I like to think that I'm a good friend. I love friends. I think about them often and say a little prayer for their well-being. But it gets harder the more a person moves around and the older you become. It's way too easy for me to go a significant amount of time without seeing someone and still consider them to be a close friend. Not everyone works that way.
Some friends are good sharers. They will reveal what's in their hearts and on their minds and trust you to do the same. They have no concerns of being judged or misunderstood.
Some friends are selfless. If they know a major event or big day is happening, they find an opportunity to say "Good luck!" or "Congrats!" or "It just wasn't the right thing for you this time."
Some friends just like to have fun. They know how to liven up any situation and it doesn't matter what happened earlier that day, or week, or month.
Some friends can always make you feel better. They let you be upset and cry. They let you dwell in it for just long enough before telling you to pull yourself together and move on. Then, they lock up the sadness and keep it away from you as best as possible.
My strength as a friend lies in finding the most gentle way to say what needs to be said instead of just what one might want to hear. Or so I'm told. If a friend takes it to heart, great. If not, I love you regardless.
When you're really lucky, you find friends who are good at all of the above.
As I write this, I think of the ways I fall short as a friend and what a blessing it is to have friends much better than myself. These are the things I'd like to work on to be a better friend:
- Send mail. Actual mail, with stamps. Real birthday cards even...
- Call for no reason. No crisis. No big news. Just because I miss them and want to say hello. The call needn't be more than 5 minutes, unless there is time for more. Commenting/liking/stalking on Facebook does not substitute communicating.
- Ask more open questions.
- Ask someone how they're really doing.
- Let someone know when I'm thinking of them, instead of just enjoying the memory.
What makes you a good friend? Are there qualities you see in other friends you admire? I'd love to know.