I am obviously close with my girlfriends (just read the title of my blog). I have had the great fortune of finding incredible-out-of-this-world-girlfriends over the course of my 30+ years of life, but finding and maintaining friendships is not intuitive.
There are times I hear people talk about “friends” in an unflattering light and I wonder, “Why are you even friends with this person?” So here are my thoughts on finding and evaluating awesome friends.
7 steps to uncovering awesome friendships
1. I find this person fascinating.
There is just something about them which mesmerizes you. They have a certain quality, trait, or characteristic which draws me in. This reads like something you would find on an online dating profile, but it’s not. For example, I have friends with an insatiable thirst for knowledge. They are constantly reading, researching, exploring, and questioning the status quo. I think their hunger for knowledge is amazing. They never feel like they have learned enough. There is always something new and interesting to share. My bonus: they make me a better person for learning about what they discover too!
2. I admire them.
They have a characteristic I wish I could be more like. Like a super hero power, they have an awesome ability I greatly admire. For example, I have friends who are incredibly kind, giving, and have an unequivocally generous and forgiving heart. They are awesome at making lemonade out of lemons. Who couldn’t use more of these super powers in their lives?
3. They challenge me.
My girlfriends force me to be more of myself. They push me to stand up for what I want. They encourage me to stand up for what I believe in. They do not let me slack off and lose my “Michelle-ness.”
4. They support me.
Whether it is good ol’ fashioned drama, dealing with a tough situation at home or at work, or handling unexpected news (like a twin pregnancy), they are always there to offer emotional support. When called for, they will kick it up a notch and (even when not explicitly requested) roll up their sleeves and pitch in to help in-person. When I need them, I have a core group of gals I know I can count on to provide support near and far.
5. They are reliable.
In order to provide the best support, friends should be reliable. It’s easy to talk the talk, but walking the walk is a whole other ballgame. I do not need to second guess the date or time, confirmation is a formality and I never anticipate last minute cancellations. When my friends say they will do something or be somewhere… they are there come hell or high water. It’s easy to deal in excuses, but what you actually do says so much more.
6. They put effort into the friendship.
This goes hand in hand with being reliable. Friendship is a give and take. Takers need not apply. We all work (in or out of the home), we have marriages, children, homes, appointments, our “to do” lists are never-ending, but there will always be something going on. Maintaining friendships takes on its own unique amount of effort, but the outcome is absolutely worth it. I am not on Facebook and my cell phone does not text message, but I manage to stay in close contact with my friends. When you put the effort in, friendship becomes invaluable.
7. They like me for exactly who I am.
I’m not trying to channel Bridget Jones, but acceptance and understanding is something we are all searching for in life. Before I met my husband, my friends were the first people I truly felt understood me and accepted me for exactly who I am. I have met so many cool people and I am always astounded when someone likes me for being exactly me. Today, my friends and I poke fun at each other and occasionally razz one another, but the truth is they see the real me and don’t recoil in disgust (it’s the pre-teen awkward version of myself lurking deep down inside who worries about such things). There have been plenty of situations my friends knew me better than I knew myself and it’s OK. They give me the opportunity to learn my own lessons in time. They don’t tell me what to do (everything is a suggestion) they embrace me, love me, and continue to want to hang out! Woo hoo!
These seven items are a tall order for awesome friendship. So, what it boils down to is if you find yourself not feeling super excited and thrilled to spend time with someone – are they truly your friend? We all deserve awesome friendships, don’t settle for less.
Upon reading this post, one of my besties (who inspired the creation of this blog) had something important to say. Read: …And friendship is a two-way street