When you think of the word “friend,” what comes to mind? Is it someone who is loyal? Compassionate? Supportive? While these are qualities many of us seek in others, friends can serve another purpose, which is to help us grow. As important as the friend who “always has your back” might be the one who doesn’t let you get away with less than desirable behavior—toward yourself and them. As we celebrate Friendship Day in August, here are some additional qualities worth seeking in a friend:
- Healthy boundary setting – it’s nearly impossible to never cross a friend’s boundaries (whether physical in nature, thought-related, emotional, or spiritual) because each of us has a different set of them. For example, one person may love giving hugs while her friend is uncomfortable with physical affection. When boundaries are firmly established, communicated, and respected, there is rarely a need to withdraw from someone who has hurt you. Passive aggressive behavior can also be avoided.
- Honesty – when friends communicate their thoughts and opinions in a kind, loving manner, there is also less room for conflict. Yes, sometimes the truth hurts, but when you know that you can expect the truth from your friend, and that her intentions are good, the sting tends to lessen.
- Good listening skills – sometimes the most supportive thing a friend can do is simply listen and try to understand the other person; this is especially true when there is a strong difference of opinion involved. Being able to say, “I may not agree with you, but I hear what you’re saying, and I am trying to understand where you might be coming from” is key to sustaining any long-term friendship.
True friendships are golden. Happy Friendship Day from Insights!