Honor – noun

1. Honesty, fairness, or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions: a man of honor.
2. A source of credit or distinction: to be an honor to one’s family.
3. High respect, as for worth, merit, or rank: to be held in honor.

I’ve heard the phrase “there is no honor among thieves” but I really wonder if there is honor among anyone any more, including friends. People’s words have no meaning, their promises are not kept and their sense of devotion, honesty and commitment are non-existent.

When you are someone in my life, I take my promises and commitment to you as a friend very seriously. I don’t like you for what you have or what you do for me or how you look or who you’re connected to. I don’t lie to you, I don’t try to manipulate you and I try to be there in any way I can, when I can, as needed, sometimes to my own detriment. Even when it would be easier, more pleasurable, less work or more fun to be elsewhere, doing other things or doing things my way, I take your needs into consideration and am willing, at times, to put our friendship above my personal comfort. If my actions or words will harm you, I weight them heavily and consider if there are alternative words or actions that might avoid hurting you, and if anything I need to say or do is going to be negative in any way, I do my best to say or do them in a way that are respectful and sensitive. I am never hesitant to apologize if I believe I am wrong and I will always give you the benefit of the doubt if you have proven to me to be trustworthy and honest, until you prove otherwise. You have my allegiance, my compassion, my support and my love…I honor you and our friendship.

Unfortunately, I have realized that that is too much to ask for in return from other people and I rarely found that to be true in reverse. I have discovered that most people will only stick around so long as I’m useful to them in some way, can be a conduit to someone or something they want or need, or remain subservient and acquiescent to their demands and preferences. No matter what I do or how much I give to others, it is never enough to earn the same level of commitment back.

It has, sadly, slowly but surely changed me over the course of time to someone who puts very little stock in what other people say or promise. I find myself mentally tacking on qualifiers to what people say. (“…for now.” “…if nothing better comes along.” “…as long as I feel like it.” “…until you piss me off.” “…unless anything is required of me.” “…at least, that’s what I want you to believe”) because then, when their true colors come out, when the phase is over, when the good time has passed, I don’t have to be as disappointed or feel like a fool because I can tell myself I knew it was going to happen.

I have invested so much energy into trying to create and foster relationships with other people and be the best friend I could be, that I left nothing to sustain me when those people walk away or let me down or turn their back on me. I have continued to allow myself to seek validation in other people’s eyes, worthiness in their desire to have me in their life, value in their willingness to put themselves out for me and significance in their support or concern for me.

But in the end, I fear there won’t be anyone there but me and I will look back over my life at the time and energy and resources spent trying to win approval and acceptance and love from everyone, to develop kinship and unbreakable bonds, as a fool’s folly. I will regret that I did not invest more energy and time in myself or make more choices that made me happy, regardless of how it impacted others. I will look at the people I tried to surround myself with, some of who continually hurt me and didn’t even have the decency to walk away but, rather, stuck around to poor salt in my wounds or poke me with the proverbial sticks or find some way to be a constant reminder that I failed, yet again, to be worthy or deserving of their friendship.

I know all this and I curse myself for still needing people in my life; for still wanting people in my life; for believing, despite everything I know and have experienced, that there really are good and honest and decent people out there and, someday, I will actually meet and befriend another person who will honor their words, promises and our friendship.

I smirk at people for believing in a god, but I wonder if Iam just as big a fool for believing in people.

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