When it comes to friendships, I have always been a slow mover. Being a friend is a big responsibility and should not be taken lightly. Based on my experiences, I have always been weary of two kinds of people: people that have a lot of friends and people that don’t have any friends. Not only is friendship a big responsibility but also it takes time and requires nurturing. I never randomly call anyone a friend because I believe that title has to be earned.
I have been truly blessed to have some great friends in my life.Each of my closest friends have been a part of my life for over twenty years. They have become more than friends at this point; they are more like my brothers. I can call on them for personal or professional advice and I know that I will get their honest opinion. All of my major decisions as an adult have included at least one of them.
Over the past twenty years we have celebrated birthdays, spent holidays together, traveled together, had many impromptu gatherings, celebrated career accomplishments, cried together, laughed together, supported each other during break ups, lived together, disagreed with each other, you name it. But at the end of the day we are still friends. These men are my anchors. There is one major condition in our friendship and that is we must progress upward together; one does not improve without the other!
As I started thinking about Friendship Day (August 3rd) and how blessed I am to have such great friends, I developed this list of qualities that characterize what I believe make up strong, successful friendships:
– Be spiritual or religious.
– Share common interests.
– Be respectful of your friends’ significant others; you do not have to be friends with them, but you must always maintain respect for their relationship..
– Feel comfortable to shed tears of joy and sorrow.
– Be connected enough to know when something is bothering the other.
– Spend quality time together without mates or dates.
– Push each other personally and professionally.
– Know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
– SHARE your innermost feelings. Friendships cannot be lopsided with one person sharing all the time.
– Understand that there is no subject that is off limits.
– Tell each other, “I love you” on a regular basis.
– Know each other’s families.
– Want to see each other happy and successful.
– Do not judge each other.
– Be trustworthy.
– Be dependable.
– Be accountable to each other.
– Communicate openly, frequently and honestly.
– Support each other.
– Prioritize each other. Location/Distance should not matter. If you friend moves you should visit each other.
– Be forgiving to each other.
– Inspire each other.
– Respect each other.
When you truly find an authentic friendship you will know it. The bond will be strong and could never be broken. In our lifetime we will meet many people but as the saying goes, “Some people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person!”
Friendship is an umbrella that shields you from the strongest of thunderstorms. All you need to do is hold on to it!