Despite my shame, it is no secret that I watch all of the reality show madness from the Real Housewives franchise (except New Jersey) to Basketball Wives: LA. During my self reflection on why I am drawn to these shows, I discovered that my attraction to all of these shows is their universal core premise/question – What makes a good friend?
In fact, the title of one of the recent episodes of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills was explicitly, “Are You My Friend?” At first glance, this question seems sophomoric and juvenile. However, if you really think about it haven’t we all be involved in some drama regarding friendships. I know I certainly have.
I credit my three best friends for teaching me how to be a good friend. They stand in a league of friendship all by themselves. We have never argued, disrespected each other, competed, become jealous, etc in the 38-24 years that I have known Andrea, Antonious and Danielle.
Don’t get me wrong, I have maintained drama free relationships with the great majority of my friends for countless years besides those three, but I also have a handful of friends where I have encountered drama suitable for the Bravo reunion couch. It had me wondering what it is about the core of friendship (or lack thereof) that makes a great foundation for television drama.
One thing that I can say that is consistent with my besties – is loyalty. I can honestly say I have never been disloyal to any of those three and they have not been to me. And, since I am being honest I can’t say that for every friend I have. There have been times that I have talked about my friends behind their back (wrong), times that I have judged them, and times that I have done some downright unfriendly things.
The good thing for me and how I have maintained my friendships in spite of my human shortcomings is that I don’t have a problem admitting when I am wrong (once I believe I am wrong). I also don’t have a problem delivering a sincere apology coupled with a change in action and attitude (empty apologies do nothing for anyone). More importantly, I have embrace the power of forgiveness when I am wronged and when I have done wrong (forgive yourself).
No one is perfect and no one is a perfect friend. The key though is to realizing this on both sides. One of my core principles about friendship is that you must meet your friends (and all people) where they are and not where you want them to be.
I find that far too many people want to be forgiven, but are not willing to forgive. Case in point is NeNe Leakes on RHOA. She is the main one championing loyalty and being a good friend, but will then turnaround to do the exact opposite.
It’s not just NeNe though. It is all of the people on these shows who ultimately turn out to be hypocritical when it comes to friendship. I could list the “characters” and the shows, but we all know they are the same at the core. No matter if they are in Beverly Hills or Brooklyn the settings may be different, but it’s the same story.
I think our collective fascination goes beyond the aspirational aspects of these shows (the money, the cars and lifestyle) and strikes a core human experience – friendship. We can’t choose our family, but we do choose our friends. Because of it so many of us have closer relationships with our friends than our families making it a solid recipe for drama.
Now, that I have thoroughly analyzed my previously inexplicable attraction to these shows hopefully this is either a step toward recovery or acceptance. Either way, I will be far less critical of these characters after realizing the primary difference between their friend drama and mine is that mine isn’t televised.
What do you think? What makes a good friend? SOUND OFF!