The Beauty of a True Friend

When I first moved to New York, I befriended a lot of people in my office.  Some, I hung out with every other weekend, traveled all over the place with, and shared a lot of those innermost secrets like friends are supposed to do.

A couple of the big bosses said to me, “You think they’re your friend, but they’re really not.” 

I did not understand those warnings until last night. 

One of my friends told me recently that I’m the type of person that brings to a friendship what I expect back in return.  Which means that I only bring forth the true friendship card.  But that is my downfall in friendships, because I expect people to bring forth their true friendship card too.  I expect them to be like me, when they really are not.

Our society has become a society of  ‘what you can do for me’ friendships.  Some people like that you’re famous, and they’re only your friend for that reason.  Some people like that you have access to certain things that they can’t get on their own.  Some people like that you have money, maybe they’ll borrow some of it someday.

They’re only your friend for so long as they can get something out of you and the life you’ve created for yourself.  They’re kind of like a leech…trying to grab whatever good fortunes may come your way. 

I remember Rangers fans befriending me because I sat down in front and went to all of the Rangers VIP events (which meant you had to have money in order to gain access to those events).  One even took the puck bunny route and befriended me because I had access to the players.  [Serious no, no in my book.]  She dumped me as a friend the second she was able to have access to that player. 

Kind of dumb, because I told his family not so long after that what she had done and they stopped talking to her immediately. 

You never know what’s behind that fake facade.  You never know when someone is being genuine, true, and only interested in being friends with YOU. 

In the 6 years I’ve been in New York City, I can count only three people that I’ve befriended that were honest and true friends. 

Isn’t that sad?  All the rest (and I’ve met a lot of people) wanted something from me.  It was all about how my success could benefit them.

When did it become okay to be ‘that type’ of person?  The ‘user’ only shows up when they need something, and when YOU need THEM, THEY’RE nowhere to be found.  When they have a problem, you’re there for them.  But when you have a problem, they are conveniently busy…and don’t call you back until three months later when they need something from you (and your disaster has long since been resolved). 

I didn’t realize that people were that way.  My friend said that I always look at the best in people, thinking that they are going to be the type of person I am…honest and true when it comes to friendship…little did I know that people just aren’t like me.

That’s truly sad.

Gone are the days when people needed a true friend.  Prepare to give everything you’ve worked so hard for and share it with the fake people around you.  It doesn’t just happen when you’re famous.  It happens to everyone.

No wonder why so many people are miserable. 

It took me until I was almost 35 years old to understand why it’s so hard to find a good friend.  I never realized that people just don’t put their best effort forward when they are looking to make new friendships. 

I had a hard time understanding the “Mean Girls” society.  I was never exposed to it growing up.  I had an even harder time understanding why people bully.  My friends never had a ‘bully’ bone in their body when I was growing up.  We all knew it was WRONG.  So why do something that is WRONG?

These days, I’m left to ponder, “With friends like these, who needs enemies?” (That term took me 35 years to understand as well).  I believe they call them ‘frenemies.’  Who wants one of those?

Now, this post is not coming out of a place where I got into a fight with someone I thought was a friend.  No. 

This post is coming from a realization that people really are fake.  Even worse, people disguise themselves as fake friends.

I like to see the best in people.  I always overlook the bad.  Why?  Because everyone needs to be loved, honored and cherished despite their mistakes and pitfalls.  You have to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  I’ve always believed that if you want a real friendship, you have to put out there the same type of friendship you need.

Maybe along the way, a true friend will show up. 

Out of the 100s of possible friends I’ve weeded through in NYC, I’ve come up with three true friends.  Sad, right?  I’ve had more people become an ex-friend than a real friend.

Finding a true friend is a lot like finding love.  You sort through all of the possible suitors and wind up finding only one, or maybe just a few people that you’re going to love in this lifetime.  Friendships are the same way.  You could wind up with only one true friend, or just a handful in this lifetime.  They’re like finding a diamond in the rough…a lot like finding love.

When you find that true friend, don’t let them go.  Do whatever it takes to make the friendship grow.  I always love watching Oprah and Gayle.  They are such great friends, and they’ve been good friends for years.  It’s that sisterly bond between two good friends (some guys call their brotherly love: bromance).

Those are the friends that are with you through the good times and the bad times.  You laugh and you cry with them.  You share your biggest adventures with them, and the worst moments of your life.  They’re the ones that stand by your side no matter what.  They’re there when you are losing it.  They’re there to bring you back to sanity.

A good friend is an investment.  You invest in living a good life with them.  It means taking care to put your best effort forward.  This is a person that no matter what comes at you in life (marriage, family, sickness, death, etc.), you’re going to love that person because they’re your friend.

They show you the beauty in yourself.  They remind you that you are beautiful, even when you’re beating yourself up over how you look today.  They’re the ones you take with you on your life’s adventures.  They’re the ones you share your life with…no matter how many people you fall in love with…they know every single one of them…and they know if that person is good for you or not.

They’re the ones you eat countless bad calories with and say, “Fuck it!” to all of those diets we (were) on. 

That is what is so beautiful about a true friend…they’re a rarity, but when you find them, you don’t let go of them.  It’s a lot like finding true love.  True love is meant to last forever…just like friends were meant to last. [Friends Forever]

A few years ago, I had a dream about being out and about with my good friend M.  As many stories as we’ve shared about our hopes and dreams, in this dream, I was expecting.  Something happened while we were out together in NYC and she was the one that rushed me to the hospital and was there for me when the baby was born. 

Two years later, when I think about that dream, I think about how M is going to be there for me through all of life’s challenges and scary moments.  I sometimes sit next to her and just feel this warm feeling of love towards her, because she’s my best friend.  We’ve had a lot of adventures together so far. 

But the one thing that’s been great out of this friendship…we inspire each other to be better people.  When one person is stuck in a rut, the other one has the perfect remedy.  When one person is living the dream, the other one is inspired to do the things that nurture their own dream.

What’s even funnier…we share the same love of books with each other.  We hadn’t seen each other in months, and I told her I was reading “Percy Jackson and The Olympians” right now.  She told me that she had also switched to reading teen books as well (FableHaven).  We’re such like minded souls, that it was funny to find out that we had become addicted to reading teen books.

We’d rather watch a Disney movie than see a serious movie when we’re out. 

Believe it or not, she’s a writer, too…a children’s book writer. 

As much as she doesn’t understand the hockey world, all she sees is that I’m living the dream and writing every single day.  It inspires her to continue writing and to do something for herself every single day. 

We learn a lot from each other…we learn how to be better than we already are when we see each other.  There’s no jealousy. There’s no competition.  There’s just happiness and joy when we can ‘be there’ for each other…even if it’s just for dinner at some cheesy restaurant…we’re there for each other, no matter how busy our schedule is…we find time.

That’s the beauty of a good friendship.  We are alive when we have a good friend by our side.  We need them, just as much as they need us.  But what we really want from our friends…is just to be happy with someone until our dying days.  We all need companions on this road in life.

There’s romance…and then there is the love of a good friend.  When you find that diamond in the rough, embrace them and never let them go…give from who you are, and share the laughter, the tears, the heartaches and the triumphs of life together.  That’s the beauty of a true friend.

About Michelle Kenneth

Michelle Kenneth has been a member of the NHL credentialed media covering the New Jersey Devils since 2008 for Inside Hockey. She is the owner or PerfectionistWannabe.com.