My friends are amazing. Many of my friends are those kinds of people that you know you’re gonna like within minutes of meeting them. The rest of my friends tend to be a bit more introverted and don’t necessarily flourish around big groups nearly as much as they do one on one. Regardless of their differences however, I can say with confidence that I am privileged to be friends with a large number of outstanding individuals. Here are some of their many amazing qualities…
Conversation: Not all of my friends are all into the same stuff, but everyone I know feels passionately about at least one or more things. Many of my friends have several passions. And when my friends get the chance to talk about the thing(s) they love, it’s a pure joy. None of my friends make me (or anyone) feel dumb if I don’t know what they’re talking about and always go out of their way to include everyone.
Intensity: Some people don’t like to talk about deep stuff I’ve noticed. Either they’re not comfortable with it or simply enjoy surface talk more. I don’t tend to friend those people. I always wanna be pleasant and group them into the category ‘This person’s awesome, but I’m probably never gonna hang out one on one.” I have many acquaintances that I love to see at mutual friends’ parties, improv theatres, reunions, etc. But those I call friend aren’t afraid to go deep into their soul and talk about the really interesting stuff.
Judgment: My friends have different beliefs. Many of them feel strongly about their beliefs. But no one I call friend would ever make someone feel bad simply for not thinking like them. In fact, I love talking to my friends that I disagree with. How else would I get trustworthy opinions to consider? Watch Fox News? I can guarantee you that’s not going to happen. I love that I can have a civil, intellectual discussion with my friends and we will never yell or belittle each other.
Commiseration: Every one of my friends is happy to hear me bemoan my life for a little while even if they can’t identify with the subject matter. And on the flip side most if not all of my friends will also call me out if my commiseration becomes pointless whining. And that will almost always help me even if just a little bit.
Talent: I don’t require someone to be talented at something before we become friends, but nearly 100% of my friends are geniuses at certain things. I know fantastic guitar players, writers, actors, computer programmers, athletes, models, artists, parents, designers, animal whisperers (not literally), hypnotists, musicians, etc. So many of my friends are well above average if not in the top few percentile in the world at their respective craft. That’s pretty cool!
Reliability: My friends always offer their place for an out of town visitor if possible. They would do anything they needed to to make sure I feel welcome when I see them. And they would do whatever it took to help someone in need. Particularly one of their close friends.
Good Natured: My friends will always let the stranger know they dropped a $20 bill rather than keep it themselves. My friends will not just talk about doing good in the world, but actually be great examples of good people in the world.
Laughter: My friends love laughing.
How is all this possible? Did I just get super lucky to be surrounded physically and/or emotionally by hundreds of insanely great people? I don’t think so. I think I have a lot to do with it. So, here’s what I try to do with my life and how I select my friends:
- I try to be the good I want to see in the world
- I talk about stuff that some find uncomfortable. I never try to give someone discomfort and do my best to recognize my social audience so that I don’t offend someone, but I’m not as animated or myself when I talk about surface stuff. Whenever someone wants to go deep, I light up in a way that I assume some people (like my friends) enjoy.
- I give everyone a chance. I sometimes forgive people too many times, but I like to be forgiving. However, as I have gotten older I have realized that forgiveness does not in any way compel me to continue to think of someone as my friend. Nor does it require I spend much time with them. That helped thin out some of the less than wonderful people.
- And if we hang out a few times and you don’t fit my criteria, I’m probably not gonna ask you to hang out again. Not cause you’re bad, but because we don’t have any friend chemistry. Nothing wrong with that.
- I do wanna say that many people I really love and do absolutely consider to be my friend, sometimes go long periods without any in person contact. That’s not because I’m dropping them from my friend roster. I just put them in a special category called: Friend I wish I spent more time with, but absolutely love spending time with when it can happen.
What is my criteria?
I thought about this randomly today when I saw a friend’s Facebook post that read:
Requirements for hanging out:
Personality (Can be substituted with food.)
And it got me thinking about a real requirement I have for hanging out. So, I compiled the list below.
1) Must be one or enjoy when others act like goofballs.
2) Must enjoy and participate in flowing conversations about a variety of juxtaposed topics including but not limited to: ‘What if anything is God’s being in terms humans can visualize?’ ‘Do you want to sing the Super Mario Bros theme song with me?’ (Your answer must be ‘yes’ if I ask you. However it’d be lovely if you beat me to the lunch.)
3) Must enjoy bits. Bits are moments of time where in a non-performance situation one or more friends slips into a character. You don’t have to do a character, but you must enjoy participating with the character as yourself otherwise.
4) Must be cool doing nothing scheduled every once in a while. Most of my life is scheduled and sometimes I just wanna get dumb and play like a kid again. That means, just hanging out talking, drinking something and being silly.
5) Must not bully. The second I see someone act rudely toward someone (friend or stranger) who in my opinion did not deserve it, I get real turned off real fast.
So, that’s been the unconscious process that has landed me so many amazing people. I’m not saying anyone should copy this and try it. Rather, I encourage people to think about what if any criteria do you have consciously or unconsciously. And then ask yourself if it’s working. If not, the fix might be as simple as fixing (or defining) your criteria.
PS. Thank you Vivi for posting your half joking/half serious (I assume at least) post that inspired this blog article. It got me thinking about friendship.