Photo by Voldy Morton

As a supplement to a recent post, here is some guidance that may not always be intuitive. Friendships, like all relationships, are not just about how you can benefit from them, but also how you often need to go above and beyond.  Think about what you would want in your life and be that friend for someone else.

If you are an amazing friend:

  1. You are loyal. You don’t break a friend’s confidence. You keep your mouth shut about his secrets, you don’t spread rumors behind his back and you don’t allow others to ruin his reputation either.
  2. You are respectful. If your values and beliefs differ from your friend’s, you don’t belittle or mock her views.  You respect her choices, keep an open mind, and give her the space she needs to say what she needs to say without judgment. When you make a commitment to meet your friends at a specific time and place, you honor it.
  3. You give support guilt-free. You are selfless. Your friends never have to remind you to be happy for them or support them with their choices. You stand by him when he makes life-changing decisions without judgment. You will drive for hours in the middle of the night to rescue her from a bad domestic situation. You will let him under your roof when he hasn’t got anyone else to turn to for help. While you might not always agree, you are by your friend’s side through the joys and the pain, being a source of strength, calmness and reassurance
  4. You listen and avoid giving unsought advice. Sometimes people just want to vent. Sometimes they need encouragement for the choices they make, a yes-man. You know how to give that smile, squeeze of the hand and words of comfort. You also know how to refrain from giving the wise advice you think they desperately need but haven’t asked for.
  5. You make time. You are busy with your career, working 70+ hours a week, but you still make time for your friends. Brunch, coffee or a quick phone call to say hello, you understand that your friendships make life a lot better. Your friends are not a waste of time or an inconvenience or people you are only interested in for a favor.
  6. You forgive. You choose to hate the act, not the person. When your friends are in the wrong, you give them a second chance. While you may not forget their transgressions, you are willing to put them in the past and move forward, acknowledging that we are human, will make mistakes and need opportunities like this to grow.

Signs that you have amazing friends:

  1. You can be yourself around them. Your amazing friends don’t make you feel shameful about yourself. You feel free to cry on their shoulders and speak your mind without fear of judgment. You can share your accomplishments and happiness with them and know they can share in your joy.
  2. You are moving close toward your goals. Your amazing friends are going somewhere in life. They’ve said bon voyage to their partying ways, have set goals for themselves and are on track. They’ve learned how to balance hard work and sacrifice with pleasure. They take care of their bodies with regular exercise, fresh air and proper hydration. They don’t let the many failures in life erode their optimism. And all of this, has rubbed off on you because you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.
  3. You develop more positive qualities. After every meet up with your friends, you leave feeling recharged and inspired. Your amazing friends have your back, giving you the strength to tackle any obstacle in your way. You feel like anything in the world is possible and limitations that might have existed before you spoke to your friend suddenly have disappeared.  You feel like Superman.

There are only two or three people whom I’ve come across in my life who fit the criteria described above. They haven’t been in my life for long but I cherish the few interactions we’ve had because I have grown immensely from each encounter.  Their friendships show me the life I want and the person I want to be.

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