I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a best friend. We often thoroughly think about what we’re looking for in a romantic partner, but rarely do we think about what we’re looking for in a best friend; one can argue that the role of a best friend is equally important, for they are our support system through the many stages of our lives and have come to know the deep-rooted layers within us.
It’s not easy to find friends that prove to be trustworthy, reliable honest, communicative, compassionate, and fun. Some have criticized me for taking the best friend status seriously. If you’re my partner in crime, trusted advisor, holder of my secrets, you are at the forefront of my life. But once those qualities fade away, once the trust is violated, friendships that we once believed to last forever can become toxic and eventually fall apart. The hurt happens; it’s deep, and sometimes deeper than a romantic breakup. Don’t worry, once healed, I’ll revise the job description, open the position, to find the right fit. The key is to look for qualities in people who you wish to project. Friendships are a reflection of who we are and like any relationship, you only get as much as you give. Take a moment to think about the people you consider your best friends. Take stock of the qualities you love most about them, write them down. Are they qualities that you posses?
I’ll describe the qualities I love about my handful of lovely, beautiful life mates. These qualities are portrayed by deep, intellectual, challenged women who have been through dark and light times, who wake up each day with challenges, and face them bravely. They inspire me to be the best as a best friend everyday. Without further ado, the best qualities that make a best friend deserve the title are:
I once heard that a best friend is like a “lockbox,” meaning that she does not share your juiciest secrets, even though mutual friends are relentlessly prying. If your BFF can resist the gossipers, she’s a keeper. You need to have mutual trust, and once that’s established, a foundation is built.
When in the trenches of life, we want someone to authentically relate to our struggles. We want to be comforted, and told that things will be okay, even when we aren’t sure they will be. This helps us keep living, knowing we will be strong because we have a team of friends holding the, “You can do it,” signs at the finish line.
This may seem like common sense, but don’t be fooled, this is the toughest quality. Why? We are sensitive beings, who take things personally. Once your BFF learns how you receive difficult feedback, this will be a smoother interaction.
As adults we deal with demanding stress. There’s nothing like opening a bottle of wine, and laughing until you cry with your best friend. This also allows you the opportunity to learn each other’s silly sides.
I’m a driven, hard-working person, and I expect the same from my friends, only because I want to see them thrive. Outspoken, assertive, and goal-oriented friends help motivate you to challenge yourself in your personal and professional lives. They will help with your resume, LinkedIn profile, email you jobs, and keep you on your toes.
Friends who encourage you to research and apply the ideas that have potential, and set aside the ones that have less potential, is revitalizing. It’s nice to have an unconventional perspective, especially when it comes to complex problem solving.
When my friends are centered, I’m centered. We feed off each other’s healthy and unhealthy habits, encouraging each other to make positive choices.
Besides being trustworthy, this is the second most important quality I look for in a best friend. If you aren’t there when needed, there’s no reason to waste energy on facilitating the friendship.
This is a quality that is hard to find. Superficiality is easy, and depth is hard. It’s important to be able to intellectually discuss dating, politics, social injustices, and working out, knowing your best friend has a deep soul, thriving heart, and inspired spirit.
When asking for advice, or admitting to a mistake or problem, you don’t want to immediately be judged. In order to keep best friend status, you need to feel comfortable talking to him about anything, not fearing harsh feedback. This is also helpful when you need your horizons expanded, so you can hear fresh ideas from a trustworthy source.