Saturday, January 16, 2010

Choosing the right friends is not always easy

Many of us struggle to make really good friends.  We have many associates, people we socialise with, but not many really good friends.  I have had many friends over the years, but there are only about four people who are my 'for life' friends.  These are people who have been close friends for years.  I might not see them or have contact with them for years, but the minute we see each other, we can pick straight up from where we left off.  These are genuine friends, who don't leave you when something better comes up.  However, those kinds of friends are a rare treasure.  We need to nurture those friendships like you would a baby.  I've copied an article I wrote for, about how to be a friend.

To have a friend you must first be a friend

My mother once bought my daughter a large poster to put above her bed that said, "To have a friend, you must first be a friend." How apt is that? That little saying has stayed with me all these years. What you put out into the universe is what you get back. If you gossip about others, they'll gossip about you. Okay, they'll probably gossip about you regardless, that might not have been a good example. But if you show all the qualities of being a good friend, then people will show the same back to you. Seriously, it does work. If you are a mean old cussedly bitch, criticise everybody and everything, people are going to stay away from you. Who wants to be friends with a moaning whingebag? If you are sociable, people generally tend to gravitate towards you. So, I'd have to say that for me the top quality required, is to be a good friend first. Show the other mugs how it's done. Let them reflect your goodness.

A genuine friend is someone who doesn't lie to you. If something's bugging them, and you say, "What's cooking Dude?" and they reply, "Nothing my little petal," and you can see something is bothering them. Then they're not being honest. Friends should feel comfortable enough with each other to share their feelings, unhappiness, thoughts, ideas, and all that kind of mumbo jumbo stuff. If another so-called friend is bad-mouthing you behind your back, a genuine friend will come and tell you and help you to work out a plan of revenge. If your revenge plan is a little out of whack, a good friend should be honest enough to tell you that your plan sucks big time. And if your friend is honest with you and you don't like what they say, don't pick up the cast iron frying pan and hit them over the head, because that is just not nice.
A true friend remains loyal during times of stress and strife. They don't take a knife and go for the jugular and jump on the bandwagon with all the other simple-minded weak-willed friends. A good friend will stand by you whatever the circumstances. Of course, you need to practise showing loyalty yourself. When your friend finds themselves in a spot of bother, stay loyal and true to them. Don't lift up your skirt, remove your stilettos and sprint off into the sunset never to return. Otherwise, they'll do the same to you.
Make sacrifices
A simply awesome amazing super duper friend, will even make sacrifices for you. When you're a bit skint and payday is only a week away, they might advance you some much-needed money to pay your electricity bill. Always make sure you pay them back before leaving town, as they'll think twice about sacrificing their beer money for you again. Making sacrifices for each other is what compromising and being flexible is all about. If you want to go to see Harry Twatter and your friend wants to see Goldilocks and the Three Bare Boys, one of you has to sacrifice what you want to be able to reach a compromise. Just a little tip. Don't always make your friend be the one to make the sacrifices. Sometimes it's quite spiritual to make sacrifices yourself. You feel good about yourself then. Okay, if they need one of your kidneys, that might be taking it a bit far. But it would be great if they gave you one of their kidneys when you needed it. Or their liver, lungs or heart.
A good friend is always kind and shares. Generosity is very important. If they sit at the movies and don't share their popcorn or box of Maltezers, then they are not showing the quality of kindness. If they accidentally start to goosestep and kick your mangy little maltese poodle mutt with each step, then they are not showing kindness to animals. If they can't be kind to your dog, chances are, they can't be kind to you. People can show kindness in many ways. Not necessarily giving money to the legless cross-eyed lesbian in a wheelchair begging at the traffic lights. Being kind can be something simple like not joining in when a group of friends are analysing and dissecting an absent friend. If both you and your friend need to pee urgently and there's only one available toilet, then an act of kindness would be to let the other person go first while you just bravely clamp your legs and your teeth shut tightly. Someone who is mean to others, might not show kindness to you should you find yourself in a situation when you really need an act of kindness.
A good friend is not one who tells you that the meal you slaved over for hours tasted good and then they leave or sit and watch TV while you slave over the dishes. A good friend is one who helps with the washing up. A good friend won't sit with a smirk or smug expression while you struggle alone. They'll leave their comfort zone and help out. Basically, a good friend knows when it's time to help and time to support.
If you think of yourself as a double D boob, without support of a bra, that boob will droop down to your belly button, and even your knees, so that you kick them while you walk. Now, while that might help a soccer player practising ball control, that is of no use to you. You need that bra to support those pendulous sagging boobs. Just like your boobs need a bra, you need a supportive friend who'll be there when the going gets tough, through thick and thin. You don't want a friend, that when the going gets tough, they leave. A supportive friend counsels you, sets you up with a hot date, and lends you their car if you don't have one to go on the date. A supportive friend will meet you at the airport when you get back from an amazing holiday in Zanzibar while they've been working 9 to 5 in a dreary office with coffee rings on the desks.
Share interests
A great friend is someone who shares the same interests as you. It would be pointless going on and on about how exciting a game of golf is, when your friend can't see the point of smacking the shit out of a little dimpled white ball that did nothing to you, and then walking bloody miles to find it. The same as if you are crazy about spending a Saturday afternoon shopping with friends and having a cappuccino and cheesecake at Starbucks with all your shopping bags, and your friend gets the jitters when someone says the word shopping, breaks out in a rash and starts gnashing their teeth, they wouldn't share your shopping interest with you and would be no fun at all. Fun is very important. However, it is not recommended to have too much fun sharing the same sexual partner. Sharing a love interest will only end in tears.
A friend who treats you and speaks to you like you are the piece of dog doo stuck under their shoe is not worth having as a friend at all. They need to respect your views and opinions, respect your space, just generally respecting who you are. A friend is not showing respect when they try to change you into something you're not. A friend who does not allow you alone time and is constantly invading your space is being disrespectful. Remember, you need to show respect first, to gain respect.
Trust is mega-important as a quality. If you can't trust your friend with your confidences and secrets, then they aren't a very good friend at all. If you are scared to leave your handbag lying around as you believe that your friend might swipe some of your hard-earned cash from your Prada wallet, then they are not trustworthy and no point in having around as a friend. You have to be able to trust that your friend has your best interests at heart all the time, and won't step on you to achieve their own ends. You have to be able to trust that your friend will build you up when you are down. If there is no trust, and you are constantly on guard and suspicious, looking for signs that you are being used and abused, then trust is definitely lacking.

Remember, you yourself need to show all these qualities first and be a good friend yourself, before you can expect people to show these qualities back to you in return.

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