Don’t Be A Parachute Pal

I am writing staff performance reviews at present where I assess whether or not the members of the team I manage have met their objectives for the previous year. Thankfully as I am such a fantastic manager and they are such a fantastic team I can hand on heart write that they all have. No need for bribes, inducements or back handers. It’s the truth!

One of the key performance areas are strong communication skills; with other members of the team, the wider organisation and external stakeholders. This relates to both verbal and written communications. Active listening skills are always essential as effective communication is a two way street. Ha! You would almost think I was copying this out of a leadership manual. Which of course I’m not.

Solid communication skills also form the base of any successful relationship. Let me give you an example. Fionnuala shouts at me when I do something wrong. I listen (actively), apologise (profusely) and make amends (hurriedly). Sorted! Everyone’s a winner. Twenty two years together and the old methods are still the best methods. She’s right. I’m wrong. The end.

But seriously….

Every relationship or friendship requires give and take on both sides. The best friendships should be equal and centred upon mutual respect and selflessness. The best friends are those who would drop everything for you at the most inconvenient moment. They are there for you no matter what. They are a consistent and immovable part of your life. They stick around.

Over the last few years Fionnuala and I have come to realise this. Real friends are there no matter how stormy the waters are. They put your needs before their own. They hang around after the party is over and it’s time to clean up the mess. We have realised another thing as well – there are not many of these people in today’s self centred world.

We have lost countless fair weather friends over the last couple of years. We have been snubbed, rejected and ignored. The last kind is particularly hard to stomach. Calls aren’t returned, WhatsApp messages are read (two blue ticks! two blue ticks!!) but not replied to and efforts to resurrect relationships fall on deaf ears and dry ground.

Then there are those who want the friendship to continue but on their terms. So they will ignore you for six months and then parachute into your life like visiting nobility, honouring you with their presence. There is always an ulterior motive for these unannounced arrivals. You may never discover what that agenda is but you can be certain that your interests are not at its heart.

Be grateful for the real friends, the true friends. They are more precious than rubies. Identify them and cherish them. Work hard at protecting and nourishing them. For one day they might be all you have. You will cling to them for all you are worth. Just like they might cling to you. Reflect that mirror of love and trust right back at them.

They need you just as much as you need them. So don’t be a fair weather friend, a parachute pal. Stand up and be counted. On the rainy days as well as the sunny ones. Such friendships are few and far between and when they are gone they are gone forever. I realise that with a heavy heart. Loneliness is a constant threat. Don’t fall prey to its icy embrace.

Have you ever been frozen out of a friendship?

What are your experiences of fair weather friends and parachute pals?

33 thoughts on “Don’t Be A Parachute Pal

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  1. It’s interesting that this article started off talking about work and writing staff appraisals and then moved on to talk about fair weather friends. There are so many people in my work place that behave like this and it is so blatant: they’re all smiles when they want something (normally for you to do their job for them in one way or another) and then they won’t even acknowledge you at other times.

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  2. Love is patient, especially with friends. I have a good friend who has told me countless times he never wants to talk to me again, he’s mad at me, there’s no further discussion. But I always reach back out to him, and our friendship is stronger today than ever. People are hurting and we must, as Christians, rise above the petty things of life and love like Jesus loved!

    Liked by 7 people

  3. But as we learn in John 6:66-67, this is yet another of our pains that Jesus suffered, so that he would be able to comfort us in our loneliness. As Paul testified, “But the Lord is faithful” (2 Thessalonians 3:3). We can depend on that.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I’ve started to accept some people are meant to come and leave in life, sometimes intentionally and others because I wasn’t a priority or I misjudged the friendship, and we just were never close, and they never intended to be.

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    1. That’s a healthy realisation that only hit me recently too. I gave hours and days to one-sided friendships on some false notion that because we had been friends in the past, we must keep it alive…
      so much nicer to have friends who put the same amount of effort into whatever it is you’re doing ..

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Frozen out of friendship something that has happened to me. It is a horrible feeling. I see it as one of my triggers for my ED. Since i have been working on my recovery i have found that i have gathered a few fair weather friends. I am very wary of these people they flit in and out of my life when it suits, or in my eyes when they want to nosey about my struggles and consequent recovery. Another good blog Stephen…….

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Could be that there is something going on their lives that is keeping them from communicating. For instance, I have my hands full the past few weeks with visiting sick elderly friends who are either dying or very ill. I can only pay attention to so many persons at one time. What I’m trying to say is, don’t assume that you know everything that is going on in someone else’s lives. I like to give the benefit of the doubt till proven otherwise; only God has all the facts. But I’ve had to cut some friends loose who’ve decided to say goodbye with no explanation. I’ve discovered in life that people come and go. And, sometimes, the ones that go are often the ones you don’t expect would go.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Oooh I think you’ve just escalated things to to 40-15. That was a stunner. Afraid I told the Colonel just now about how you manage disagreements with listening and apologising profusely … he gave a strange sort of snort, however didn’t offer a view of his own. Funny that. You’re spot on re friends. Very sadly I’ve discovered that I can count on one hand those true friends and that’s pushing it. I also think that years of just going out for drinks and dinner with people and in actual fact one doesn’t really get to know them that well. On a superficial level, yes, but not beyond that. We can all paint a picture that we want people to view, but it may not be the true one. I loved your post. Thank you again for reminding me about the important stuff. Katie

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m afraid of being seen as a parachute pal. My true friends and I stay in contact, but it’s harder to get together or talk these days. I never ignore them or try to dictate the terms of our friendships, but I can’t help thinking I’m not doing enough on my end.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Another great post. I agree, and sadly in the past I had these traits of a parachute and fair weather friend. I’ve lost friends, but I’m learning, we all grow and in those seasons of growth we will lose friends along the way. These types of relationship are learn from childhood traits from our family. Thank God when I prayed and ask him to change me, he also brought people into my life to help stimulate the growth and mature I endure. As we get to be “adults” we find it hard together, we rely too much on responsibility, instead of enjoying the fruits of our labor. If we meet once a month, I’m glad to see them. I take the blessings of spending time with my friends, whenever I can get it. Thank you friends!

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  10. I’ve read the comments, we have to always remember discernment. Yes we need companions in life, but never mistake it for codependency or dependency as it can become deadly when you cannot live your life because you need others approval. Friends do come and go, but you are never alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow, the warm wisdom communicated here without seeming overly ‘preachy’. It’s stimulated a great discussion. To don’t be a fair weather friend, add don’t be too busy for friends. Too easy in a pressurised world.

    Liked by 1 person

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