What is True Friendship?

Today I had a long conversation with my daughter about true friendship. She had experienced a situation with someone who she thought was a good friend. They had made plans to go to her friend’s cottage. Unfortunately, my daughter had missed a detail about the timing of a meeting that was planned for the day they we’re leaving. She asked her friend if they could adjust the schedule. The friend was not able to get past my daughter’s mistake and decided not to adjust the schedule.

I personally have made that mistake in the past and even double booked meetings. In each case, people were able to adjust their schedule. I pointed out that we are all fallible and that anyone can make schedule mistakes. However, this time her friend was unwilling to work out the situation.

This made me curious about the qualities of true friendship. During this pandemic I have truly pondered this question. When I googled it, I found an article on the 7 Traits of Friendship That Affirm a Conscientious Life.

1. Friends who are empathetic.
Empathy is the ability to truly put ourselves out of our own shoes and put yourself in the shoes of another person. The article states that too often we make listening about ourselves by adding our own experiences. One of Dr. Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Effective People is Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood. True friendship is about being able to listen with your eyes, ears and heart. The greatest thing a friend can do is just actively listen.

2. Friends who are selfless.
I’m not sure about the word “selfless.” However, I do like the explanation that true friends are ones who are grounded, who care, and who do not always think about themselves. When a friend needs, they take action to help solve the problems of others. I believe that it’s very important to be able to to say, “I have your back.” I personally love such support and would be able to say that to my dearest friends.

3. Friends who are trustworthy.
Being trustworthy is a trait that is essential for understanding that the deepest relationships are the ones in which we can confide in each other. A true friend reminds you that you are not alone and empowers you to be the quality person you really are. Confidentiality is extremely important in a true friendship.

4. Friends with shared interests.
It truly helps to have something in common with a friend, whether it be hobbies, sports, goals, education, values, or religion, we generally prefer to spend time with people who have similar interests.

5. Friends with different perspectives and backgrounds.
Friends who come at life from different perspectives help us grow as a human being. Such different perspectives help us learn about ourselves and become a more well rounded person. Such different perspectives help us move from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

6. Friends who are humorous.
I totally agree with the article about the importance of laughter. I am personally attracted to people who see the humour in life. They bring joy, hope, and comfort even in the midst of life’s most difficult situations.

7. Friends who are team players.
When we are young, our parents teach us to share, to play fair, nice. The team puts the needs of the group, the team before their own. Being a successful team member is about communication, collaboration and active listening. It’s all about “We” versus “Me”.

I have discovered that I am very blessed to have a small group of people who I consider as true friends. It’s not about quantity but about quality.

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