Monday, August 15, 2011
As write this I am reminded of something I read when I was younger, "Friends and good manners will carry you where money won't go." These are very simple words, but none that could more true. The friends I have made over my lifetime and loyal and the manners my mother taught me speak volumes about who I am as a person and friend.
With all of the Hallmark holidays we have in the world, I wonder how many of you knew that today was Best Friend's Day? Who knew? What I have learned through my life about being a good friend cannot be that much different than anyone else.
I've learned and truly believe that it is about being reliable, kind hearted and thoughtful. If you're willing to be there through the hard times, stand up for your friend and to share your thoughts and cares with a friend, then you'll develop and maintain a friendship that endures and is reciprocated in kind.
I've also learned that having a good friend isn't about who you knew the longest, but who never left your side. Someone that understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.
One of the most amazing experiences in my life was becoming a parent and a becoming a friend for them to confide in too. I know that many of you will agree with me when I say that there are times that you must put the parenting aside and provide a good ear, a friend's ear, in order to hear your kids out and be sure not pass judgment on them. There is a dual reward in it for you. I believe that not only will there be less stress in the situtation for you, the parent, that you will look at the situation through a different lense. A lense that allows you to see part of yourself live within your children. I also believe and have learned by doing so, that our kids will learn to have more self confidence with this approach and end up making more enriched and well thought out choices. Not only that, but we have taught our children the true value and meaning of friendship.
Nothing in life is easy and it isn't given to most of us on a silver platter. We have to learn our way through each process. Being a good friend is no different. So, as we celebrate friends of the world today, I would like to suggest three things for all of us to stop, recognize and make part of this process.
Live by the golden rule. Always treat a friend as you would want to be treated. Don't do or say anything that you wouldn't want done to you. Be there through thick and thin as long as that is how you feel as a true friend. Don't begrudge everything as a favor that has to be repaid immediately.
Don't use your friends as a measure of your worth – you have value.
Seek to deepen your friendship over time. The more you are with one another, the less you idealize each other and the more you accept one another for who you really are. This is what being a truly good friend is really about – caring deeply for each other, warts and all.
Your own behavior can model what makes a good friend. When others, including your own friends see you being loyal, caring, and thoughtful to all of your friends, it can only solidify the importance to them what it means to have you as a good friend.