I have a few friends who I wish I could put in my pocket and carry along with me each day to cheer me on when I feel like giving up. I am lucky enough to have some friends like that who are totally there for me. They give me hope and recharge my batteries.
Some are newer friends and some have been with me awhile. Some I feel will be around forever and some I realize may flit again out of my life the way they flitted in.
Not only do I have these sweet darling women in my life, but I want to be just like them. So, I have thought a lot about what it takes to be the kind of friend that I want to have.
Friendship is karma; you get out of it what you put in.
With a little intentionality and desire, you can consciously become a great friend and draw great friends to yourself.
Here’s what I have noticed. Good friends are talented and giving … they:
1. Listen and ask questions.
They are also uncanny in their ability to remember to ask you about something you told them you were doing a month ago, and they follow up and ask you how it went. They care about your story.
2. Cry with you when necessary and if they can’t cry, they can hand you the tissue.
They don’t shy away from helping you through the hard stuff, but they also don’t try to fix everything. Sometimes just walking beside someone through something tough is the best thing a good friend can do.
3. Know their boundaries.
They know when exactly they are able to help you and when they just can’t. They don’t apologize for what they cannot do, and they are honest with you about this.
4. Don’t need to call every day and don’t expect you to call them all the time either.
They know that you are busy and that even if it has been a few months since you last talked, they have done enough of the back work that you know they still care.
5. Challenge you when you need to be challenged.
Sometimes a friend who you trust must look you in the eye and tell you to get off your backside and start doing something about all the things you keep telling her you wish that you were doing. And they’re right. Sometimes, they also need to tell you to stop doing something you are not good at. They are good at making this news less hard to hear.
6. Let you have a different opinion.
She is confident enough in herself that she is fine if you don’t agree with everything she says, and she kindly tells you when she doesn’t agree with you. Life is boring when we surround ourselves with parrots that mimic back everything we think. Sometimes we must feel out what we truly believe by experimenting on a friend. We throw out an idea or view and we shouldn’t be condemned for it. Instead, how about talking it over? That conversation might involve chocolate and coffee.
No one is perfect, and it is not worth ditching someone every time they let you down. Sometimes it is the right time to move on, but that decision must not be made in the heat of the moment. With a little time and maybe some distance, it is easier to forgive, move on and determine the status of your relationship. Forgiveness means simply that we are willing to give someone a second chance to say or do something better, especially if that person is only this one (or two or three) time(s) sounding like a jerk because normally, they are awesome.
And that’s just it. Your friend (and you) have a chance to believe that someone is mostly wonderful. Being and having a friend like that is a gift and mighty hard to come by on this great green earth. Friends like these are treasures.
Have you been a good friend to your good friend today?
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