Be a friend…

“A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.”  (Arnold Glasow) – as seen originally on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

soldiers on patrolThere’s a saying in the military, “I’ve got your 6.” In civilian life (and terms) it translates to, “I’ve got your back.” Basically it is saying that you are protecting the backside or blind side of that person. Usually this is for a friend, which in the military and in combat zones is everybody in your squad or unit.

In the business world there are courses on team building that use a technique for developing trust in the teamwork process by having one person stand with arms crossed in front and fall backwards into the arms of afalling back partner. The idea is to help people trust in co-dependent relationships with teammates in the business world. We inherently have the same kind of trust in those in life that we call our friends.

In real life, one doesn’t ask someone to “friend me”.  You might ask someone to be your friend, but that is usually after some period of knowing them and building trust in them. Real friends are those that you know you can count on, confide in and who will be there to catch you, should you start to fall. Real friends are there to listen to your problems and perhaps offer advice (if asked); but not to criticize or scold. Real friends don’t get in your way; in fact, they encourage you to try things or to become something more than you are now. They cheer your girls huggingaccomplishments and commiserate with you in your defeats. They share laughs with you and give you a shoulder to cry upon. They share your moments of pain and your times of joy.

One never knows where one will meet someone who becomes a friend. It could be at work, at church, in the neighborhood, anywhere. Some friendships are short lived. I remember friendships that were formed and lived only during summer vacations, sometimes over multiple vacation visits to the same places. Many of my lasting friendships started at work and were developed in more social, after-work activities, such as golf. I do remember the friendships that I had in the military; those that seemed so strong in the face of shared danger in foreign lands. There are bonds of friendship that grow out of shared experiences, both good and bad.

For those of us who get lucky, the best friend that one will ever have in life is the old cooupleperson that we choose to marry and spend our lives with. We may have other friends in our lives, but none will be as close, as intimately involved with us or and co-dependent upon us as our spouse. I have the great fortune to be celebrating 50 years together with my best friend this year.

Friendships are good for us because they both give to us and require of us. They force us out of our protective shells and draw out of us the good that is in us all. Think of those in your life whom you would call friends and those who think of you as their friend. If they were standing behind you, would you feel safe to fall backwards?  If you were behind them, would you make the effort to catch them if they fell? How does that make you feel? Be a friend today and feel good about it.

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