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Friendship is hard to explain, and it’s not something that can be inherited or learned.
However, if we don’t get to experience real, reciprocal friendship with another being, then we are missing out on one of the most underrated parts of human life.
During the last few years, I have delved deeper into my own emotional journey throughout my 30 years on this planet. In an examination of all the endless twists and turns, I possess a strong belief that I would have suffered much more if it hadn’t been for my friends. I am fortunate to say that I have some remarkable chums.
There are some essential attributes that distinguish a good friend from a great one.
Here are four essential traits of quality friendships:
1. They genuinely care.
This can be hard to gauge intuitively, but I think it is possible by tuning into our gut feeling. The care comes in ways that may not seem obvious. I have an introverted friend who I would speak to often, but if the news ever reaches him that I need support, he is always the first to contact me and offer either his help.
Not just in words too. When I went through a bad patch, I couldn’t count the number of calls, visits, care, and attention I received from my mates.
2. They clap for our wins.
Leading on from care, the simplest method to decipher the level of compatriot we have is to watch who is clapping when we get a win in life. Whether it is attaining a degree, passing our driver’s test, or getting engaged, watch closely who sends their regards.
I learned this early, and believe it or not, it has been the same people who have always done this in my life. No matter the gap between communication with them, they have made an effort to text, call, and pat me on the back throughout all my triumphs.
3. They never go out to tarnish anyone’s reputation.
I would call this one “they never gossip,” but gossip is inevitable, unfortunately. We all like to b*tch and moan now and then to blow off some steam. The one thing a good companion should never do is systematically spread information about another to change a person’s perception of that person.
This is a red flag, and if they are willing to share the negative information of another, they may be doing the same thing to us. I have encountered this numerous times, and nowadays, that’s when I put out the candle for that amigo.
4. We trust them.
When anything can be said together, we feel comfortable sharing our true feelings and opinions on matters with them. We trust in them, and they confide in us believing that we will not use anything against them in the future. There is an old adage that a secret stays a secret if we tell only one person, and that person is you.
I believe it is true, but with a caveat—if we have a genuinely great pal, we can share it with them too. They are the ones that we don’t even need to say the stupid line “please don’t tell anyone.” If we feel it necessary to utter that sentence after saying something, we probably shouldn’t have said it. More importantly, we can ensure that the person is someone we don’t fully trust.
The above are only some of the traits identifiable. More importantly, is to recognize these within ourselves. If we can’t say we have all or any of these, I doubt we can say we have friends to the highest level.
Because we are pack animals, we have evolved to have a desire to belong with a group. The way to successfully navigate this grey area is the art of reciprocity.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” ~ Luke 3:61
I endeavor always to keep a high value on my friendships and go above and beyond to keep those connections strong. I care deeply for all my close friends and see them truly as my pack. With this mentality, I have been fortunate enough to be part of a group that never ceases to amaze and gratify me.
The most important tip is: to have a great friend—we need to become one first.
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