We like to talk about friends. Making them, keeping them, relating to them. This week we’re talking about the HOW and WHY someone becomes and stays a friend. Think about it—why are you drawn to some people and not to others? Who’s been your bestie for decades and who has slowly become a stranger as time and space separated you? What are the must-have qualities in a person to keep that bond tight, and are their deal-breakers that cause you sever it? It’s something that happens subconsciously all the time, but we’re here to tease it out into full consciousness. Join us!
Listen to this : You Better Have These Qualities If You Want Quality Friendships
Here are some rather gem-like quotes on friendship from Thought Catalog to get you started:
- Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity. – Khalil Gibran
- Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one. ― C.S. Lewis
- Anybody can sympathize with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathise with a friend’s success. – Oscar Wilde
- The friend who holds your hand and says the wrong thing is made of dearer stuff than the one who stays away. – Barbara Kingsolver
- I value the friend who for me finds time on his calendar, but I cherish the friend who for me does not consult his calendar. – Robert Brault
Alright, that’s all very nice. But let’s dig a little deeper. Here’s what Psychology Today author and Buddhist physician Alex Lickerman, M.D. had to say about friendship:
“The Japanese have a term, kenzoku, which translated literally means “family.” The connotation suggests a bond between people who’ve made a similar commitment and who possibly therefore share a similar destiny. It implies the presence of the deepest connection of friendship, of lives lived as comrades from the distant past.
why do we have the kind of chemistry encapsulated by the word kenzoku with only a few people we know and not scores of others?
Lickerman goes on to list what initially brings people together as friends, and honestly, they DO seem pretty spot on:
- Common interests. This probably ties us closer to our friends than many would like to admit. When our interests diverge and we can find nothing to enjoy jointly, time spent together tends to rapidly diminish. Not that we can’t still care deeply about friends with whom we no longer share common interests, but it’s probably uncommon for such friends to interact on a regular basis.
- History. Nothing ties people together, even people with little in common, than having gone through the same difficult experience. As the sole glue to keep friendships whole in the long run, however, it often dries, cracks, and ultimately fails.
- Common values. Though not necessarily enough to create a friendship, if values are too divergent, it’s difficult for a friendship to thrive.
- Equality. If one friend needs the support of the other on a consistent basis such that the person depended upon receives no benefit other than the opportunity to support and encourage, while the relationship may be significant and valuable, it can’t be said to define a true friendship.
But the old Licky’ gets a little….dare we say preachy? Or maybe just a little too…saintly, for our taste…when he goes on to describe what makes a person ‘worthy’ of the label ‘friend’:
- A commitment to your happiness. A true friend is consistently willing to put your happiness before your friendship. It’s said that “good advice grates on the ear,” but a true friend won’t refrain from telling you something you don’t want to hear, something that may even risk fracturing the friendship, if hearing it lies in your best interest. A true friend will not lack the mercy to correct you when you’re wrong. A true friend will confront you with your drinking problem as quickly as inform you about a malignant-looking skin lesion on your back that you can’t see yourself.
- Not asking you to place the friendship before your principles. A true friend won’t ask you to compromise your principles in the name of your friendship or anything else. Ever.
- A good influence. A true friend inspires you to live up to your best potential, not to indulge your basest drives.
We’re not so sure about this RIGID qualities. Maayan and Lauren have ideas that are a little more flexible, and subjective…such as those listed in Lauren’s “key qualities in friends” ponder.
As for deal-breakers, it’s hard for us to have lines in the sand about friendships…but meanness, and unpredictability are definitely HUGE turn-offs.
Finally, it’s time to….
Lauren: She’s ranting about fake laughing. There may not be any worse feeling in the world (dramatic, but hear her out HERE).