The Better Friend

There are always differences between people, and no one is easily quantified. We all have different talents, skill sets, experiences, and knowledge. Many of us are fairly matched when it comes to our friends. The relationship is mutually beneficial as each has valuable contributions to offer. Many times, however, there is a wider gap in abilities or sensibilities between the two parties involved. Essentially, one person simply has more to offer, while the other person has more to gain. 

For the person who has more to gain, the relationship is extremely rewarding. In this role we get someone we admire and respect as a friend, and we get to learn or grow just by being friends with them. They often help us out with challenges that we must meet. They are an example of what we strive for or look forward to in our dreams. We often try to find ways to help them in return, even if it’s obvious that we’re not in a position to do so effectively.

For the person who has more to offer out of the two, the relationship may still benefit us. We like feeling magnanimous and benevolent, being respected or even revered. Receiving gratitude and respect is wonderfully fulfilling. Whether we are older, smarter, wiser or more skilled, it can feel good to be the better friend. 

Honestly most folks would rather have a friend with more to offer than themself. The benefits can be more tangible, and the experience more enjoyable, than the other way around. We may understand the benefits of being the better friend, but filling that role takes more work and offers less reward in the end. As much as we might know it’s best, we always hope that someone else will be the better friend. 

So many folks decide that being the better friend is not worth it for them, eschewing those relationships entirely. They dislike anyone who doesn’t have enough to offer them. This friendship qualification is quite difficult to meet. However, this isn’t just about setting a high standard in our relationships. There comes a point at which some people miss the impression this requirement can give. 

If each of us is the lucky benefactor of the gifts of superior friends, it begs the question who is left to be that better friend? All of us are at different developmental stages, and there is always someone out there who is better or worse. If we each refuse to engage anyone who is not significantly better than us, we’re missing out on more than we know. Those people may still have a wide variety to offer us, but if not, we must then ask ourselves: what kind of friend feels the need to be the only one to benefit from the friendship? 

Being the better friend means we give of ourselves a little more. But recognizing our chance to be that friend for someone else is the perfect way to repay the kindness of those who helped us out when they had nothing to gain.

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