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How Many Fake-Book Friends Do You Have?

This evening I asked a woman that I met briefly at a mutual friend's birthday party to stop smoking because I cared about her health.

It was an awkward moment.

There were four of us on a stoop in Brooklyn; a non-smoker who went down with her 5 minutes prior and then a former-smoker who knew her a lot better than me that I just met as well. The former smoker and I were talking about true friendship, not Fake-Book friends, when we made the decision to go downstairs and redefine friendship by being blatantly and lovingly honest with the smoker.

I wonder how many smokers (drinkers, cheaters, amblers, liars, etc) wished someone would walk up to them and say "I want you to stop because I love you". How many lives could have been saved if one real friend just spoke their mind and stood up for and to their friend in pain?

As "friends", we have to stop lying to each other. It's funny and almost two-faced how we can comfort our friends with positive energy when they do something that brings them closer to their dreams (ie graduate, win an award, get married) but how we refrain from making them uncomfortable when they do something we know isn't in their best interest.

Aren't there healthy ways to hold our friends accountable to their highest self and be honest without negative energy flowing? If we can't be honest with our friends, then who can we be honest with?

I recognize that I have room for growth too. I told the smoker that "My intention is not to judge" but that as we develop an authentic friendship, my honesty and love frees her to be honest with me about things that I'm doing that are unhealthy to myself and our community. You'll be amazed at how much (typically defensive) feedback you get if you have the courage to give it out first.

Oftentimes, we do external things like smoke to try to heal or cover up some internal aspect of our life that needs healing. We all need healing in different ways and true friends should be there to look beyond the smoke and support each other in the weed-plucking process. True friends are committed to digging up the roots and confronting their friend about the source and not just the symptoms.

At the very least, I know that the smoker left thinking about these questions:
  • What is friendship and who are my true friends?
  • Why did a complete stranger who has nothing to gain from me not smoking challenge me not to?
  • Who the hell does he think he is?
  • Why do I smoke...really?
Ask yourself...
  • What is friendship to me?
  • Who cares enough about me to fight for me when I'm fighting against myself?
  • Who do I care about enough to tell the truth when their actions and goals aren't aligned?
  • What unhealthy habits have become part of my life? What is the root of problem?
At the end of the day, this wasn't about smoking; it was about friendship. I'm not sure who's the real smoker; me for standing up for her or her for smoking. You tell me. In this era of Fake-Book friendships, I just pray that we celebrate and create more meaningful friendships.

Read my Prayer for Friendship here.

2 comments

  1. True friendship is key--all of us need to learn to be the best true friends we can be. So many times, when I give a suicide awareness presentation--I realize that I am talking to the friends as much as I am to the people going through hard times. Friends need to be the people who will ask the hard questions.

     
  2. KK Says:
  3. Hmmm...I agree that friends should keep it real; people should keep it real with each other...however...I'm also a firm believer in loving people where they are and trusting that they will grow. Often, telling people about themselves, even in a kind way can come off as condescending. It all boils down to delivery and timing...

     

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My purpose is to help as many people as possible reach their full potential by helping them making a living doing what they love and in the process of doing so achieve my own. I want to do this through writing, speaking, and creating offline and online spaces that facilitate conversations around purpose.

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