Foul Weather Friends 7

Beware of fair-weather friends is how I’ve heard the saying for most of my life, but I’ve noticed a variation on this axiom.  One might also now say, beware of foul weather friends.  These are people who are anxious to hear your bad  news, who fan  your despair, who do not celebrate good times or offer kudos for any job well done.  They will rally around illness rather than work for health.  They will lend a sympathetic ear and be on hand with tissues if you and your partner or friend or sister or other close person is arguing.  They will disappear if you resolve the misunderstanding or if the relationship rights itself.  They are visibly and audibly disappointed when things work out. They jump to action if it looks like something negative is going down.

I remember one man who was ready to rally a protest when he heard a rumor that one of the sponsoring institutions of the Roxbury Film Festival (that I founded and used to direct) was not going to support us.  When I told him the rumor wasn’t true, he was visibly deflated.  He couldn’t muster the energy to support the festival (then or ever; he only wanted to protest if someone else wasn’t going to support it.

I have had friends who I did not share good news with because good news, made them feel bad!  These are people who feel that if light is shining for someone else, it means that there’s no light for them.  I don’t understand this – I am so glad when I hear other people’s good news because it means there’s more good in the universe.  I feel so strongly that the universe needs as much good news, positive deeds, and joy as it can get.  And we all need to know about it.

So pay attention to people who surround you.  Do they only show up for pity parties and tussles?  Do they encourage dissent and underscore complaints? Can they share in celebrations, good news, or happy times?  Do they change a positive conversation into a downer?  They are foul weather friends and you don’t need them.  You don’t need fair weather friends either.  You need friends who will be there in good times and bad and in the multiple mundane moments of life.  (Believe you me, sometimes the mundane moments are to be savored.)

Make sure that you are a good friend yourself, both to yourself and to others.

Amen.  I can sound preachy can’t I?  I apologize because I’m not ordained.

About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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