My friends are a few very special people who enhance my life. They all have these qualities:
1. Friends Know Me Well and Like Me Anyway.
My friends are very accepting of me just the way I am. They don’t tell me what I “should” do, although they sometimes suggest things they think would benefit me.
2. Friends Are Honest.
We are honest and straightforward with each other. She will be assertive without malice, even though it means I don’t get my own way. One friend chooses to not look at my writings. She has her own reasons. We respect each other’s differences and preferences without begging or wheedling.
3. Friends Are Like a Breath of Fresh Air.
We enjoy each other’s company and most of the time we have a lot of laughter to share. The only time we don’t laugh at something is when something serious is going on and then we are there for each other to be of comfort.
4. Friends Are Good Listeners.
A friend cares about what I have to say and listens without passing judgment. I can share things that are very private. She responds in such a way that I no longer feel so vulnerable in my private space.
5. Friends Are Willing to Lend a Helping Hand.
When I’ve been sick, my friend has come over with cough syrup, breathe right strips and company. She cleaned my house when I could not do so. Her willingness to come to my aid was a blessing and I’ll always be grateful that she was there for me.
6. Friends Can Be Trusted With Confidences.
By nature, I trust friends to keep confidences to themselves. If I find out that the confidence has been breached, I’ve learned a lesson. I won’t drop her as a friend, but will keep our conversations on a more superficial level. More on this is covered in No. 9.
7. Friends Share Some Similar Interests.
Maybe we share a spiritual connection, a mutual affiliation with a group, or another mutually enjoyable pastime. None of my friends spend as much time on the computer as I do. One friend and I enjoy going to the movies and out to dinner. Another friend and I get together just because we enjoy the fellowship and I get to help her get more comfortable with the computer.
8. Friends Encourage Each Other.
Friends cheer each other on over reaching goals, overcoming challenges and whatever else. We are the cheering section for each other, never putting a wet blanket on an idea, even if we consider it wacky, but not harmful.
There is an exception to the encouragement principle. If a friend has become mentally challenged and won’t listen to reality, encouragement is no longer appropriate. I had such a friend; she thought the aliens were going to burn her house down. I was worried that in her state of mind she might set her own house on fire. I called the police and did a 51/50 on her. However, the police did not think she could cause harm to herself or another.
9. Friends Are Human, Too.
Friends are human, just like me. Humans make mistakes and forgiveness is part of the big picture in a true friendship. I think it’s a good idea to avoid having specific expectations for your friends to fulfill. Give your friends as much room as you want them to give you. When the same mistakes occur over and over I tend to reevaluate the relationship and call it an acquaintanceship.
Mind you this happened in 1979, and Marge mentioned it in an email a few days ago. I had brought her a sandwich from a catered lunch our company had for its employees (she was unable to attend the luncheon in person). She asked, “Where’s the pickle?” I told her I hadn’t brought a pickle because I don’t like pickles. Making the assumption that Marge wouldn’t miss a pickle was my mistake … a human err. What a memory! I’m still laughing about it.
10. Friends Too Nice to be Forgotten
The telephone — what a wonderful invention. I can keep up with friends who now live too far away for frequent visits. I love the friends I’ve had since the 1980s. They have all the qualities I look for in friends. I’ve lost contact with some acquaintances I called friends. I don’t think they were meant to be more than brief encounters in my life. The long-time friends are just too nice to be forgotten As the song I recall from Brownie days goes, “Make new friends, but keep the old, some are silver and the others gold.”