Friend: (n.) A person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard
Friendship should be honored. Your friends should be treated with both respect and affection. Loyalty should never be in question, and concern should always be present.
"In prosperity our friends know us; in adversity we know our friends."--John Churton Collins
"Misfortune shows those who are not really friends."--Aristotle
Unfortunately, I recently experienced some major misfortune and as Aristotle and John Churton Collins so astutely point out such hardship shined a light upon my true friends and showed me the true darkness of a fair-weather friend. I will say more on this in a moment.
"He removes the greatest ornament of friendship, who takes away from it respect." --Cicero
I had an argument with someone I believed was one of my best friends. She formed an (ugly) opinion about someone I love (whom she does not even know) based on scant facts and no personal experience of the situation, then she proceeded to spew said negative views about this person like so much word vomit without any consideration whatsoever of my feelings on the matter. It was insensitive and incredibly rude. I needed to vent about a problem and instead of being the sounding board a friend is supposed to be, she became judge and jury of a situation she actually knew nothing about. It was a breach of trust. Friends do not offer judgment unless it is asked for, and judgment in this case was most certainly not requested. It was hurtful and uncalled for. It was also wholly forgivable. We could have gotten past it eventually.
But then I was in a true life or death situation. I was injured in a car accident, an accident that totaled my vehicle. In light of this tragic event, my friend should have been a friend. The petty argument should have been forgotten and concern for me should have been present. Genuine concern, true caring, for my life and well being should have taken precedence over pride and anger. But it didn't. Not only did she utterly fail to contact me at all to check on me--she actually stooped so low as to kick me while I was down.
And not only did she kick me--she did so in an underhanded, immature, wholly shameful manner. She actually took to facebook to post passive-aggressive ugliness that was intentionally, viciously, and obviously directed at me. To add to the childishness of the whole situation, she didn't actually post it herself--she got her younger sister to post it for her. To her further disgrace, she not only aimed her remarks to injure me, she actually set about to injure my soon to be ex-husband--a man who has never done anything to her and does not in any way deserve her derision (nor do I, by the way). You want to harm someone who did nothing to you to get at me all because I said "Fuck you" when you crossed a line and said something you shouldn't? There is absolutely no honor, no valor, and no self-respect in that!
This friendship was salvageable. Even after she failed to care more about my well being than her own pride, it was still salvageable. But then this person removed respect from the equation. She not only blatantly disrespected me, she blatantly disrespected herself. She behaved like a sixteen year old brat instead of a grown woman. She was malicious without just cause. She proved unequivocally that she never respected our friendship and she certainly never valued it. Failing to value the rarity that is true friendship is perhaps the greatest degradation of all.
I have not spoken a malicious word here. I have not uttered anything ugly about her, nor have I attempted to spew her secrets to the world via the internet. I could certainly do those things, but I have not. I have instead simply stated the truth. Is there judgment here? Perhaps. Disappointment, however, is far more present than judgment. I am, for the first time in a long time, truly disappointed in someone I loved.
Respect has been removed from this relationship. I cannot respect someone who would act this way, who would be so pernicious, so petty, so sophomoric, so intentionally hurtful to a person they once called friend.
"However rare true love is, it is less so than true friendship." ~Francois de La Rochefoucauld