I am so blessed; I have many beautiful friends that I’m incredibly thankful for. There are enough to enrich my life but not more than I can handle, because I’ve given up on having a million ‘acquaintances’ – it just isn’t attainable. I’ve gone all ‘quality over quantity’ with my friendships and it’s working out a treat.
My small circle of close friends are scattered around the world. Some are wiser than others. Some are funner than others. Some I laugh with more. Some I cry with more. Some I am more honest with because they let me be. No two of my friends are the same and they are all amazing in their own right. They all have their weaknesses and their strengths, as do I.
Not one of these friends has ‘got it all’ in terms of friendship qualities. But I tell ya what, I’m damn fussy when it comes to friends, because they have an esteemed place in my life. Yep, my friends are handpicked. I listen to them, watch them and learn from them. They don’t all make decisions that I would and vice versa, but they still have a profound effect on my character. That is why I only get close to people who give and take, who encourage, who are real, who have awesome and desirable attributes. Mostly though, I’m friends with people who love me unconditionally.
Below I’ve listed my definition of a good friend, and what I think you need to be giving and receiving in your friendships. Obviously this ain’t gospel, just my opinion (which this blog is riddled with, wa-hey!)
Without further ado…
They respect you. They respect your choices, even if they wouldn’t choose them. They respect you as a person and treat you with value. They are reliable and prioritise you – I believe this comes from respect.
They are honest with you and can take honesty. This is a big one for me because obviously, I love honesty! There’s only so deep you can go when you aren’t honest. From “that dress isn’t flattering on you, don’t buy it”, to “come on, you know better”. I love it when my friends talk straight with me, because I know that we’re always on the same page. A lot of times I don’t want to hear it but I always try to take it, even if I disagree. However some people just can’t handle honesty, period. Tread with caution when speaking honestly; it needs to be done well with sensitive issues. E.g. I hate being judged. I will not be honest with friends if I think they’re going to go all self-righteous on me, because that’s not what I need. I need love and acceptance, then correction. It’s an art. I used to be terribly judgmental and I still struggle, so I know it’s a tough one. Oh, and some people don’t want correction at all due to their value system being different, and in that case, drop it like a hot potato. But that’s just common sense.
They laugh with you. Not at you, with you. Lots and lots and lots. ’nuff said.
They bring out the good in you and encourage you. The best kind of friend sees your assets and focuses on them, as opposed to drawing on your weaknesses. You want to know why you are loved when you are with friends. It’s just standard protocol. However, sadly, some people are insecure and will subconsciously try and bring you down. If you feel crappy after hanging out with the same person every time, you need to re-think the friendship. Or just tell them to be nicer, dammit!
They listen to you. No one wants to be around the person who can’t stop talking about themselves and their life. Ugh. (Sometimes that’s me… eeeeek)
They spoil you. This can be in whichever way they love best – words, gifts, favours, hugs. Whatever they have to give, and whatever you need!
Now, even if you smell bad, I know you have friends. But that doesn’t mean they’re good friends, and I know I’ve suffered hugely from letting friends walk all over me. Don’t settle for crappy friendships that aren’t enriching your life in one way or another. No one is perfect, but there are some energy-sucking people out there that you cannot change with your friendship. They will continue to hurt you if you let them. Take this with a pinch of salt because I know there are always exceptions, but it needs to be said.
I know I am blessed with lovely friendships, but I also know that to keep those people there I need to be a great friend as well. If you want or need more awesome friends, then be an awesome person! Be yourself obviously, as well as kind, encouraging and open to new people you meet, and to the fantastic people you already know. Be the kind of friend that you want to have. That includes your best old pals too, of course. Cherish the longtime friends who have proved faithful over time, they’re like gold.
I’ve had friendship lulls in life, and no matter what else I did have at the time, I noticed and felt the lack. We were made to be in relationship with each other! Not just in romantic relationships, but also with the people around us every day.
Life is rich when you can call someone a friend. If you need a friend/more friends/better friends, then go and get ’em!
What do you think makes a good friend? What would you add to my list?