Summary: Principles for true friendships

Friends. Who needs them?


Randy Croft

It’s one of the most popular TV programs on right now...has been for years. NBC--Thursday nights. Hey, you have to laundry at a laundromat, go on Thursday nights, because the place will be empty. 25 million households will be tuned into Seinfield, Suddenly Susan and Friends.

Friends is a show that started in 1994, for the one or two of you here tonight who may not know this, and it’s about 3 guys and 3 girls who hang out together in Greenwich Village, New York. I talked with someone this week who said he’s watched about every episode. He gets nothing done on Thursday nights. He rattled it off--Rachel used to work at Central Perk, but now works for a fashion designer, Monica is an unemployed chef recently employed, Phoebe is a massage therapist, Joey--the unemployed actor, Chandler works with computers--married to Monica, and Ross is a geologist-historian type trying to be a responsible dad to Rachel. Then he started describing the latest show.

Why is there so much interest in the show? I don’t know. Some say it’s the hair styles. Some say it’s the funny scriptwriting. Some say it’s only because it’s next to Seinfeld. I don’t know, but I think it might have to do with the fact that people like to watch how others struggle through relationships--even if those relationships are just tv plots. Maybe people like to know that good friends fight and argue, and break-up like Ross and Rachel just did. --because that’s what just happened to them. Maybe people like to dream of a being accepted just as they are--like on tv, because in the real world acceptance is tied to performance.

People are dying for friends. Of being accepted.

ILLUS: Read Do or Die about Crips and Bloods in South Central Los Angeles. It told the story of how the gangs got started and why so many are into gangbanging today. One section of the book detailed an interview with a 14 year old Crip. Name Sidewinder. He was in the largest of the LA Crips. He was at a juvinile center for a drive by shooting. He said he got into gangs at age 8. During the drive by shooting, he got shot in the leg twice. "When that happen, I didn’t want to be ’banging no more...Making promises to God, all like that. But when it heal up," he shrugs it off, "You gonna feel the same, once you get back on the outs. I tell you somethin’--I don’t feel connected to any other kids in the city or in this country or in this world. I only feel comfortable in my ’hood. That’s the only thing I’m committed to, that’s my family. One big family--that’s about it."

Most people today want to find friends who will accept them the way they are.

Betty, a librarian said "A friend is someone who knows all about me and still likes me."

We want friends who will be loyal to us--who’ll keep their promises. Who’ll stand with us when no one else will. Video clip--A friend is someone I can be myself around and not worry what they think about me.

Someone who believes in us.

Mark, a guy who rarely exagerrates: "A friend is someone I could call at four in the morning and say "I need you to help me bury a body," and he’d come out with a shovel, no questions asked."

We want friends who will risk their lives for us.

Gerald said "A friend is someone who would hide me from the Nazis." His parents were survivors of the Holocaust. Another person said, "If I had to betray my friends or betray my country, I hope I’d have enough guts to betray my country."

How important are friendships in your life? What is the key to lasting friendships?

I think I’m safe in saying that we all give lip service to the fact that "Yeah I should make friendships a priority." But when it comes to making changes in our life to make it a reality--we give up. Too much time. Too much trouble. Too much risk.

In America, according to polls--70% of us said that we have few close friends and this causes us to feel a serious void in our lives. But the rat race that so many of us are living day in and day out causes us to just give up and live with frustration and emptiness.

Carol is a novelist. She says that "Friendship is an occupation. I can be a good friend or I can be a writer. I can’t do both." She’s chosen to be a writer.

Meg Newhouse is the director of an art gallery. She said, "Four of us wanted to get together. All we did was call each other back and forth to set up something for 3 weeks from now."

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