What is good Friendship made of? – Thoughts for Valentine´s Day

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Valentine´s Day is coming. Here in Finland we celebrate February 14th as a Friendship Day.

A beautiful friendship

Today, my friend came to visit me and she said the most beautiful words of friendship:  “Kaija, I have been listing people in my life, I thought each and every one of them and then decided that these people, not very many, are the ones I want to have in my life and be in contact with. You are one of them.”  I was so touched and I truly appreciate this valuable friendship.  It´s not the quantity, but a quality that counts.

How do you recognize a good friend?

When I was at my 20´s, a wise older man asked me how many good friends do I have? At that time life was very social and I considered quite many persons to be my friends. I probably answered him that I have 7 or 8 close friends. He said that's not true! A person can have 2-3 true friends at the most. I didn't agree him then but later on I understood and his words have come to my mind several times. Now I know what he talked about. True friends are rare and they stand out especially in these two occasions in life:

  1. SUCCESS. When you succeed in life, get a promotion, fall in love, win in a lottery or get lucky in any other way, can the others be truly happy for you? People might say they are but do they really mean it from their heart? Or is there jealousy or gossip going on? What about you, can you be honestly happy for your friend´s happiness
     
  2. MISFORTUNE. Another measurement of friendship is any misfortune: a divorce or a break from a boyfriend, losing a job, getting ill, a death in the family or whatever difficulties life brings. That is when a true friendship is weighed. Will you get the support you need, a shoulder to lean to, someone who listens to you and understands you? It´s not seldom that people in difficult situations don´t know what to say or how to handle it, so they just disappear. Can you give empathy and support to your friends when they need that?

Treat others as you´d like yourself to be treated

This classic statement is so true! Put yourself in the other person´s shoes. Look the life from her/his perspective. How would you like to be treated? Then act according to that. This is what I appreciate in friendship:

  1. PRESENCE. Respect another giving your time and presence. When you talk with your friend in a mobile, concentrate on that conversation. Don´t do other things at the same.If you meet face-to-face be present with your whole body. Be there for that person
     
  2. LISTEN. We've got two ears and one mouth for a reason. Even if speaking also is important, so is listening. Truly listen to another, also what is not said. Sometimes that is more important than what is said. Listen beyond the words. Listen with your heart and intuition.  
     
  3. TRUTHFULNESS. We are mirrors to each other. Very often we say things just to please the other person - or make ourselves feel good when doing so. Of course it is nice to hear flattering things about ourselves but that may not be very honest. The truthfulness is speaking from your heart. It can mean saying also unpleasant things but the meaning is absolutely not to hurt another. On the opposite. By speaking your truth you give another a possibility to grow. Maybe he/she has not thought about that point of view at all. Maybe he/she is worth of the truthfulness instead of pleasing words. 
     
  4. TRUST. Without trust there isn´t friendship. First you need to trust yourself. Only then you can trust another person. The mutual trust is an unspoken rule and the code of commitment.

Check the quality of your friendship!

  1. Be honest to yourself: who is your true friend and who not? Use your energy to people with whom you can be authentic and free. Focus on those who are good for you, inspire and energize you, support and bring joy, speak their truth. Don´t waste your time and energy to people who eat your energy. So, who are your people right now?
     
  2. What´s your contribution to the friendship? It´s not about how often you speak or meet but how will you show your respect and love, how much do you honor your friendship? What are the concrete actions to maintain a valuable friendship?
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