by Harry Petsanis and Donna McCance
A friend is defined as someone we know with whom we have a bond of mutual interests and affection.
People do things based on what benefits them, and when they meet someone who also likes to do the same things that benefit them, they develop a connection with each other and call each other “friends.”
The problem arises when people define this connection as a “friend.” People have gotten to the point where they view any type of a connection with someone as a friendship.
People are constantly changing. Their moods, desires, wishes, and needs change by the second. This continuously affects our relationships with people, because as we change, so does the connection. When you no longer have a bond of mutual interests, the connection ends.
Many times, when people break away from us because there is no longer a beneficial connection, we feel betrayed. Logically, if there is no longer a connection, there is no point in trying to maintain something that no longer exists. People take it personally and emotionally because their focus is on having a “friend,” and not on the logic of the dysfunction of staying connected for no reason.
If every person in the world who was in what they called a friendship realized there was a potential for endship, they wouldn’t be so devastated when it ended.
The definition of friendship even states “someone you know.” We define people as friends who we only know from surface interactions with them. We also define people as “close friends” because we spend more time with them connecting, but do we really ever truly know them?
We meet many different people in our walks of life. Colleagues, peers, coworkers, neighbors, etc. Defining everyone we meet as “friends,” has degraded the term friend from what it was not originally designed for. And in reality, do we really know anyone to the level we think we do to call them friends? Do we really know ourselves to the level we think we do?
We rarely know anyone to the level that we think we do, but that doesn’t even come close to not knowing ourselves to the level that we think we do.
When people become fixated on the word “friend,” as a loyal partner who will support and defend your every move no matter how wrong it may be, that’s not friendship, that’s “blindship.”
People act shocked when things end, yet if people would understand that because people and things are always changing, most things in life have shelf life. If you do find yourself with a connection that is strong and long-standing, then it is a pleasant surprise when it continues.
The term friendship is thrown around so frequently, it has diluted the meaning. Friendship is rare and unbelievably special and should not be minimized as if it's something common because it’s not.
Stop defining every connection we make with people as a friendship. And remember, as the definition states, it is bond between people that have mutual interests, which can change at any moment. Once the interests change, so does the bond.
People may argue that friendship takes connection to a deeper, emotional level. Just remember, that emotional connections can just as easily be broken because people change their minds and/or grow in different directions.
Relationships, friendship, and love are all based on connections, formed on a mutual bond or benefit, and that bond can change like a leaf in the wind at any second. Priorities, interests, and attractions change daily, and we take it personally when things change, when we shouldn’t.
Understand that at any given moment, people are going to do what is in their best interests no matter how long you’ve known them or how close you think you are to them. It’s called human nature, and when you expect it, you see it for what it is, and you are not shocked, you are prepared.
The reason we are disappointed when friendships end is because we view them as friendships. They’re not friendships, they’re relationships built on mutual connections. When the connection ends, so does the relationship. When so called “friendships” end, you will no longer be disappointed when you start viewing them as connections and quit looking at them as friendships.
You may change your mind, and you have every right to break a connection when you are no longer benefitting from it, just as everyone else has a right to change their minds. You have no right to demand that other people stay connected to you.
Enjoy the connections you make with others and be prepared to let go when the benefits no longer exist. And because you let go of that connection, it doesn’t mean you didn’t value the benefits of it before it ended. It means it’s time to change, grow, and move on with the possibility of reconnecting at another time.
And remember the true meaning of what "friend" truly means. A friend is someone who challenges you, demands the very best from you, refuses to accept your excuses, and has your back at all times. Understand the difference between a connection and a friendship and do everything in your power not to confuse the two.
About the Authors
Harry Petsanis is a philosopher of human nature, mindset specialist, and lifelong fitness and wellness advisor. He is a writer and author, with three published books: “The Truth is A Lie,” “The Logical Path To Life,” and "Knowing Me from A to Z, A Child's Mindset," which he co-authored with Donna McCance, M.Ed.. Harry has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He has an intense passion for psychology and the human condition.
Donna McCance, M.Ed. is a business administrator, writer, author, licensed teacher and principal/vice principal with over 20 years experience teaching in elementary education and educational leadership. She has a Masters in Education, Masters in Human Services Management, Bachelors in Business Administration and Associates in Business Administration.
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The Truth is A Lie" and "The Logical Path To Life"
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"Knowing Me From A to Z, A Child's Mindset"
To learn about Harry Petsanis, go to his website