Monday, May 12, 2008

What Is A Friend?

Over the last few years I've been struggling with the definition of a friend and what makes a good friend. I'm not a friend collector as I simply don't have the time for a lot of friends. I believe in having a few quality friendships. I'm always interested in meeting new people and making new friendships but then I worry that I won't be able to give the friendship the attention it deserves. When I use the word friend, I don't mean the casual friendships that one has with colleagues at work, or neighbours, etc... but rather, the people you connect with and want to confide in.

My mother has always been a role model for me in this regard. Her friendships date back to her childhood years. They have really stood the test of time. All of her friends are close friends and they would do anything for her and she for them. Friendships with our generation seem to be more difficult...more complicated. As I approach my forties (o.k. a few more years yet!) I realize that I am losing patience with the nonsense. When friendships are one sided, sometimes it's time to let them go.

If I could sum up a good friend for my children this is what I would tell them;
  • friendships take time
  • talking is essential between friends. In a friendship in which both parties are satisfied, both friends TALK and both friends LISTEN.
  • friends acknowledge each other
  • friends focus during conversation
  • friends pay attention to details
  • friends show empathy
  • friends are there ALWAYS not just when they have the time
  • friends are loyal and trustworthy
  • friends reveal their feelings
  • friends can be themselves
  • friendships shouldn't be difficult
  • you should want to be with (or talk to) your friend
  • when something good happens, you should want to share it with your friend
  • when something bad happens, you should want to share it with your friend
  • you must be prepared to drop everything for a friend!

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