How many of you have 4-5 friends who will drop EVERYTHING they are doing, no matter what, and come to your aide if you need them?
I’m going to venture to say that not many of us have that. Not many of us can just pick up the phone and call someone while they are in the middle of a meeting, a nap, a drive, sex, dishes, family time, work, their own grief, etc.
I know that I have 3 people who would do that for me and one of those people is my wife. Yes, she counts because she is not just my wife, but my best friend, ally, and the person I can be in a room with for hours and neither of us say a word.
But am I that person for her? For the other 2?
So why does Hollywood create these shows which portray friends dropping “everything” for one another? Call me a skeptic, but I feel this is unreal and a misinterpretation of what friendship really is or should be.
I’m not an expert on friendship as I have very few. My personality draws people in but my heart keeps people out. This is due to trauma, neglect, and me just being an asshole. Oh yes, and I’m an empath so if I connect to too many people, I’ll feel everything they are feeling at all times and that is not the healthiest way to live.
According to the World Wide Web: “Friendship means being comfortable around each other in silence. Friendship means being able to tell each other anything and understanding without questions. Friendship means being honest with each other no matter what the cost. Friendship means staying up all night and talking about nothing.”
This definition includes nothing about dropping EVERYTHING for the other person. So what is Hollywood trying to do here?
Keep in mind that sometimes family become friends and friends become family.
Let’s look at This Is Us: This show has it’s positives and negatives and I personally believe it portrays adoption in a light that is more realistic than for instance, Instant Family. The family has its struggles but is still family, including the extended. Their love and bond is strong and they indeed often drop everything to meet the needs of one another. But that is family…isn’t that what family is supposed to do?
Mine does not. For various reasons.
But when my father died last year, those of us who could, got on a plane and went to be together as a family. For the few days we were together, the only thing that mattered was making sure my father was comfortable as he was ushered into a realm that was unlike this one.
He was put through a lot of emotional suffering by members of our own family. I believe he was deeply loved but that love was not enough.
That was the first year we as a family dropped everything to be together. It sucks that it took death for us to see the life we were missing in each other.
As an adoptee, finding and keeping friends was also difficult because every school I was enrolled in only lasted about 6 months; so I stayed away, kept to myself, disconnected before they could disconnect from me.
Let’s now look at A Million Little Things: This show is great in so many ways. From the onset we see a group of friends struggling and no one has really shared their struggle with each other until tragedy strikes. The tragedy begins to unravel the truth about friendship and how, though from a distance, everything looked great, on the inside not much stepping up happened.
But if you continue further with this show (which I hope you do as it is a great show) you will see how close the group of friends get…literally supporting each other in EVERYTHING each family and individual does.
How about we shift to The L Word, the old one: This is one of the first shows that saw me for who I was. It helped me see myself as a beautiful person and that I deserved to be loved just like anyone else. The L Word was monumental when it first aired in 2004 and ended after the 6th season. Regardless of how mad anyone was, they still made it to a party, graduation, funeral, ice cream time, dinner, presentation, baby time, etc. They always found a way to set aside their differences for a few moments to live in the moment.
Let’s talk briefly about Friends; a very white show with the majority of white people doing very white things. I’ve watched it, it has it’s funny moments but what I focus on the most are the entanglements that seem to be resolved at the end of every episode. The thing that sticks out to me is how once again, whenever someone is having an issue, others drop everything they are doing to be at their side.
Is this a level of privilege? In real life, how many people can really afford to leave work to attend to a friend’s need? People of color can barely take the time out to vote, let alone drop it all to sit by their close friend because he or she is having relationship issues. Can it wait?
There are so many types of privileges though. And white people are not the only ones who are born with a kind of privilege. So let’s not make this a conversation about privilege but more-so a conversation that goes a bit deeper.
Maybe the real question is “what is a friend?” Once we have defined friendship, we need to think about who we consider friends and why? Once we have decided who we consider to be friends based on the definition or the idea we cohesively created, we need to ask ourselves whether that particular connection created is worthy of the Hollywood idea of friendship.
There is nothing easy about this task but I am going to give you a call to action. I really would like to hear from you regarding friendships/family relationships. Are they similar to how Hollywood portrays relationships? If not, then why are we fascinated with shows that display friendship in a manner that may or may not be realistic.
If your friendship is in fact the way Hollywood draws us in, does your loyalty lie with keeping the image up for yourself?
Your friends? Or, is it time to ask ourselves where our loyalty really lies and is it creating unrealistic expectations for ourselves and those we call friends.
Is it necessary for people to drop everything they are doing to attend to a friend’s needs?
Do you expect anyone to do this for you?
Can it wait?
Or is it Just Like That show?