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Reflections: Defending Our Friendships…

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“But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life; and thanks to a benevolent arrangement of things, the greater part of life is sunshine.”  Thomas Jefferson

Reflections: Defending Our Friendships... Walk by my side...

Ralph Waldo Emerson said it well when he suggested that a friend is a masterpiece of nature.  “A friend may well be reckoned the masterpiece of nature.”  Throughout our lifetime, we form all kinds of friendships; some intimate, some close and lifelong, some distant,and some familial. Others become short term acquaintance-ships or even fractured friendships.  Yet, each connection holds a memory bank of events, images, conversations and reminiscences that sometimes have a profound impact on our lives. Our friendships are to be valued and never taken lightly … but we sometimes do.  Are there friends you know who are always available and helpful? Do we stop to honor them with a special treat, card or maybe a simple thank you? Do we as the saying goes, always rise to the occasion to “watch their back” or defend them?

We are all somewhat guilty of assuming that our most treasured friends know we cherish them. Yes, we all love our friends and would help them when necessary, but we shouldn’t always wait for an occasion to reciprocate, we can honor them now. My story below took me back to a moment when I had to stand up for a great friend who was being insulted by; you got it, another … friend!

Back in my high school days in England, I had a group of friends who were the life and soul of every party. They loved great music, slick cars, fine wining and dining and stayed on the cutting edge of the music world. We had many fabulous outings together and whenever I flash back to those years, memories of my dear friend, Ahmed, come front and center.

Ahmed was a very smart and sensitive soul. He was great at electronics, read widely, and was planning to be an engineering student in college. He drove an imported flashy car, but was the kindest and most humble person. He had exquisite taste and was quite astute at finding those hidden specialty boutiques in Knightsbridge, on Bond St and even on Kings Rd. Whenever he found a shop, he would tell me and we’d all go shopping for clothes, shoes and other trinkets. Way before  his shoes became popular in the USA, Ahmed knew of Manolo Blahnik, and took me shoe shopping; this was  years and years before the TV show – Sex in The City – made Manolos a household name in the US… By the way, back then, we called them Blahniks in England… always by the last name.

“Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.” Albert Schweitzer

Reflections: Defending Our Friendships... rekindle torn friendships...

I had another friend, Bea, who, for whatever reason, didn’t like Ahmed. Whenever she was around our group of friends, she would deliberately find a way to hurl an insult at him or make some smart ass and quite unnecessary remark. We would caution her and he would slough it off and say she needed to figure it out for herself. When I would ask her privately why she was hostile to Ahmed, she couldn’t give me a clear and straightforward answer. While Bea had a terrific sense of humor and could be tons of fun, having fits of anger was also part of her repertoire. She would react to the smallest thing and go ballistic … it got quite tedious after some time.

One fateful day, we gathered at my home for brunch and everyone agreed to bring something to the gathering. We had a lovely spread; scones, tea cakes, scrambled eggs, crumble, tarts, fruits and veggies and lots of beverage choices. We were having a good old time, when out of the blue, Bea decided to make a rude remark to Ahmed. I immediately cautioned her that, as a guest in my home, I expected her to refrain from her usual public display of rudeness towards Ahmed, as I wanted all my guests to have a good time. She did … but only for a short while…

However rare true love may be, it is less so than true friendship. François Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Reflections: Defending Our Friendships... Friends congregate and celebrate...

Before I knew it, Bea was at him again, only this time she crossed the line and made a stupid comment about his religious beliefs. Everyone was outraged and Ahmed was very upset… I was done, and this time I took charge of the situation and defended him! I told her off and invited her to leave my home and to stay away until she apologized to both Ahmed and the entire group. I have no patience for religious intolerance as, I believe, we must respect other people’s rights to practice their faith just as we want our own religious practices respected.  She stalked off, our friendship sorely fractured, and I didn’t hear from her again for several years.

She apologized and I forgave her, but sadly, we are no longer close friends. Ahmed and our group appreciated my taking a stand that day and we all agreed that as a fairly international group of people who traveled and connected with others, we did not need our valued friendships sullied by negativity and religious intolerance. I would do it again.

Our friendships are precious; some are forever, yet others are for a short time. We can’t be true to our friends if we operate from a place of resentment and petty hatreds. If we stand by and watch our friends being maligned, we are silently consenting to the abuse. We must speak up and speak out. What would you have done? When did you last stick up for a friend?

This post was inspired by a prompt from the WP Daily Post: How do you decide who to be friends with and Mamakat’s Writers Workshop: Write about a time you stuck up for a friend. Also, I adapted this from a similar post on my Positive Kismet blog.

Positive Motivation Tip: Value the true friends you have, they are a special gift from the universe…

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos, Friendships, Friends Dancing, via Wikipedia, Friendship Walk via Flickr

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet

46 Comments leave one →
  1. 24/08/2011 12:10 am

    Absolutely beautiful post & a true testament to your character Eliz. Your friends are lucky to have you as such. I too have zero patience for ignorance concerning religion… it can be a touchy subject for some but so long as you show respect to others & their beliefs you can ask for nothing more.

    • 24/08/2011 12:20 am

      TY Megan and I agree with you on that too… I have friends from all walks of life and I respect their beliefs and they mine… We need more unity in our world and it must begin with us. I have reconnected with Bea in recent years… forgiveness is key. 😉

  2. 24/08/2011 12:53 am

    I really enjoyed this blog and congratulate you on taking a stand. It must have been hard to defend one friend from another. Thanks for sharing your experience and making me think about my friendships.

    best wishes

    • 24/08/2011 4:33 am

      Thank you for stopping by Lorraine… It wasn’t easy but I had to do it and don’t regret it. Our friendships matter. TY! 🙂

  3. 24/08/2011 1:05 am

    very nice and inspiring!thanks for posting!

    • 24/08/2011 4:34 am

      TY for stopping by John,
      I enjoyed reading your blog post and left you a comment too. Hang in there! 🙂

  4. 24/08/2011 1:22 am

    I dislike rude people, too! What good is a friendship if people only put down one another? A friendship should be like any other good relationship–an avenue for growth. I feel guilty about not showing my friends how special they are to me lately. I might as well do it today. Thanks for this beautiful reminder, Elizabeth! God bless! 🙂

    • 24/08/2011 4:35 am

      TY Irene,
      We are all a tad guilty of it, so the reminder is for me too. I enjoy reading your blog posts too. Take care! 🙂

  5. 24/08/2011 5:34 am

    it’s not missing love
    but missing friendship

    which changes some marriages
    to nightmare …

    (remembering NIETZSCHE)

    • 24/08/2011 5:45 am

      As you like it… all marriages need friendship to thrive… all friendships need honesty to succeed. TY for your feedback Frizztext and always glad to see your comments. TY! 🙂

  6. 24/08/2011 6:03 am

    So glad to know you are a principled woman; though I never doubted it!

    • 24/08/2011 6:52 am

      From one principled woman to the other – Thank you! And the sentiments are mutual Tilly! 🙂

  7. 24/08/2011 7:00 am

    One take-away: Yes, we must defend our friends and not be afraid to tell them when they have crossed a line, esp. when they hurt another person. I’ve never understood adults who behave like adolesents.
    2nd take-away: You know how to to shop for both friends & shoes!

    • 24/08/2011 7:45 am

      Oh you are so funny! TY for the highlighting the takeaways… I enjoyed your observations. TY! 🙂

  8. 24/08/2011 7:10 am

    Well that is strange because I was reflecting and thinking on friendship, and had just published my Blog when I turned to yours and found you were thinking about the same subject

    • 24/08/2011 7:49 am

      I had the same reaction when I read your post too… and then I decided that great minds think alike. 😉
      Or something in that vein… 😆

  9. 24/08/2011 7:10 am

    Very wise article. Like you, I have no tolerance for religious intolerance either. Atheist I may be, but I accept and respect everyone’s right to practice whatever faith they choose.

    • 24/08/2011 7:50 am

      I hear you… It is terrible when friends sit around acting uncomfortable when another friend is being a brute. I say, speak up and put an end to the bullying… TY! 🙂

  10. 24/08/2011 7:45 am

    Very well written, ElizOF. Standing up to others to protect a friend, is truly a stand I will always put forth. I too do not believe in bashing others beliefs or stands they take, its a big world and we each have our own beliefs-its when we can share these beliefs and stand up for each other, that makes our friendships solid. A great post !

    • 24/08/2011 7:54 am

      TY Penny, and I agree with your comment completely. If can’t stand for something, we will fall for anything. 🙂

  11. 24/08/2011 8:48 am

    Thank you Elizabeth that was a really amazing story of friendship. Like you I will defend anyone’s religious beliefs even if I do not agree with them .We are all entitled to think for ourselves.
    That was a good thing you did for Ahmed and I am sure that he will never forget it. I know that if it had been me I would surely know that you are a true friend indeed.

    • 24/08/2011 1:32 pm

      TY Patrecia, He was very appreciative and we stayed friends for years longer until life swept us all away… some forever. but they are cherished memories… as I appreciate those days and the friendships I had. TY! 🙂

  12. 24/08/2011 10:52 am

    Eliz, love this. Friendship is something that needs to be cherished and loved, and to be thankful for. I also think that we should stand up for our friends. Standing up and speaking your mind when your friend can’t show how much you care, not just for them, but it shows the person that is attacking them that there people willing to back the person up.
    I also believe that if you have different religious beliefs that you should not be judging them on how they believe. I wouldn’t want to hammer religion down anyone’s head, especially if it was a friend of my friend. Friends are suppose to be close, not just by phone but by heart. Thank you for sharing.

    • 24/08/2011 1:29 pm

      TY Jenna and I feel the same way too… I love my friends for all of who they are and it is not my place to judge their preferences unless they are truly harmful… So, I was not letting the rudeness go. It’s sad when people hurt each other over stuff that is not to be disrespected. TY! 🙂

  13. 24/08/2011 11:11 am

    “we shouldn’t always wait for an occasion to reciprocate, we can honor them now” (!) and yet sometimes we remember only when it’s too late, or spend much time wondering what we can do that we forget a simple smile or a hug may be exactly the right thing.

    • 24/08/2011 1:26 pm

      Yes, I hear you… I spoke with one of my closest friends last night and we said the same thing… It’s good to show the appreciation pronto. Stuff happens. TY! 🙂

  14. 24/08/2011 11:16 am

    That’s a great thing you’ve done, standing up to a friend like that. So brave!

    • 24/08/2011 1:25 pm

      TY Lian and I would definitely do it again… I think our friends really deserve our support in both the good and bad times… I’m not a fair weather friend… I’m an all weather friend. LOL

  15. 24/08/2011 12:00 pm

    To have a friend you must be a friend. You truly did that.
    great post!

    • 24/08/2011 1:23 pm

      TY Barb and Happy SITS Day to you again! Love that VW trip idea. 🙂

  16. 24/08/2011 2:51 pm

    Loved it! Good for you.

    • 24/08/2011 8:45 pm

      TY Nancy! It was a much needed effort to correct a wrong… I am pleased with the feed-backs… 🙂

  17. 24/08/2011 4:20 pm

    Hi Eliz,
    Back from my Chicago trip last night and had dental implant surgery this morning. 🙂 Beautiful post about a topic that should be “taught” to every young child so that they properly cherish and appreciate their friends. Our friends are the golden threads woven into the coverlet of our lives…they help hold us together in times of despair and trouble.

    • 24/08/2011 8:46 pm

      TY Viv! Beautifully expressed and I agree with you… Our friendships are golden.
      Hope all went well. I’m having some dental work done this week too… Urgh!
      TY for your comment on this post… and welcome back! 🙂

  18. 24/08/2011 4:54 pm

    Sometimes, we have to stand up and speak out when we see an injustice, friend or no friend, and I would have done the same in your shoes. Your friend was way out of order, and you took hold of the situation.
    Standing up for our principles can be hard, but we cannot ignore our sense of justice.
    Glad you made up with Bea years later, but as you say, the friendship isn’t the same, too bad. I hope she understands why you defended your other friend.

    • 24/08/2011 8:47 pm

      I agree with you on that Barb. We can extend that support beyond our friends and speak out against wrong; especially when it is happening in front of us. TY! 🙂

  19. 24/08/2011 8:59 pm

    Good for you to stand up for your friend! I haven’t seen any of my closest friends in quite some time, but your post reminded me that I still need to tell them how important they are to me! Just because we are living far apart right now doesn’t mean they aren’t precious to me!!

    • 24/08/2011 10:35 pm

      TY Rosa! Life must be quite hectic in Santa Fe then… Hope you catch up with your buddies soon. They must miss you. TY! 🙂

  20. 25/08/2011 11:41 pm

    Wow, that must have made you hopping mad. What the heck was going on with her? Did she ever explain? But then again, maybe she didn’t understand.
    It’s hard to accept that someone who’s hanging out with an international group wouldn’t realize that it calls on each to be bigger than who they are, exposes and broadens them. Sad that she couldn’t embrace that. She lost a wonderful opportunity, hopefully, she’s evolved and learned. Hopefully.

    • 26/08/2011 1:11 am

      She was a bit of a firecracker and during our teen years, many of us were not diplomatic… She had some maturing to do and some zealotry to work through, but we all moved on eventually. Yes, she has definitely evolved… TY! 🙂

  21. 28/08/2011 6:07 pm

    Part of being a friend is acceptance. It is a shame that Bea didn’t understand that.

  22. 01/09/2011 5:05 pm

    People are all created “perfectly imperfect”. They will get on my nerves, they will disappoint me, they won’t always meet my expectations, they will break my heart. Sometimes “I’m sorry” will repair things, but other times it won’t. All people who are your friend even for just a time are gifts to your life. Cherish the memories and never forget the good.

    James –


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