1. Limelight friend. You are the cheerleader of your friend’s success. You feel your friend’s happiness as if it is yours, sometimes even more! You celebrate her. You are there with her every step of the way to stardom. So happy for her that in the end it is: so happy for us! You even think that you and she are just the same, the same tastes, same sense of humor, same values, same everything, dreams included. You and she share it all! It is a happy and tight bond.
2. Dark side of the moon friend. Your friend is in the dark. In a dark, dark, dark black whole. You are there with her. You feel the black whole, you suffer her anger, depression, frustration, as deeply as she does. All her misery is yours too, you are so pleased to be able to share in her darkness, it becomes: our darkness! You and she share it all! The more her situation goes south, the closer you are to her. It is a miserable and tight bond.
3. The up and down and the in-betweens friend. Your friend lives life as most of us do, with good days and periods of greatness and bad days and periods of frank ugliness. You are there with and for her, surfing the waves of life. You offer love and support but you do not make her life yours. You find ways to help her in the ups and downs of life, with a certain spaciousness that allows you to see her pain and her glory, and be with her and for her, without getting into her drama. A friend that really contributes to the friendship by being present and fully aware of the situation and how your friend feels. You offer her a helpful friendship based on clarity. It is a wise and tight bond.
I don’t know what kind of a friend I am. But if I have to choose one of these three to be my friend, I choose the one that does not see me as her mirror. That does not need to see me as an extension of herself, or as a validation of her best and worse moments and inclinations.
A friendship that feeds of mine or of her drama, be it in greatness or in darkness is devoid of meaningful content. It does not help either of us and it is just and overload to the nervous system and the mind.
Best test of friendship is to see what happens when the original bond weakens and changes. If the change guides us into new avenues of growth, it is a great opportunity for re-building the relationship in more “real” and valid terms. If, on the other hand, the relationship feels threatened by the change and is fearful of what change would mean, it is a relationship that is not contributing to our mutual growth and wholeness. Sometimes we outgrow our relationships, and if we accept the fact with compassion and understanding, we can let go of them with integrity and love.