"Let's hear some opinions- Do you think a friend is someone who lets you be your self or is a friend someone who helps you become better than yourself?"
I wanted to put an answer, but the only thing I could think of was, "Who the hell are YOU (or ME) to decide what makes someone better?" That didn't seem like an answer that would create the feeling I wanted.
I have literally spent the last two days obsessing and mulling over the question, as well as other people's answers. I've had discussions online, on the phone, and over dinner all about this same thing. I laid awake last night unable to sleep, because I couldn't turn my brain off.
Round about five o'clock this morning, this is what I came up with:
"The friend who accepts me and loves me for who I am is the truest friend. It feels amazing when someone sees ME, knows ME, and loves me. That kind of friendship feels hopeful, healing, and inspiring. That kind of friendship inspires me to be the best me. They don't love me, SO that I will change anything. There is no expectation to change... And ironically, that provides the best environment to change and grow and learn, and become better.
When a friendship is based on, "I love you and I hope you'll change," that feels confusing, lonely, sad, "dried up", and withered away... The opposite of inspired. It eats away at me. Until I have no desire to be around that person, because it is painful and empty.
I also used to get confused and think that I should accept everyone just as they are, which meant accepting things that really hurt me. (Like a friendship I described above.) Now, I can say, "That hurts me, so I won't be around you when you're doing that." That isn't about changing them to be better, its about creating an environment I like being in. I can't know what is "better" for someone else. Only they can know that. And only I know what is "better" for me.
I really like the saying, "Accept me as I am or watch me as I walk away." And I feel like that goes both ways, "I will accept you as you are, or I will let you walk away." That feels like love (true friendship) to me."
I posted it to her status. I feel terrified. At first, I wasn't going to... I didn't find this answer for her, it was for me. But, she did ask for opinions, and just because my opinion was pretty much the opposite of everyone else that posted doesn't make my opinion wrong...
It might open me up to nasty messages. It IS her wall, so she can hate it, delete it, tell me not to post there, and I think that's fair. I'm still scared. Speaking my truth is new for me, and scary. I'm not used to voicing my opinions when they are different from others... yet.