Run through the list of people you consider “close enough to you” in your mind – family, friends, co-workers, acquaintances, pretty much anyone who isn’t that hobo by your bus stop who greets you by your name every morning to work – now picture you are in a dire situation, for friends who are of the visual sort with a flair for the melodrama I usually say, imagine you are hanging by the edge of a cliff, and for friends who are more cognitively inclined I say something like, imagine if you were in say a critical financial situation, now, which of these people you have listed in your mind will step forward to help you when you ask for help? Pretty much all of them right? (if your answer was very few or if the number of people who wouldn’t exceeded who would, then you need to reevaluate your relationships buddy. The problem is no longer them, its you. Sorry to have to be the one to point it out). Now here is the part where I go ever wonder……
Ever wonder if you selected the people as ‘yes they would help, no doubt!’ based on the fact that these are people who love you or care for you enough that they would step forward to help whenever you ask them, or because these are the type of people who will do things because its the right thing to do, whether they deeply care or do not care for you isn’t really a factor for them to consider. Does it matter? I mean, does it matter that some people you consider close and trustworthy are because they will, based on their values or morals, step forward to help because its the right thing to do, as opposed to really caring about you and stepping forward to help even when its something that goes against what they value but just because you really need them to?
The relationships I have in my life vary a great deal, from those I have known for a month, to those I have known all my life. But I have already managed to separate all these people in the two separate categories in my mind. I personally would much rather someone do something for me because they cared enough than because they rationalized it in their heads and realized thats the right thing to do. Sadly, I have friends I have known for years who I know will step up when asked but because its the right thing to do, not necessarily because they care enough for me to do it. Then there are, well there is, this person I’ve gotten to know for the past few months, and I know being the kind of person he is, he just cares for people he considers friends, and he would always be reliable and supportive enough to help you whenever he can -and because of the type of person he is, he always can.
Think about it, the rational friend shows up to pull you up the cliff, pats you on your back and says, ‘that was a close one!’ and then proceeds with life with a clear conscience; or the emotional friend shows up to pull you up, embraces you, maybe cries a little, and then spends the next few days calling to check how you’re dealing with the trauma. Wouldn’t you the latter friend?