What Constitutes True Friendship?
True-blue friends https://www.betterup.com/blog/qualities-of-a-good-friendare rare, indeed. We all need a tribe, https://aleteia.org/2017/03/14/the-8-types-of-women-you-absolutely-need-in-your-friend-tribe/and a few trustworthy friends in order to navigate this life with the proper support. “A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter. He that has found one has found a treasure.” Sirach 6:14-16 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Sirach%206%3A14-16&version=RSVCE
I have narrowed down 3 of the best qualities in a friend, and 3 of the worst.
Best Qualities in a Friend
Paramount to any friendship is listening. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/347852.The_Road_Less_Traveled
M. Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled book, has the best chapter on conscientious listening I’ve ever seen.
Second, trustworthiness. If a friend leaks a confidence, devastation ensues. We must be able to share our true selves in a safe place.
Third, how do you feel after interacting with this person? As Maya Angelou once proclaimed, [paraphrased] You may not remember what a person said or did, but you will always remember how they made you feel.https://noteworthynonsense.com/blog/08/2020/Maya-Angelou-How-You-Made-Them-Feel
My Friend, Catherine Covington
Catherine embodies all three of these friendship necessities quite magnificently. She always listens to my dumb stuff in its entirety. She does not interrupt and hijack the conversation back to her own life, before I’ve finished. She asks questions and is patient. I am allowed to be myself –my full, human, sometimes quirky, goofy self. She loves me despite it. I am hugely blessed by her.
She is trustworthy like the integrity of strong steel. None of my shared details will go anywhere, ever, and I trust that with my life. Catherine reminds me when I’m berating myself, that it will all turn out okay. She states my achievements and helps me refocus on the positive aspects of my work and my life. Thank God for this woman!
Uh-Oh! Bad Qualities in a “Friendship”
Belittling will destroy a friendship sooner than you can say my name. In the past, I have put up with this kind of nonsense for WAY too long, out of a distorted sense of obligation. No more. No one has the right to place themselves above you. https://www.patheos.com/blogs/whatwithoutgod/2023/08/3-ways-some-christians-blow-it/In God’s kingdom, we are all equals. He wants us to support each other in this life, with all its trials.
Patronizing someone is disrespectful. A secure fellowship with another isn’t just a bunch of lecturing or trying to control someone’s life. True friends navigate this human existence with humble observations, and sharing their experience, strength and hope with each other.
Competition/Jealousy has no place in a buddyhood. Each party must cheer the other on, and be happy for their dreams realized, or be supportive when there is excruciating failure. “I told you so” is the kiss of death here.
Ghosting is the modern way of breaking up a romance or a platonic relationship. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghosting_(behavior)#:~:text=Ghosting%2C%20simmering%20and%20icing%20are,any%20subsequent%20attempts%20to%20communicate.
I experienced this with a very close friend a few years ago. It was baffling, as we shared everything and were in constant communication almost daily. We laughed and we cried together. My daughter even watched her cat. My husband laughed at this friend and I, because one day we were on the phone when he left for the day, and when he returned, we were still talking, eleven hours later.
I have zero clue what went wrong, and I had to grieve the relationship. There are two schools of thought on ghosting: One, an explanation is required, prior to ghosting. Two, disappearance without a trace is perfectly acceptable. I’ve read valid arguments for both of these scenarios.
At the end of the day, all have the right to decide who they want in their close-knit circle. If I am not right for someone, it is their prerogative to move on from me. Took me awhile to accept this, but I knew I had to, eventually, for my mental health!
God’s Gifts of People Who Are a Soft Place to Land
My best friends “handle me” well! They kindly tolerate my rants. They crack up with me about silly stuff. They don’t judge when I do foolish things. They help me make decisions when I am perplexed.
Catherine Covington used an artistic and hilarious way of helping me with a recent, difficult decision. She sent me a picture of her adorable dog, sleeping, with a think cloud above the dog’s head. This cloud said the exact words I needed to hear! I made my decision that very day and was relieved beyond belief. What a wise dog!
I have another cherished friend named Sue. I just absolutely love her Sue-ness. She likes to dress up as characters at her church. She’s been Nemo https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finding_Nemoand Sponge Bob https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SpongeBob_SquarePantsfor kids’ events. I wouldn’t necessarily enjoy dressing up, but I love that quality in her. We appreciate and value each other, and enjoy our differences.
We All Deserve Supportive Friends
God gave us each other! We need one another to make it in this world. We need humor. We need to spend quality time with our besties. We need to choose carefully with whom we share our innermost secrets.
Even Jesus took rare time out from His ministry to just hang out with his apostles and savor a meal. I believe He would like us to be able to do the same.https://www.bible.com/bible/compare/MRK.6.31-32