Real Friends

I read an article called the “12 Qualities the Person You Call Your Best Friend Should Have” by Laura Argintar.  The 12 qualities named were:  No judgment, Genuine, Acceptance, Trustworthy, Respect, Forgiveness, Support, Dependable, Thoughtful, Listener, Shares your humor, and Loves you for you.

I agree, but I also think that those qualities should apply to anyone that you consider to be a friend.  For many people including myself, my siblings were my first friends.  Certain morals and values that were instilled in us during our upbringing prepared us for this undertaking.  Unbeknownst to us we were acquiring behaviors that would maintain our devotion to one another for life.

There have been many studies to indicate the differences in ways that men and women conduct their same-sex friendships. Most concluded that men and women connect differently.  Men tend to bond through commonality and doing physical activities together.  Also when most men talk to each other, studies indicate that it’s side by side communication, perhaps even skimming over personal subject matters without fully going into the nitty-gritty details.

Women on the other hand, bond through sharing and communication. When interacting with each other we engage in intimate communication about our personal lives and entrust that person with information close to our hearts.  Studies indicate that women typically communicate face to face for direct contact.

As my life evolved, so have my friends. When I was a teenager, I had several “best” friends.  Best friends from the neighborhood, church and school.  We confided personal information to each other and was the keeper of each other’s “life-changing” secrets – the ones you keep from your parents.  We thought we would be friends forever.

In my late teens and 20s, my priorities changed and so did my friends. While my teenage besties were still the keepers of my secrets and vice versa, we were experiencing life as grownups.  Our individual lives and careers placed demands on our time and distance between our face to face interactions.  We found ourselves spending more time building our careers than with each other, which consequently led to the start of new friends – at work.

In my 30s, I experienced other life occurrences like marriage and children that came with more responsibilities and unlimited demands on my time. While joining parenting groups, I met other new parents.  Not long afterwards, new friends emerged.  Although my old friends were always in my heart, any spare time was mostly spent with my new friends from the parenting groups resulting in play dates and the origination of new friends for our children.

I remember a passage from the book “Communion: The Female Search for Love” by Bell Hooks, one of my favorite authors.  In this passage, she states “Deep, abiding friendships are the place where many women know lasting love.  Women who are steadfastly heterosexual may live a lifetime without feeling true love between themselves and a heterosexual partner.”

That is such a powerful statement. It highlights the depth and significance of true friendships between women.  Another observation from Bell Hooks’ book was that in new relationships, women tend to become engrossed in their partners’ lives and discard their own friends – expecting that new partner to be everything love. Not realizing the impact of the losses until the existence of problems or the end of that relationship.  Regrettably, I can admit that some of my life choices have caused me to lose good friends along the way.  Now, I realize that life is always about the inclusion of the people who are primary in my life –who I turn to and who turn to me for never-ending consideration.

I’ve learned that being a good friend to others begets good friends for you. Sadly, I’ve also learned that everybody does not possess the integrities to be a good friend or even a friend.

So, the next time you introduce someone as your friend – Are they, really? 

I would love to hear your thoughts or comments.