Finding and Keeping Good Friends
Wendy Mason is a Career Coach and Life Coach helping you to solve difficult problems at work and at home.
Finding and keeping good friends has two parts to it
- What draws us to people
- What seals the friendship
What draws us to someone?
We meet lots of people in life but for most us very few become frends. These seem to be the things that draw into becoming friend with people.
Shared interests and values
We usually need to find we have something in common with people in order to become friend. This is usually in terms of the kinds of things we enjoy doing and what we believe to be important in life. If I am very interested in sports and you are very interested in, say, looking at paintings, then we may struggle even to start a conversation that holds our interest. Likewise, if we believe completely different thing about what is important. Of course, our tastes may change over time and after the friendship is formed.
Nothing ties people together like going through some kind of challenging experience, particularly if this is over a long period of time. Of course, we need to find more than that if the friendship itself is to be long-standing.
We need to have some sense that we are supporting each other. We each receive and give benefits to the other. One supports the other through difficult times. But if one is giving all the time and not getting back, then that is not true friendship and eventually most of us feel resentment and give up.
What seals the friendship?
Putting your interests ahead of their comfort
A real friend tells you the truth when you need to hear it, even when it is an uncomfortable truth. They will tell you when they think you are about to make a fool of yourself or if they think, for example, you are drinking too much. A friend is someone who can tell you are wrong and you still care about them – not immediately necessarily but certainly after you've had time to think.
Friends are consistent in their care and their availability. Provided they are fit, not dealing some huge problem or on their honeymoon, you don’t have to stop and think about calling them up to discuss something that is really worrying you.
Respect for your values
A good friend will recognize what is important to you even though they may not agree with you on every point. They won't ask you to go against a deeply held value for the sake of your friendship. And your not going against your values, will not compromise the friendship.
I hope you have good friends in your life. If you do, then value them highly, one day you may come to believe they are more precious than gold.