Friends Cheer Your Wins and Mourn Your Losses

If someone treats you poorly on a good day, imagine how they are going to treat you when things get difficult.

The smiles in the back tell the story. Genuine friends are genuinely happy when you are. Dwayne Bowie with Relson Gracie at Kogen Dojo. Photo by Mike Oswald Photography

We can tell a lot about a person by how they treat us when we are at our best. If we are excited about something, celebrating an accomplishment, or simply just having a great day, the people who truly care about us and support us should rejoice along with us. They should enjoy seeing us happy or successful. They should celebrate our wins with us, even if quietly, or simply with a nod, a fist bump, or a smile.

There are others who are dismissive of our successes, taking our best moments as an opportunity to put us down, to scoff, or to criticize us. Obviously, constructive criticism from friends is part of friendship and one of the main roles of friendship is to help us to see ourselves objectively and to keep our feet on the ground. This is part of having our backs. Keeping us in check, however, should never involve putting us down when we are truly doing well, when we are living well and reaping the benefits of that.

How the people closest to us feel about us, talk about us, and treat us when we are on top of the world tells us a lot about how they will behave when we are at our lowest. It will not improve. If they celebrate our wins with us, they will mourn our losses with us. If they mourn our wins, they will celebrate our losses. That is not friendship.

To paraphrase hip hop emcee GZA, your friends will have your back, but you’ve got to watch your front because it’s the haters who front as your friends that you really need to watch out for.

Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

-Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body, Severna Park’s Holistic Chamber of Commerce, and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

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