Turn around and take a look. Who's behind you? Hopefully there's an army of friends there.
Life is rough. Hopefully, you've been able to cultivate relationships with people that are good and meaningful. Because honestly, most people out there are only looking out for themselves. Right now, I want you to take a minute and think really hard about who would be there for you in a real crisis. Who's the person or people that would sit with you for hours while you rant on and on about your problems and never show wear and tear? Probably a family member and one or two close friends popped into your head. And thats great.
Here's what you do with that information. Make it a priority to be loyal to them. People in life who'll back you up are rare. Most people in life only find 2 or 3 of these people in all their 80 years of life. Do not mess up those relationships. Work hard to keep them fresh and interesting. And remember, when the time comes that they are in crisis, your loyalty to them will be repaid in full.
Now, there's another side of this too. There are those who are nice to your face, and nasty behind your back. Watch these people like a hawk. Sometimes these people are hard to spot, but there is a test you can use to help spot them. Watch how they treat their friends. If their friends talk badly about them, or you witness disloyalty on their part, or they keep bad company - steer clear. They may be charming, popular, or attractive, but if they screw over their close friends - they'll screw you even harder.
Here are some more general guidelines I use. There are exceptions to every rule.
People who you work for, work for you, or with you, are almost never looking out for your best interests. When money gets in the way, you can kiss your friendship goodbye. Be careful when confiding in them.
People with some kind of power over others (such as political or organizational) are almost always looking for an ego fix. Whether they know it or not, its true. Its not necessarily a bad trait either. It just has to do with their personality type. Just remember that. If they're still your friend after their power has subsided, then that will show if they were really your friend or not.
People who cancel their plans with you on a regular basis need to be slapped. If this happens to you a lot, then you need to come to an understanding that you are the "backup" friend or priority. A true friend won't do this on a regular basis. Frankly, its insulting to be the backup plans. I know this from experience. Make sure you aren't treating people like this.
The ball and chain. This is one of the worst offenses. If you have a friend who can never make time for you because they are too attached to their significant other, then you need to really re-evaluate this relationship. These are also the same people that will come running back to you and cry on your shoulder after their torid affar/novelty ends. -re-read previous paragraph-
Money plus Friendship = Disaster. Entering into business partnerships, becoming roommates and splitting the rent, loans and the like are a bad idea. If you are going to do stuff like this, make sure you do it with a special kind of person that is very forgiving and understanding. Also, make sure that you are that kind of person too. I know that many of you can relate.
So, in closing. Follow the golden rule. And above all, be loyal to your good friends. Some of this I've learned the hard way - and much of it I'm still learning.
There are a few people who've really had my back in the past, and for that I'm eternally grateful! For those I've wronged in the past, my many apologies.
Til next time...