Some Thoughts on Friendship

baby-friendship

In the realm of interpersonal relationships, romantic relationships get all the attention. People want to know how to find a romantic relationship, how to keep one, or how to end one. So much so that the word “relationship” has become synonymous with romantic relationship.

However, I’ve found platonic relationships to be just as difficult as intimate relationship. In dating, there are a list of “dos” and “don’ts” if one wants to be successful, but lists on how to be a good friend are less common. But friendships are tough and true friends are hard to come by.

It is important, in my experience, to be as discriminating when forming a friendship as you would be with choosing a romantic partner. In some ways, a good friend is hard to define, but there are a few basic traits that I would say make a real friend:

Loyal – It sounds so simple, but a real friend will stand by you. Many so-called friends will not be faithful when the friendship is tested. On the other hand, a true friend in these times will show that they are concerned with your well-being as they are with the their own.

Sincere — A friend will tell you the truth, even when you don’t want to hear it, and will be genuine about themselves.

Positive – Never ignore the effect that a negative acquaintance can have on you. Whether your “friend” is negative about you and your hopes and dreams, or about life in general, negativity is toxic. A friend will make your day brighter by just being around.

Helpful -- Not only does a good friend offer helpful advice, but a friend will provide assistance, even if they can’t do much to help physically. True friends always try to help, and make your friendship one of their priorities.

Understanding — A true friend understands that everyone has flaws and is not overly judgmental of you. They understand your point of view and point of being, even when it may differ from their own.

How do you determine if someone is a friend or not? What qualities do you think make a good friend?

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25 thoughts on “Some Thoughts on Friendship

  1. I am really good at FRIENDSHIP, but a loser at romance. I am the oldest of 6, and so care taking is in my blood. I am NOT a martyr however; I put my own oxygen mask on before helping others.

  2. Personally, I think a lot of people consider me as a good friend but I doubt if I ever considered any of them as friends. I go out of my way to help someone, I consider important to me, but they hardly do the same for me(but then again it might have something to do with the fact that I never let people “in”, so they might not know what to do). I have acquaintances not friends.

    I’m proud to say that I believe I’m a good judge of character or maybe I have limitations right from the start, so that I don’t get too deep into the friendship.

    I’ve always considered myself as my own best friend, this might have something to do with the way I was brought up, my mom always encouraged us to stay indoors (she would go out of her way to buy us — lots of toys – tv games – whatever to keep us indoors)

    Ultimately, all the points mentioned above are important….esp Loyalty

  3. I’d like to believe that I’m all those traits mentioned in the article, but many women shy away from me because, while I take, understand and am supportive for a while(I believe in the adage: “never kick a person when he/she’s down”), I expect that they as mature women are able to come to certain conclusions after honest, open discussions and time. I also dislike intensely when issues dealt with in the pass resurface. I mean, how insecure can one be!!!. I lose interest, state my opinion which leaves them thusly offended and violà, never hear(or hardly) from them again. Their lost. Now male friends, ironically, I have plenty of. Men seem to enjoy my company and like hanging with me. Been told I even think like a man, which I kind of find offensive.
    I love women, in fact, I’m fiercely protective of my fellow females, but I have low tolerance for those who continuously make the same mistakes and expect limitless understanding. Those, unfortunately, are the kinds of women who seem to seek out (and I attract) initial friendships with me, but alas, they don’t last!. Am in the long process of changing my energies to attract a different kind of female friend…..

  4. People don’t like me very much so it takes time for them to warm up to me. But once they’re there, they like me a lot.

    The thing is, I don’t like casual friendship. The going out, gossiping together friendship, the one that disappears the first moment you want to discuss something deeper or when you do or say something wrong (people here are very big on some irrelevant things. For example, if you don’t say “hi” to them in the right way or if you don’t participate in certain social things, like coffee drinking, you will be see as a lunatic – I kid you not). So of course I fail at those small things, all of them.

    I suppose I want friends who are loyal and who stick around. We don’t need to communicate 24/7, but the person should be loyal and honest. That’s all I’m asking, really.

    I have only a few friends and they’re all females. I’ve never had a male friend.

  5. Wow @ foosrock

    OUT: I personally think “friendship/s” are overrated. I’m sick and tired of trying too much and trying too hard and then people take advantage of you.

    IN: A mix bag of acquaintances, I have a lot of acquaintances for different hobbies or situations e.g. for going out drinking once a month acq. and some for yoga classes etc.

    Also IN: ME, Myself and I, I’m my own best friend and I enjoy a lot of time alone and deal with my own problems and my own psychologist and my own Doctor…..

    And I’m not apologetic of none of the above anymore.

  6. IN: A mix bag of acquaintances, I have a lot of acquaintances for different hobbies or situations e.g. for going out drinking once a month acq. and some for yoga classes etc.

    This is exactly what I have with my male friends and it works perfectly, BUT, doesn’t with females. They seem to want more. LOL!.

    In all seriousness – not that I wasn’t before, mind – us females seem to get attached when they find a fellow female who can party hard like them, but yet talk deep. It’s like getting attached to a guy just because he gave you an awesome vaginal orgasm (that’s the one where he makes you cum with his penis).

    @ mkhululie, give me some details on how these mix bag of acquaintances work. In “mix bag” are you referring to the gender or the hobbies/situations only?

  7. OUT: I personally think “friendship/s” are overrated. I’m sick and tired of trying too much and trying too hard and then people take advantage of you.

    But how does this parlay into a romantic relationship with the even more than selfish opposite gender?.

    I agree with the article, relationshops, any kind are right hard, so w

  8. …Man, this bloody wordpress sucks hairy donkey balls!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My avatar blocks me from seeing what the heck I’m writing!. Hate technology. Like just find a cure for AIDS and be done!. I’d gladly go back to beating drums as a means of communication!.

    As I was writing: relationships of any kind are hard, but I couldn’t imagine applying the same casual practice as mkhululie stated in how she deals with friendshops……

    Ok, login details blocking again…..

  9. Sherry,

    You’re not a loser at romance. You might take longer to get there, but you’ll get there.

    mkhululie,

    “I go out of my way to help someone, I consider important to me, but they hardly do the same for me(but then again it might have something to do with the fact that I never let people “in”, so they might not know what to do). I have acquaintances not friends.”

    The same was true for me in the not so distant past, but I’m looking at friendship and partnerships in general with new eyes. If someone doesn’t hold up their side of the partnership, then I let it drop.

  10. Mira,

    People don’t like me very much so it takes time for them to warm up to me.”

    I like you! :)

    “The thing is, I don’t like casual friendship. The going out, gossiping together friendship”

    Neither do I. This must be why I like you, aha.

    “the one that disappears the first moment you want to discuss something deeper or when you do or say something wrong”

    People here really aren’t much different. There are “right” and “wrong” things to say and do, and you must say and do the right thing. I don’t know how they can consider this a friendship, when they are condemning their “friend” for not doing things the way they expect or the socially expected way.

    P.S. I’ve been really busy so I wrote you an email by hand whenever I had time, now all I have to do is type it…when I have time. But it’s coming. :)

    foosrock,

    I don’t know what WordPress.com is doing now., They’re always introducing new features which sometimes make things worse. I also type comments from the backend, so I have no idea how the comments area looks most of the time. Sorry about the comment.

  11. @ foosrock!

    ” give me some details on how these mix bag of acquaintances work. In “mix bag” are you referring to the gender or the hobbies/situations only?”

    I have both(male and female) acquaintances, but I mainly get along with females than males. I sometimes find male acquaintances, too playful and joke too much and that sometimes that bothers me.

    What I meant with – mix bag – is that e.g. I have 2 female acquaintances that likes to dine and hang out, we normally meet once a month or once in two months depending our our schedules.

    and then I have another female acquaintance that I feel a little comfortable to have a minor heart to heart conversations with…. now and then (about boys and stuff)

    and then I have a male acquaintance (my neighbor) we normally hang out and have philosophical conversations and we share similar taste in music, we go to jam sessions or poetry recitals e.t.c

    and then I have another male acquaintance, that speaks a lot of junk and we go clubbing now and then etc.

    and then I have a male email-pal, we’ve never met and speak almost on daily basis and we never met. See, I get all the qualities that I need from all of them and it works for me.

    Most of them have never met….

  12. @ Alee

    “The same was true for me in the not so distant past, but I’m looking at friendship and partnerships in general with new eyes. If someone doesn’t hold up their side of the partnership, then I let it drop”

    I like this :) :) :)

  13. Thanks mkhululie!. I’m liking your way. Totally agree and will post- it this: If someone doesn’t hold up their side of the partnership, then I let it drop”

  14. Alee,

    I appreciate it! Now, I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but many people like me online. Not all, obviously (for example, I have a hater on a forum and I have no idea why I annoy this person enough to throw insults at me), but many people I do.

    I am just much better in written than spoken communication. Or perhaps I’m not compatible with my culture (I never know those DOs and DON’Ts).

    My culture is all about these small things. It’s a strange etiquette that seems relaxed and informal on the outside (lots of hugging, random swearing, inviting people to your home, paying for the meal at restaurants, etc.) However, it’s very strict because you just need to know how to behave. For example, God forbid they invite you to their house 5 times and you only invite them back 4 times! God forbid you don’t spend your first 5-20 minutes at work approaching everyone, saying hi, asking how they are, etc. God forbid you don’t drink coffee. Coffee drinking is a serious thing, especially among females. If you’re a female and you don’t drink coffee (or smoke), you’re seen as this strange individual with weird ways. I kid you not.

    And yes, people are very sensitive about those things. They are pretty irrelevant in my book (that’s why I never know what to do), but they are seen as a big deal in my culture. People here believe they reveal a lot about your character, your family and upbringing. These things are used to tell “normal” people from the strange ones, and not being seen as normal is one of the worst things you can be here.

    That’s why these small things are seen as serious markers of someone’s character, feelings and intentions. I have some pretty serious stories to tell if someone’s interesting into listening.

    It’s also one of the reasons why Serbian men (heck, all the Balkan men) tend to be oversensitive. Any little faux pas you make will make you seem like a weirdo. Any small wrong thing you say can be taken as a mortal insult and it will make them stop talking to you.

    (Yes, yes, you get it – not ALL people are like that; but it’s a general cultural vibe).

  15. I’m interested, Mira in your stories. Will you post them on your blog?. The Swiss Serbians (Secondos) I know are so different, at least with their mix bag of friends/work colleagues/acquaintances….

  16. @mkhululie and foosrock,

    I’m glad you all like it. It can seem pretty cold in practice, but I allow a person a few missteps before I let the friendship drop.

    Mira,

    “I am just much better in written than spoken communication. Or perhaps I’m not compatible with my culture (I never know those DOs and DON’Ts).”

    It’s probably the latter. It seems people who are in their head a lot or very logical types have a hard time with cultures that emphasize social graces.

    “God forbid you don’t spend your first 5-20 minutes at work approaching everyone, saying hi, asking how they are, etc…People here believe they reveal a lot about your character, your family and upbringing.”

    Sounds like my job. They think there is something horribly wrong if you don’t say hello to them every time you see them, especially at the beginning of the work day. But I’m the kind of person who walks into a room of people/walks past a group of people and doesn’t say anything. This makes people think I either don’t like them or New England must be a very cold place. But it just never occurs to me or I just don’t feel like wasting time and energy saying hello and chit-chatting with everyone.

    Not drinking coffee…? Now that’s different.

    Uh oh, now I think I’ll say or do something wrong when I meet a Serbian person. All of the ones I’ve met so far seem to like me. Or maybe they were faking it…Lol.

  17. I’ll post my reply later… I just want to say that the same rules don’t apply to you. They expect foreigners to be different. If you were friendly to them that’s a plus since Americans are stereotyped as cold, unfriendly, lacking family & moral values and obsessed with money.

    But they wouldn’t expect you to act the same way they expect a Serbian person to act. Any “faux pas” you make will be attributed to your culture. It won’t make you, personally, seem like a strange person. They won’t think there’s something wrong with you.

  18. … That being said, the ability to drink at least 3-4 cups of coffee a day (Turkish – not that watered down Nescafe crap!) is sure a plus.

  19. Do you think the anxious/avoidant trap can exist in friendships? Curious on your thoughts on this.

  20. Hi,

    I do think it can, especially in a close friendship. The attachment styles can apply to all close relationships, not just romantic ones.

  21. It’s the same at my job. In fact my boss pulled me aside about not going around greeting everyone every morning. She also said I don’t laugh and joke enough during the day with my co-workers. Funny thing is, I thought I was going out of my way to be friendly. But at some point I have to do work! She says the most important part of my career is making friends. Maybe I am foolish but I feel like it’s insincere to make friends just to climb the corporate ladder. Maybe that’s why I hate the word networking.

    It’s hard to find the kind of friendships that I am looking for- similar to what Mira described and what Alee described in the article. It seems like people are looking for friends to party with or to improve their social status.

  22. Jayleen,

    “It’s the same at my job. In fact my boss pulled me aside about not going around greeting everyone every morning. She also said I don’t laugh and joke enough during the day with my co-workers.”

    Yup, typical… :)

    It’s like they don’t get that everyone isn’t super social and chatty.

    “Funny thing is, I thought I was going out of my way to be friendly.”

    It’s painful isn’t it? Lol.

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