Close up Hands Tea x

Sit a bit and hear some observational stories I’ve been steeping.

Foul-Weather Friends

There is a raging debate swirling in my head about which is harder on the heart: losing a fair-weather friend or the foul-weather kind.

 

The fair-weather friend only wants to walk in your world when the climate is sunny and cheerful, which one dictionary loosely defines as “one who is only there in good times and gone in the bad”, so I think you get the gist, easily enough, of what a foul-weather friend is.

 

Time has been good to me, in that the years have brought me many, many interesting people to interact with and so many that I have been proud to call friends.  However, there have been a handful here and there that were easily identifiable by their emotional barometers as the fair or foul kind.

 

Fair-weather friends get a bad rap for only wanting to be a friend when the good times roll.  I’ll admit it is hurtful to not have them around when you need them the most, but I’ve also come to realize that they usually can’t handle storms in their own life and I try to have compassion for them and their inability to cope.

 

The potentially toxic relationship with a foul-weather pal tends to be a cyclone of a different color and you don’t always notice the extent of the damage until your storms pass and they’ve dried up and blown away.

 

Truth be told, many people don’t always recognize the nature of the foul-weather relationship right away, but it’s usually the person who will only call and seek you out when things are bad, either for you or for them.  In fact, it’s even better if things are bad for you, because this kind of friend is weirdly happy to jump in and wallow in your misery with you.  The worse your situation, the more intense their feelings seem to be for you.

 

One tell-tale sign of a foul-weather friend is when you share good news or happy moments, watch to see if they quickly dismiss it or if their eyes glass over and the subject quickly gets changed.  Then, hard though it may be, try to be aware the next time you’re aggravated or emotionally upset over something and you’ll notice them come alive.  It’s almost vampire-like, their need to share blood, sweat and tears – especially tears.

 

After awhile, you might notice that your foul-weather friends never have anything nice or supportive to say about their spouse, parents, other friends or even their poor children.  Heaven knows, there are times that those closest to me drive me batty on occasion, but I carry a lot more love and affection around for them than I do resentment.  Honestly, I don’t recall ever hearing a warm sentiment or compliment come out of the mouth of a foul-weather friend about anybody or anything.  They are the walking anti-Hallmark guard.

 

A real friend will sit and hold your hand during life’s big dramas, but not follow you around trying to help locate or create new ones on a daily basis.  A real friend will offer helpful, constructive advice on how to handle or repair minor issues with others.  Not encourage you to tear wider holes in the fabric of every relationship you have.  A real friend will display almost as much pleasure as you do when you relate happy stories and exciting news.  When you look in the eyes of a true friend, you see the reflection of your delight, magnifying the experience to bring twice as much joy.

 

Unfortunately, the climate of today’s culture is one that breeds contempt and unhappiness all around.  You need only look at the circulation sales of the tabloids or the ratings of mean-spirited reality TV to see how people enjoy watching others being belittled or humiliated – and they call it “entertainment”.  It has become a national pastime to humor one’s self through the misfortunes of others, something of great appeal to a foul-weather friend.  I, for one, am mad as heck and I’m not going to take it anymore.

 

We all would do better to remember some of the simple rules of childhood when it comes to our relationships.  Say what you will, but the Golden Rules still apply, no matter how archaic you believe them to be, and at the top of the list:  “Always treat others the way you would want to be treated.” 

 

Having or being a true friend gives us a wider field of vision to fully appreciate the many joys that a day can bring.  Without the shadow of the umbrella carried by a foul-weather friend, you’ll see a much brighter forecast.  It's just my opinion, but after all, what are friends for?

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