There are a million and one quotes about the act of being a friend – here are just a few of them: “True friends stab you in the front” – Oscar Wilde; “The antidote for 50 enemies is one friend – Aristotle; ” The most I can be for a friend is simply be his friend” – Henry David Thoreau; “The friend is a man who knows all about you and still likes you” – Elbert Hubbard or “A loyal friend laughs at your jokes when they’re not so good, and sympathizes with your problems when they’re not so bad” – Arnold H. Glasgow.
From early on in life the need for friendship is an innate instinct. You observe the youngest of children and you notice quickly their desire to befriend others; they even define others as their best friend. Life is a hefty challenge and without friends the task would be even more momentous.
There are certainly many levels to friendship but a true friend is one who is there in good times and in bad. Unfortunately, many people discover who your real friends are at their darkest of moments. Friendship is an act of empathy and action, even when it is not the most accommodating for you. The greatest of actions any friend can perform is one that is sincere, heartfelt and earnest. Friendship is giving of oneself while expecting nothing in return and not needing to send a press release to announce the gesture or deed.
Friends can be family members and spouses who certainly know you the best – warts and all. Friends are those individuals who have grown up with you and haven’t grown away. Friends are individuals who see you for what you are and what you can be.
When you are In Transition and looking for your next career stop it is vital for individuals to keep in touch with friends. Friends are more than just business associates or contacts -these are people who actually show interest and care about your livelihood. Friends are those unique individuals who inquire about you and your family and actually wait for the answer.
In today’s Facebook world where a friend is defined as a list of contacts with a social networking task we forget what the true meaning of friendship is all about. Friend is defined as a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard. A friend is more than just one who is an occasional telephone call or e-mail – a friend is one who provides advice when you don’t ask for it, will go out of his way to be there in time of need and thinks more of others than himself.
During a job search a friend is needed the most. Job seekers have good and bad days and friends need to be there for both. Consider some of these ideas to assist those individuals during their transition:
* Make it a point to call periodically. I know it can be uncomfortable to ask how things are going but a true friend is there when others aren’t.
* Send an e-mail or text. It is easy and shows interest. If you don’t know what to say – talk about your family and your day. We don’t always want or need to address our own feelings – especially when nothing positive has taken place since we last communicated.
* How about sharing a good bottle of wine (or two). My favorite line is that I am now in stage 3 – denial, anger and now red wine!
* Encourage your friend to participate in a business related activity – conference, webinar or meeting. It is vital to keep abreast of what is going on in the community and let’s face it – it is important just to get out and be seen.
* If you are geographically close why not schedule a lunch or dinner on an on-going basis. It doesn’t have to be expensive, matter of fact pick a place that is cost-conscious so the job seeker won’t feel obligated not to go dutch.
* Even if you are busy, because we know that friends do have a life beyond the job-seeker’s – be there. Even if you have heard the same story 5 times – be there. Finally, be there for encouragement and criticism – you may be the only one that can say what needs to be said.
What is so unfortunate is that you do find out who your true friends are during your hour of need. Some friends are in name only and those individuals will always pass you by but a true friend are those individuals who are truly concerned about your well-being. Arnold Glassgow put it so aptly: “A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.”