6 Traits of A Strong Friendship.
Over the years, I do believe I am starting to understand how friendships work. No doubt, this simplified understanding will be refined as I get older.
One or more of these traits can be a blessing:
1- Surpassing the Trivial.
You may not know their favorite color, their birthday nor their past.
‘Bonding’ with people has nothing to do with the details. Just because you spend a lot of time with each other, or the fact that you were childhood friends, or simply because their lifestyle is convenient, does not make your friendship any stronger. On the contrary, chemistry can form when we least expect it. I met a person in a restaurant only once in my life, but I felt connected. Another example would be a co-worker I met only last year. Even though my first impression of him was not the best, we later became close, so close that I consider him a companion, a brother.
2- Mutual Understanding.
There is rarely a need to justify your past or future. You don’t have to explain every choice you make in the present. There is a beautiful sense of understanding, and being understood.
3- A Respect of Values.
You won’t like everything about that person. Sometimes, you may be on the opposite sides of politics, religion or whatever you hold strong opinions on. Feel free to change dinner plans with them, but don’t try to correct their value system. Never disrespect what they believe in. Accept them as a whole.
4- A Foundation of Trust.
I usually don’t like working in teams because of my tendency to do the majority of the work (dirty work included). Not only because I feel obligated, but I also feel a need to protect the team. A childish need to be the hero, maybe?
Recently, I was assigned to a project with two co-workers, myself being the third. I have always done more than what is expected of me in team projects. But…During that week, I was so tired and overwhelmed to the point I decided to do minimum effort. I felt ashamed, guilty and defeated. I told this to my co-worker, who became a close friend earlier that year.
He calmly replied ‘Don’t worry, I’ll take care’. I knew that moment, I could finally trust and let go. Words cannot describe how it feels to have someone pick you up when you fall. A beautiful quote by a manga character:
“ Team isn’t just something to be protected. A team also protects you. We don’t support each because we are a team. We are a team because we support each other”.
5- The Best You.
A good measure of a friend is how they respond to your success, whether small or big. You may have noticed this, but people react differently.
Some will be curious enough to ask. Others will secretly feel threatened by it. A minority will passively try to let you down, but the majority won’t even listen to begin with. But there is that someone…who is genuinely happy for you. And you can tell from his/her facial expression. To put it simply, a friend will cheer for you when you succeed, and won’t hesitate to give you a harsh wake-up call when you drift. True friendship grows with the growth of both individuals. It brings out the best version of yourself, and motives you to become better everyday.
6- Absence of Judgement.
Friends who don’t judge. So simple, yet so hard to find.
Imagine this, you can express you who are, your true self, without worrying about judgement. You barely have a mask on. You automatically let your guard down. You share weird stories that you normally don’t share with others. You express fantasies that are crimes in the public eye. You are not afraid. You are free to be what God created you to be.
Maybe that’s too good to be true, maybe a complete absence of judgement is impossible. But 70% absence is still amazing, don’t you think?
To be honest, most of my friendships don’t have these traits. But a few of them do, and that’s enough.