A friend is someone we lean on, someone who is always there for us. Through our bad and good times. Someone we have a good time with and usually someone we have things in common with. Friendships are not always full of sunshine and rainbows sometimes there are disagreements, anger and misunderstandings which friends always find a way of getting through. However even through the rough patches there are some duties that friends owe each other, ones that can’t usually be compromised on just because the friends are going through a rough patch.
Have you ever considered the duties you and your friends owe to each other. I am not talking about just acquaintances or people we are friendly with. I am talking about the close friends that got us, they have our backs whenever and wherever. They could be very mad at us for one thing or another but will always be there when we need them. There are some duties that we and our close friends owe to each other.
We and our friends owe each other honesty and trust. We have a duty to be honest with our friends even with truths they seem to not be ready for, truths that may be unpleasant and truths we know they may not accept. Whether they accept it or not we should be honest with our friends. We should be honest with our friends and let them know when we believe they are making a mistake. This duty doesn’t mean that we are also responsible for their decisions. Sometimes the best we can do is let our friends know when we feel they are on the wrong or making are a mistake and letting them make their decisions. If it ends up being the wrong one or a mistake having their back through it all. We owe our friends trust. In a way that we would believe them if they told us they did or didn’t do something even if there is circumstantial evidence to the contrary. This is because things are not always as they seem. The trust we owe our friends is not only restricted to believing them but also to giving them the benefit of a doubt when people accuse them in our presence. Mostly of things we know they couldn’t be capable of.
We have a duty to support our friends. By support I don’t mean just in the bad times but the good times too and in their endeavours. As friends we have a duty to support each other, for example if a friend is starting up a business as friends we have a duty to support them. We have a duty to support them in their times of need and in their times of happiness too. While we may console or encourage them in our friends’ time of need that by itself is not enough. We have to listen to our friends too and advise them when they have troubles. However being with our friends in their tough or trying moments is not enough. We also have a duty to be with them in their good times, to share their joy and happiness with them too because they not only need us when they are down but also when they are ecstatic or happy.
We have a duty to be sensitive to our friends’ feelings. We shouldn’t intentionally hurt the feelings of our friends. Sometimes we do things without considering the feelings of our friends and yet we owe them a duty to be sensitive to their feelings. This is mostly though not limited to cases where we get involved with the exes to our friends which ends up hurting their feelings.
We owe our friends a duty not to betray their confidence. This basically means that we owe our friends a duty to keep their secrets among other things. Friends talk about a lot of things and unlike some cases where one will let you know that they are telling you a secret, good friends don’t need to do that since they both have each other’s best interests at heart. But even if a friend does not tell another not to tell anyone what they told them they usually expect them not to. This is because friends often confide in each other about lots of things including their fears, hopes and dreams, things they expect to stay between or among them.
We have a duty to accept our friends as they are. It is not right for us to try and change our friends to fit certain images we believe our friends should be up to. In some cases we feel that some of our friends embarrass us when we are among some other friends or colleagues and we end up trying to change them or their image. This is so they can stop embarrassing us. But as friends we have a duty to accept our friends as they are because it isn’t what’s outside that matters but what is inside.
However though we owe duties to our friends, these duties are not absolute. That is to say they are not set in stone. While there are duties we owe to our friends. There are also duties we owe to ourselves and there comes a time when fulfilling a duty to our friends may cause us harm. In such cases we must think of ourselves too in the sense of “me before you”. For example though we may owe our friends a duty to support them, sometimes this support may come at a high price to us and it is not fair that we betray ourselves in a bid to be good friends to someone else. These duties are also not absolute mostly in circumstances where they are not returned. It is not fair to us to owe and carry out duties or refer to people as friends when they feel they don’t owe us any duties and in fact take us for granted. One should know that someone calling you their good friend and in these times posting you on their socials and praising you is not enough, One should actually be a good friend through their actions not their words. So we should be careful and not betray our own selves for people that are there to use us citing that we owe them duties and all. These duties are and should be mutual. You are a friend not a paid servant.