Throughout my observations of friendships, both between my parents and their friends, and my friendships, I’ve seen what makes a good friend, and what makes a not-so-good friend. I am far from an expert on friendships, but if you’re my friend, you can expect the following (and yes, I do make mistakes – if I do, feel free to hold me accountable. 😀 ):
1. Transparency. I strive to be a person who doesn’t give off the false impression that I’m perfect – I would like to be someone people can identify with.
2. Confidentiality. If one of my friends shares something they’re struggling with, or something they don’t want shared, I won’t share it. If there’s a case where a friend thinks I’m disclosing even a hint of something they want private (this has happened in the past), I would really like them to tell me so I can remove it to their satisfaction.
3. Genuinely caring. Ideally, I’d like to be a person where friends feel comfortable sharing hurts/needs/etc., without worrying about me judging them or being too quick to offer advice. Having very few friends for most of my growing up, I always wanted someone where I could share some things I was struggling with – things I didn’t even feel comfortable sharing with my parents, due to various reasons. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Oh, and about teasing – I do like to tease my friends, but only to the point where they are having fun. If they aren’t having fun, then that’s where I stop. If one of my friends genuinely isn’t having fun, I would really like it if he/she told me that, and I will stop (and yes, this has happened to me before). My kind of teasing is where everyone laughs, even the “victim”. Consequently, you won’t see me teasing others (intentionally, anyway) about sensitive issues, for example, who they “like”, weaknesses they’re struggling with, teasing that makes them feel unnecessarily awkward, etc. If I’m doing one of those things, I would like to know, so I can stop. 🙂
4. Accountability. If you’re my friend, and I see that you’re going somewhere where you shouldn’t be going, you can bet I’ll try to help you get back on the right path. No matter how long it takes. 😀 I would hope my friends would do the same with me.
5. Usage of friends. i.e. I don’t. My mom has had friends that were friends with her for what they could get out of it – when they were done with her, they “moved on”, and basically left my mom in the dust. That was very hurtful to her, and I saw firsthand what happens when someone does that. People can be so mean, sometimes. 😦 Anyway, when I’m friends with a person, I’m friends with them because of who they are, not because of what they can give me. If you’re my friend, you’re basically my friend for life – it doesn’t matter what you go through, what you say to me, etc. If God loved me, a person who is quite undeserving of such love, enough to send His Son to die for me, surely I can remain friends with others, even when they’re not having a good day. 🙂
6. Being offended. I can’t recall a time when I was offended. Seeing firsthand someone who is offended at the slightest perceived offense made me want to go in completely the opposite direction with my friendships. If you say something to me that can be taken the “wrong” way, I do my best to take it the “right” way, and assume the best about my friends. After all, we’ve all made mistakes before, and said things that have come out wrong – why should I assume it was intentional?
7. My “availability”, esp. IM. I make it a policy to never go “invisible”. If I say I’m busy, I’m busy. If my status is green, I’m (usually) available. If it’s yellow, I’m away. If any of my friends has a pressing issue they want to discuss, I want to be available if at all possible. Again, it doesn’t matter if it’s a happy occasion, a sad occasion, a problem someone wants solved (I’ll assist with any problem if I can, but my specialty is computers. 😀 ), a need to debate/discuss something, or if someone just needs to talk to someone, as long as my status is green, I’m available.
Anyway, I’m sure more principles I follow will come to me, but the above are the ones I really try my best to follow. I’m definitely not perfect, and my shortcomings are quite evident, but I do try my utmost to keep the above principles in mind. If anyone has any suggestions/principles/critiques of the above, I’m more than open to hearing them. 🙂
P.S. I tend to be rather curious, so if you don’t want IMing you about your status messages, please do either one of two things: (1) Write really boring ones that I couldn’t care less about, (2) let me know I’m getting annoying. I really don’t mind it if someone tells me I’m annoying – if I’m bothering someone, I really do want to know, so I can back off.