One thing that we all need is a friend … or two, or three. Too many times we think of someone as a friend, when they’re really just an acquaintance. True friends have qualities that acquaintances do not. Can one or two people have all these qualities? Sure. I would say that if you find someone who exhibits all of them, you’ve found a true friend, maybe even a soul-mate.
Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit. –Aristotle
I believe there are 7 types of friends we all need. I’ve found all 7 in my wife!
A friend to listen to us
It happens so rarely, perhaps that’s why nothing is more powerful than the art of listening. When someone focuses on you and listens to your ideas, your thoughts, and your concerns, you’ve found a friend. Bonus points if they can listen without prejudice, passing judgment, or feeling the need to constantly give advice or tell you “what they would do.”
You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. –Dale Carnegie
A friend we can trust
Trust is a tricky issue and is rarely an “either/or” proposition. Trust is something that comes in degrees, but it is something that is a vital part of any friendship. As a matter of fact, without trust, there can be no friendship.
It is more shameful to distrust our friends than to be deceived by them. –Confucius
A friend to accept us
Acceptance is a willingness and an openness to see things as they really are without scurrying around trying to change them to fit our mold. For example, if you’re feeling tense, you’re just feeling tense. That’s it. A friend doesn’t think it’s horrible or catastrophic or that it will last forever. They certainly don’t think you won’t be able to handle it. It doesn’t mean anything, except that you’re feeling tense at a particular moment.
Acceptance doesn’t mean blanket approval. We can accept a situation without approving of it. Acceptance doesn’t mean we’ve given up. I can accept a diagnosis without giving up on treatment. Acceptance means we’re paying attention.
When your friends begin to flatter you on how young you look, it’s a sure sign you’re getting old. –Mark Twain
A friend to help and support us
Friends help and support each other. Simply put, a friend is loyal and will set aside his or her interests to help. They will faithfully support your decisions and help you see things from different perspectives, even if you don’t always see eye to eye.
There are three faithful friends – an old wife, an old dog, and ready money. –Benjamin Franklin
A friend to love and respect us
Love is putting someone’s highest interests at the top of your priority list. Respect is understanding that others actually can make a worthwhile contribution. It’s hard to have one without the other. A friend is someone who both loves and respects us.
A friend to hope with us
Hope is the confident expectation of great things to come. We need hope. Someone without hope is a pitiful, dying soul. We need friends who will build up hope inside of us, that will help us hang on just a little while longer when things seem their darkest.
Friends… they cherish one another’s hopes. They are kind to one another’s dreams. –Henry David Thoreau
A friend to challenge us
We need people in our lives who will challenge us to become better, to strive for more. No, I don’t mean in the sense of accumulating more things, or climbing the corporate ladder, but in becoming better in all the areas I’ve just outlined.
It is easy enough to be friendly to one’s friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business. –Ghandi
We need each other. Plain and simple. We need each other for friendship, for companionship, for fellowship.
Now the big question: How well do YOU stack up in these areas? Don’t answer that in the comments, but answer it in your own voice inside your head. Where do you need to improve your friendship skills so that someone absolutely needs you in their life?
When you choose your friends, don’t be short-changed by choosing personality over character. –W. Somerset Maugham