have them feed my cats)-but I'd secure the code after they were done.
A person whom I spend time with them and their family or visit with my friend's family on holidays.....and have an open invitation to visit.....and who I'd trust with my life...
a person whom I'd travel with or allow to help with decision making if I weren't competent....call it a bestie......someone I can count on.

To have friends like this last one.....it takes years of developing a relationship, years of pulling my weight as a friend, frank and honest conversations, lots of "real moments" but without weekly "trauma talk"......having things in common, making memories, being there for cancer/medical crises, making and recalling our positive memories, I think are what sustain a relationship. Negative memories and telling all the negative past stuff can kill a relationship. That's what I think about creating relationships.....good ones take time.....and develop over time. You put in as much as you give, and you have to walk your talk in any relationship and live by the golden rule.
 

brat17

MyPTSD Pro
I only have a couple really true friends. Those are the ones that accept you as you are and still love you. They are very loyal. I am a really good listener and am extremely loyal. We have commonalities such as, if they called in the middle of the night and needed something, I would run, and they would do the same. Its never happened because we are not into drama. We may have political differences or even different thoughts of what is moral....the common thread is trust, respect, loyalty, and value of each other.

Now I have friends who have pulled me into their drama and I have let it happen. The more you allow, the more they will use. I have learned not to answer those calls until its convenient. Might go listen to a band or a street fair with these people, but limit contact.

There are so many levels of acquaintance and friendships, but I have very few of any. I use to have a lot more but I am much more of an introvert these days.
 

Weezley

Learning
I'm for the most part pretty anti social. But I do have a few people I would call a friends.

Trust is key. If I can't trust you I can't be around you.

Loyalty is anouther big thing. I'd do anything for my friends and even though I don't ask much from my friends but if I ever did I'd expect the same in return.

Kind and caring.
 
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