Believe it or not….. I am a relatively private person. I know – SHOCKER! The reality is that most of the people that I call friends would tell you that I don’t really talk about the deep, private stuff. I will totally be there for you in that regard but I don’t really share that side of myself with people. There are very few – less than 5 who I have let into the inner circle.
The thing is, I was never that way before. I think the change happened in me when a very dear friend, a best friend….. you know, the one that is THE friend. The one who knows your deepest, darkest secrets. Knows you better then you even know yourself sometimes. Well this friend, believed that I said something to someone in their life causing a very hurtful and devastating emotional situation in their life to erupt. I don’t want to go into the whole story but the truth is – I would NEVER do what I was being accused of to anyone let alone someone I had loved so deeply.
I was devastated and it felt for years like I was emotionally destroyed. I couldn’t understand how someone who supposedly “knew me better than anyone else” was so totally blind to my character, integrity and honesty. I literally drowned in pain realizing I had shared my most intimate emotional self with someone and they never really saw me. I lived with heartbreak for years and when new relationships were presented to me I became leery and reserved.
Its been sixteen years and I still have a hard time crossing the boundary of friends to inner circle friends. Thus the reason there are so few who really know anything deep about me. So today I was thinking about what makes a friend and this is what I have come up with…. mind you it is totally my perspective. You can do with it what you will:
- Honesty – I need to know that the person I am dealing with is an honest person and that I can be honest with them without fear of fallout.
- Integrity – As unfair as it may seem they have to prove their have integrity to me before I can even think about opening myself up to them. I don’t actually test them but I am observing and I pay attention to how they handle their own life situations.
- Laughter – I can take things pretty serious, especially about myself, so I need someone who can make me laugh. If you can make me laugh about myself – all the better.
- Dependable – I need someone who I can count on. Really. I need them to show up when they say they will, call when they say the will, do something when they say they will. I need to know I can depend on them – bottom line!
- Adventurous – I tend to be a stay in the comfort of my home and become a hermit type of person. That doesn’t mean that I don’t love a good adventure. Actually I crave them which is why I need someone to encourage me to be more adventurous.
- Level-headed – I am not one of those people that can deal with eternal drama. I need the people closest to me to be level headed and even keeled. Keep the drama away. I can deal with drama when I need to but it isn’t what I want in my closest relationships.
These are the things I look for in a friend and before you ask, yes, I expect to give all these things in return. Friendship is a two way street after all. I have found over the years that friendships are what has kept me sane in event he most stressful situations. I value them. Take care of your friends, honor them and protect them and let the friends that appear to bfriends but aren’t really go. You will thank yourself later.