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My thoughts about various topics can't always go into my non-fiction articles on Associated Content. But they can go on my blog, so this is where Terri Lee spills it! Here we go!

Friday, August 27, 2010

TD Jakes on 3 Types of Friendship

I just watched a video in which TD Jakes spoke about the difference between Confidants, Constituents, and Comrades.

He started out saying, “Don’t watch the colors, watch the character.” Which hits the nail right on the head, and was the first thing I ever heard this man say. I’d never heard him speak before, but that got my attention.

Then he talked about Confidants being the few people who will become entwined in your life, share your dreams, share your trouble, and are for you in every way. They are not yes people, they will be honest and get in your face if you’re messing up. They are about you.

He explained that Constituents are people who are for what you’re for. They are not for you, but share your causes. When the cause is there to work for, they are there beside you working for the cause, but if the cause is won, they will move on without you. And you have to be careful sharing a dream with constituents, because they are not about you achieving your dreams. They may very well adopt your dream and pursue it without you.

Mr. Jakes went on to say that Comrades are people who are against what you’re against. They will join in your fight against something you are struggling to defeat, but when that struggle is complete, and there is victory, comrades will move on without you.

Mr. Jakes explained it well, and it’s a valuable lesson that can keep you from being disappointed in people. All kinds of people will pass through your life. There are a very, very few who will stick with you, through thick and thin. Appreciate them.

But don’t expect everyone to be confidants. And that doesn’t mean that constituents and comrades are bad people, it just means that at times in life you need help to accomplish goals and dreams, or fight an evil. You can’t do it alone, you need help, and constituents and comrades can provide it. But they move on to other causes and struggles.

Your personal dreams and lifelong goals are your own responsibility, and the people who really believe in you during your lifetime, can usually be counted on one hand. Those are the people who Mr. Jakes calls confidants. I call them soul friends. And I am thankful for each one of mine.

Also, it isn’t just about recognizing the different kind of people affecting you, but the different ways you affect other people. I am not a confidant or soul friend to many other people. I am a casual acquaintance to some of my friends. We can have fun together or share hobbies, but the relationships are superficial.

I am a constituent to many people, including many of my Facebook friends. If I am trying to raise support for a cause, I don’t necessarily have to agree with all the rest of a person’s politics or religion, or personal interests to accept their friendship on Facebook. If they are supportive of a greater good that I’m supporting, great.

The same if someone is fighting against a greater evil. There is at least one issue I’m speaking out on that will require a huge fight. I welcome any support I can find to help me educate others, share information I find online, and raise awareness about this issue. I have “friended” people on Facebook that I have very little in common with, other than being against what I’m against.

There are a couple of “comrades” (to use Mr. Jakes definition) that I can share other ideas with, or with whom I share a hobby or interest beyond the cause we both share. But some people only comment on my statuses about one particular issue, and if I stray from the cause or finish with the cause, I won’t hear from them anymore.

I understand that completely, and am grateful for the ‘constituents’ and ‘comrades’ who drift in and out of my life when I most need them to. It’s all part of my path.

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