Rules for True Friendships

Daily Prompt: Litmus, Litmus on the Wall

If you had to come up with one question, the answer to which would determine whether or not you could be friends with a person you’ve just met, what would it be? What would the right answer be?

When I sat down this morning to write this post, I thought it would be easy. But the more I sat there, the more stumped I became.

What question would I ask to decide whether I could be friends with a person I just met? I’m really still not sure what the question is.

I’ve been let down hard by many so-called friends over the years. I’ve also learned a lot through these trials. Sometimes it makes me not want to keep trying because it seems that most of the time when I let someone in, they end up turning around and stabbing me in the back.

For now I keep trying. I’m a lot more cautious and I do wish there was one question I could ask and one answer I could hear that would decide if they person was someone who would truly love me and be my friend, but I really don’t believe there is just one because everyone is unique, formed by the experiences of their lives.

I have learned a few things over the years to help choose better friends and be a better friend. Without these things, true friendship is almost impossible.

  • Communication is essential to a long-lasting friendship. No matter how hard the subject, a willingness to talk about what is troubling you and a willingness to listen from both sides is a must. You’re willing to tell or to listen that a sweater looks awful, rather than pretending it looks great or willing to hear that someone is acting like a shithead.
  • The willingness to stick around for the awesome, just okay, bad and the ugly crappy stuff. Fair-weather friends always turn tail at the first sign of trouble or don’t even show unless it’s convenient in the good times and you’re left with no one. Social media friends don’t really count at all unless they happen to be real world friends as well. True friends are willing to help you muck out the shit even if it’s still raining. You might not always like it but you stick around anyway.
  • Friendships are two-sided not just one. Both parties must be willing to give and receive. Using people and never giving back, never works for long.
  • Differences are okay. It’s okay for someone else not to believe exactly as you do but they must be willing to accept your beliefs without judgement, just as you should theirs. Of course that opens the door for you to learn new things and possibly acquire new ideas and beliefs but you should never feel pressured to “have to” change or hide your ideas or views just to be friends with someone else.
  • All friendships are not meant to be everlasting. People come and go in our lives as we change and mature. We attract the types of people to us that we need to learn something from at that moment. Some of them will adapt, change and mature right along with us, making them long-term friends while others will come and go with the quickness of a blink. What determines if they were a true friend is the feelings left behind. More than likely if you look back fondly on your memories with the person, they were a friend. If it’s bitter with plenty of hurt, they were probably never your friend to begin with.

So I’m going to keep thinking on the question and continue my quest for awesome friends. It all comes down to finding the right chemistry, being real and accepting others for who they are. You’re going to laugh, enjoy the company, giggle hysterically, get annoyed, cry, fuss and fight; it’s just whether or not you come out the other side still in love is what determines a true friendship.


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