The Realist Friend

Realist:

noun

1. a person who tends to view or represent things as they really are.

Friendship is a weird thing; we find souls that fit well with our own and just decide that we “like” this one enough to keep them around. Or they’re nothing like us at all and we still somehow manage to click enough to share our time, energy, and resources with them. However we may come together, it works – we work together. Establishing social circles are important, and the multitude of types of friends to pick from are seemingly endless. Work pals, the childhood friend turned unofficial sibling, the partier, the one who is terrible at texting back, the go-getter, the twenty-something grandma, the same soul dwelling in another body; the list could seriously go on forever. And that’s the beauty of that diversity, that we find so many different individuals to invite into our lives and share it with. Friendship is a beautiful gift that comes in many forms, and can and will change your life if you let it.
However, I’ve recently encountered a pretty common misconception in the vast depths of the Internet: that you are not a “genuine” friend if you don’t support or agree with an individual in any and everything they do. And I’m sorry, but I find that to be ridiculous. I wholeheartedly believe in supporting my friends to achieve, encouraging them to reach their goals, and to accomplish whatever it is that makes them happy. But that doesn’t mean I have to agree with everything they do in between, nor do I have to because it’s ultimately their call(s) to make. To say that you must blindly agree with and condone everything someone does simply to identify yourself as a “friend” is the polar opposite of the meaning of that word in my mind. And this has gotten me called “blunt”, “too straightforward”, and “pessimistic” as a result. But as I’ve gotten older, experienced more, and found more individuals that share that mentality, I’ve come to discover that the most accurate word to describe it would be “realistic”. What good is only being told what you want to hear? How enjoyable is blindly being fed an alleviating lie than the uncomfortable truth if that’s what’ll set you free?

Appreciate the friend who tells you:

  1. When your eyebrows don’t match.
  2. When you very obviously need to see your way out of that dead end relationship.
  3. When the haircut or style you were so excited about doesn’t come out as planned (and then help you look for ways to fix it).
  4. When you’re on a destructive path that they’re heartbroken to watch you go down.
  5. What you need to hear, no matter how awkward or painful – especially when no one else will.

Friends laugh, love, grow, and cry with their loved ones. They enjoy picking people up when they’re down, reminding others of how important they are when they feel small, and helping rebuild their strength when they feel like they’re crumbling beneath the weight of the world. The good ones love and protect their confidants fiercely, but that doesn’t always come in the form of sunshine and rainbows – the realists are those that take the tough stuff head on for the overall good of those they care about. It’s a valuable characteristic to have that’s been unfairly misconstrued and needs to be corrected. Someone who truly has your best interests at heart will celebrate in the good times, keep you up through the bad, and be the rational train of thought you may not always want to face – but always out of a loving place, even when it doesn’t seem like it. And those, in my book, are the ones to keep around. Loyal realists: may we find them, may we hold onto them, and may we be them.

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