When I lost my best friend, my “person,” who had also been my fiancé at one point, my life went into a tailspin. I expected my friends, who extended across numerous backgrounds and experiences, to come to my aid at that difficult time. In tears, I texted about seven of them to tell them the news right after I heard. I got a few “sorry for your loss” messages back.
Then nothing. For months. From anyone. Not even my close family members.
I was in a state of shock, and I changed a lot in those months, which extended to years. I lost my lightness, my humor, and my confidence in people. I finally came to the realization that I no longer had any true friends after my best friend’s passing—I just had a lot of acquaintances. I just had people I know who knew me at one point.
As time went on, I started to get the impression that many of my former “friends” were quietly happy to learn that I was in distress. I was just a topic of gossip. In school and social settings, I had always been the life of the party, the one who always got the guy, and the one who took the lead. Now I was the depressed, grieving woman who was gaining weight, detaching from humanity, and losing her personality.
I wrote about this in several of my books. And I came to realize recently, all these years later, that this experience continues to have a very real effect on me, and how I navigate my relationships. I have a really hard time trusting people.
What Is a Friend?
A friend is someone who comes through for you when times are the toughest. Like a hero, she doesn’t run away from the problem, she charges forward to your rescue because she loves you and cares about your well-being. A friend tells you the truth. She isn’t secretly jealous of you. She invites you out because she genuinely wants to see you. She also makes time to come see you when she knows you need some company. She texts or contacts you at least a few times a week to see how you’re doing. To make sure you’re OK.
If you are blessed to have someone like this in your life, a real friend, cherish them and treat them the same way. It’s so important.
Lynn Gilliard is the author of a popular relationship guide entitled Let Him Chase YOU. Her latest book Sing While You're Single offers advice to women who want to remain single for the time being while still maintaining their belief in the power and possibility of love.