Dear Readers, you have my apologies for the silence this past week. Sometime around last Tuesday, I hit that wall called the mental block and it wasn’t letting anything in, or out! It took a few days of some good girlfriends time, some good workouts, some nature time and a wee-bit of trashy tv. I just needed some time for my mind-funk to pass. Of all that I did this past week to clear the mental blockage, time with my girlfriends hit it home the best. And that time (and, well, the trashy tv too) got me thinking… what does a good friend, a true friend, look like?
Growing up a military brat and moving every couple of years forced me to become somewhat adept at making friends.
I learned that you never say yes to the first guy at a new school who asks you out (reputations are transferable) and always treat everyone as you would want to be treated (you do catch more flies with honey than vinegar).
But none of that really adds up to equal good, lasting friendships. I’m not talking about the friends that you chit-chat with when you pass each other in the grocery store. I’m talking about the friendships that make you certain you knew this person in a previous life.
In all my un-worldly travels, I’ve met a lot of gals who I thought wanted to be friends with me, but really, they just wanted minions. They want a “friend” to listen to all their woes, be at their side through adventure, be their shoulder to cry on and laugh at all their jokes. Um, isn’t that what a real friend does? Well, the catch is, when that effort is one-sided, she doesn’t want a friend, she wants a minion. Real friendships require reciprocity. Real friends will be your shoulder to cry on, but you also have to be their shoulder to cry on too. You gotta give a little, take a little, don’t make me start singing the story of love…
When trying to understand your relationships, you may have to ask yourself, of all the people in my life, who is looking for a minion and who is looking for a friend? It can be hard to tell. Minion-seekers will invite you out to do things. They’ll talk to you often. They’ll probably ask you for favors. So how do you know if you’re a minion or a friend?
How to tell if you’re a friend or a minion…
1. When you chat, do they ask detailed questions about your life now? If they ask you a couple of general questions and then switch the topic to their problems for the entire conversation, you might be a minion. Real friends will know details about what’s been going on in your life and they’ll remember to ask you for updates, even years later.
2. Do you hang out alone or are there always other people around? If they are always surrounded by an entourage and you’re just a face in the passing crowd, you might be a minion. If they are always surrounded by an entourage but you get dibs after Queen Friend, you might be a minion. Real friends will seek time out with you, even if it’s just a few minutes, to connect with just you.
3. If you ask them for a small favor, how do they respond? If you ask something reasonable and get a no with a lame-o excuse, (“Um, I have to wash my dogs hair at 2pm on Thursday), you might be a minion. Any form of yes (even if a payment is required, such as a day pass to a nekked spa), you know you got a keeper.
So if you find yourself a minion, and you’re ok with a one-sided relationship. Congrats. I think you should contact Bravo because they’ve got a spot on a show for you!
If you find yourself a minion and you want real friends with real cares and real fun, then be brave young Rex and cut that Minion-seeker out of your life! Real friends do take time and energy, but when it’s reciprocated, it’s worth it.
If you find yourself with real friends, congratulations for real because you have a solid network of people who love you.
If YOU are the minion-seeker, quite frankly, I don’t expect you to see yourself as one. I just hope your minions take a bite of your power and RAWR with some real friends soon.
If YOU are a real friend, thank you. You save lives by caring.
Here’s to eating the minions and RAWR-ING with real friends!