I’ve always considered myself a good friend, and thought I had good friends, but I said something to someone about someone else and that someone else heard what I said (we’ve all done this, right?). The someone else is my sister, who I was very close to for a very long time, but we seem to have drifted apart quite a lot over the last few months. What I had said and how the story was retold set off a nasty fight and caused a lot of hurt feelings. It all felt so high school and honestly I’m turning 34 next week – aren’t we supposed to grow up and let things like this go?
It was quite by accident on Monday that I found this particular article on News24, and it was just so relevant to what I was experiencing with my circle of friends. It also opened my eyes and made me realize that, although I may be a good friend (and I really do think I am), I can be better, simply by doing these things for my friends…
Some things good friends do instinctively
- Good friends keep things to themselves that were told to them in confidence.
- They are reliable about things such as prearranged dates, times, or contributions to a dinner party.
- They are not jealous if you have other friends. On the contrary, real friends are happy for you.
- Good friends phone or visit when you are sick, or your mother has died.
- They know when to listen and when to talk.
- They are of the few people to whom you can say that you are not well, and they don’t feel uncomfortable.
- They know when to back off – sometimes you just need space and they do not interpret that as a personal rejection, because they do not see everything from their own point of view.
- They will tolerate your lively children, or your grumpy mother-in-law or you boisterous fox terrier.
- They will be honest with you if you ask their opinion, but, once they have given it, will not hold it against you if you don’t follow their advice.
More things good friends will do
- Good friends never say “I told you so”, even if they are right.
- They will laugh and cry and be silly and drink a bit too much with you, but will not tell others about it.
- They do not make you feel that you have to spring clean your house before they visit.
- Good friends are not jealous of your success or your nice new boyfriend.
- They will not allow other people to say nasty things about you in their presence without defending you.
- They will encourage you to do adventurous new things, such as skydiving or dyeing your hair, or going on a blind date.
- Good friends will laugh at your joke even if they have heard it six times before.
- They will take you out on your birthday if you have nothing planned.
- Good friends don’t automatically expect you to agree with them on matters of sex, politics and religion.
- Good friends will fetch you if your car breaks down at 2am.
- They will go to the divorce court with you or visit you in hospital.
If you don’t have friends who do these things for you, it might be because you are not doing these things for them. It’s not too late to start right now.
(Susan Erasmus, Health24, updated September 2012)
I am very pleased to say that last night broken fences were mended over 2 bottles of wine (I am feeling it this morning) and we have agreed to leave the crap in the past and work on strengthening our relationship, for ourselves and for our daughters.
As for the rest of my friends – I love them dearly. My friends are the family I choose for myself, and I know I have chosen well. I would be lost without them.
I am looking forward to celebrating my birthday next week with these special ladies, and hope that I will be celebrating with them for years to come.