Something happened. The exact event is commonplace and quite irrelevant. But it has led me to question all my beliefs when it comes to friends and what friendships imply.
I've never put too much stock in 'romantic' relationships - i understand that even if two people adore each other to bits, there are circumstances in which they cannot live with each other. That doesn't reflect badly on the sincerity of the feelings thereof, just that sometimes, shit happens.
But with friendships, the rules are different. More often than not, they're platonic to start with. Immediately, things like sexual tension and jealousy are done away with. And what's brought into sharp focus are the really important things like value systems, integrity and character - archaic words in the world we live in, i know... but i'm old-fashioned.
And in light of recent developments, i've come up with my own definition and list of friendship rules and why they're important.
A friend: Someone you know and like because he/she does the right thing by you and others without compromising his/her own values. Thus, someone whose value-system matches yours to a large extent.
1) Don't fraternize with your friend's ex without permission from the friend. If you do, it means you're ok with people hurting your friend. If the ex is the hurt party, and you want to be nice to him/her, without your friend being ok with it, then it means you're making a choice between your need to do the right thing, and your friend's need not to. If he/she isn't keen about doing the right thing, value systems are obviously out of whack.
2) Keep your friend's secrets. Unless ofcourse the friend's secret is hurting him/her - like drug usage, abuse, etc. Chances are, your friend knows that he/she is in trouble, but is terrified of the solution. Your job is to give them support, and perhaps a backbone. Not to spill the beans. They're not your beans to spill.
3) Accept your friend - quirks and all. Mostly because it takes all kinds to make the world, and if you try to change him/her to better fit your idea of what a friend should be, then you're not being much of a friend anyway. And hence, not worth the trouble of changing for.
4) Make time for your friends. Even if it is in the middle of the night. They wouldn't be calling if it wasn't important... to them atleast.
5) Don't take advantage of your friends. Know that some of their most vulnerable parts are known to you, which is a privilege. Don't use them for professional advancement (unless you have their permission), don't use them for personal grand-standing.
I'm sure there are several loopholes to the above few, and several additions that can be made. But what it essentially boils down to is respect and trust, the two cornerstones of any relationship. A friend asked me recently why it was that i couldn't keep a romantic relationship going - what is it that i was doing wrong. And i have to start wondering, am i expecting too much?