Who would we be without our friends? From early on, they teach us the ropes. They give us building blocks for learning how to give and love, face life’s ups and downs, and how to laugh at silly stuff. They help us celebrate life and mourn losses. Find tactful ways to bridge differences. Create more peace and joy in the world.
The old saying goes, “To have a good friend, you need to be a good friend.” And it’s true. I got to thinking about what it takes to be a good friend. Not an acquaintance, but someone who is steadfast and true.
You may have other criteria, but here’s my list of some qualities of a good friend:
- They’re kind. You’d think this would go without saying, but kindness is often overlooked. This isn’t the “bend over backwards” thoughtfulness, but more the “stand by you.” When I moved, I had so many people help me! Giving up time on a weekend, they packed and tossed. Taped up boxes and helped me sort out what was important. And what wasn’t. One friend even helped me make my bed after everything was settled.
- They’re trustworthy. Secrets, fears and deep thoughts are just some of the things I can freely share with my buddy. These folks are discreet, and I know what I say will stay in the vault. They would never use my private information against me or hurt me in any way.
- They make time for me. I have several friends I connect with on a regular basis. One is a football freak like I am. We have our “Sunday morning meet-and-greet” to discuss teams and players. What coaches should do. Or not. We eagerly anticipate the season and count the days when the season is over, ready for fall to begin again. I have a monthly pow wow with another, and we straighten out the affairs of the world. I am on Zoom with a couple of colleagues and keep in touch with others too. They make time for me, and I am grateful.
- They’re playful. If not for good friends, I would never have ridden a dirt bike. Or traveled in an RV. (I never even knew anyone who did that.) Or sprung a practical joke of The Singing Grandmas. They play with me. They make me laugh at the most inopportune moments. To see a twinkle in their eyes is like Christmas morning. The world pretends to be a serious place, but this quality stops it dead in its tracks every time.
- They have heart-to-heart conversations with me. We go beyond “small talk” and catching up. We talk about just about anything. The topics go deeper than the fav TV show. Along with that comes respect, for we avoid some subjects that would simply ruffle the waters of friendship.
- They are steadfast. A good friend has my back. No matter what happens, I know when I need them, they are present without fail. As James Taylor and Carole King sing:
You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there
Yes, I will
You’ve got a friend.
There’s one more:
- They’re fearlessly huggable. During this time, we wear our masks, quickly coming toward each other, faces as far away as we can manage. We hug, then let go. There’s nothing quite like it.
Here’s to our friends! Live unstuck.