Friends vs. Associates: 3 Ways to Tell the Difference!

11“I am looking for what I call my move-the-body friends.  I am looking for the folks who are going to show up and wade through the deep water with me” ~Brene Brown


I read this quote and immediately said  “Ain’t that the truth!” and began thinking about which friends would help me “move-the-body” literally.  I have one friend, maybe two  that would definitely help me with the body, the others are the “pick the best lawyer, pitch in on the legal fees, & visit me in prison” friends. Both groups of friends are needed, and both are appreciated. Separating friends from associates can be difficult, however these are three things friends should be:

Friends should be your lifesavers-Literally!

It may sound extreme, but it is true!  Friends should be people you can call on if you needed someone to save your life.  No matter if it is just to talk, vent, or if you need food to eat.  The people we can call that will help, without judgement are our friends.  While they may have questions, and disagree with your some actions, they do what they can to support you, to the best of their abilities-even if it is not convenient for them.  Now I am not saying that your friends have to rearrange their life for you, but if it was literally a matter of life or death for you, they would.

Friends should be trusted with your passwords!

And, I don’t mean just your wifi password!  We guard our passwords with our LIFE, and will not hesitate to change it if we think someone knows it.  Life comes at us hard and fast and we don’t always make the best decisions.  We all have our “less than shining moments”.  How your friends handle the information most sensitive to you is important.  Can you trust the people you call friends with your deepest secrets?  Would you tell your friends information about you, and feel comfortable that they would not use it to harm you?  These questions can help decide who should be a friend and who should be an associate.

Friends should helpers not haters!

“Hater” is a word that get tossed around A LOT, but it should never be used toward someone you consider a friend.  As we pursue new ventures in life, support is vital.  Support can be in the form of verbal encouragement, your physical presence, or card or a small gift.  Even if they do not agree with what your endeavors are, wishing you well requires little effort.   Beginning a new path in life is never easy, and questions from friends can provide some clarity, however words of doubt should not be a constant from them.  My friendship rule:  It is my job as a friend to support and encourage my friends, not judge and belittle.  As a friend I am entitled to give my 2 cents one time, after that I offer support.  If I cannot support the path my friend is taking, even after talking to them, I may need to step back from the relationship.

Friendship is a two-way street.  The same standards you have for your friends, are the same standards your friends should be able to have for you.  Knowing who to let in your circle takes time.  It takes conversations (it’s amazing how much you get know about someone from just talking).  It needs good and bad times (how they handle each often reveals their true character). You need to observe them (pay attention to how they treat other people).  By getting to know people and establishing a foundation you can better determine if they are a body moving friend or a news watching associate.

Christina Lattimore|Blogger & Mental Health Advocate|www.speakawaythestigma.org

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