Can you count the number of your friends with your fingers?
I know I can’t. I meet so many people everyday that I consider friends. We go out for dinner, movies, drinks , jogging, the usual activities friends usually do. These are my friends: people I can share my joys, my sorrows, my intimate details with, as well as being able to give affection to.
But then there was a time where I was homeless for 5 months. Living out of a suitcase, it was a miserable and uncomfortable time in my life. It tested my definition of privacy, and stability and shelter. In the midst of this testing period, though I lost a home, I discovered my true friends.
How I know who my true friends are? Here are 3 traits:
- Loyalty – True friends help in times of need. I was sheltered by many of my friends over those few months. They were able to open up their homes and their hearts for me to get time to get back on my feet again. True Friends don’t sell out; they are honest in correcting me when I am going astray. They speak the truth not out in harshness but out in love. Lastly, loyal friends will protect me when I am attacked. Not only physically, but verbally, mentally, or any form of attack. These type of friends are willing to put themselves in harms way for a friend. Amazing isn’t it?
- Shared Vision – This does not only mean having similar interests and hobbies like badminton, music, or movies, but can also extend to identity and mission (deep eh?). Because, interests and hobbies changes from time to time, so what similarities of your friends won’t change over the short term?
What kind of people are closest to you? Are they misfits? Do they lead misleading and destructive lives? Even if you think you are an angel (and are super cute), if you have devilish friends, your wings will start to tarnish. It has been said that “Bad company corrupts good character“. So what kind of company are you keeping? Are you prepared to share their vision?
- A Giving Heart – I used to have a motto – True friends are those who treat me out for dinner. Hah, this is hardly the case. Of course friends give money, food, now shelter, and support out of good will but true friends won’t expect you to return it back. They give not out of expecting a favour back, but for support and sacrifice. When I treat my good friends out for food or drinks, or even presents, I do it without expecting anything back from them. My joy is from their faces lighting up when they know I am being generous to them. It is worth all the money and time in the world.
Friendship is not only about friends, but it’s about relationships as well. Simply said, friendships are the basis of relationships. Relationships are not only about romantic ones, it also includes employee-supervisor, husband-wife, parent-child, teacher-student relationships too! How can I be a good teacher if I’m not a friend with my students?
As for relationships of the boy-girl nature, I’ve learned to establish a strong friendship first before moving on to a more intimate relationship. Yes i know many of my north american friends would tell me that I’m slow moving, as the it is typical to be a boyfriend first then be a friend (after you’ve broken up!), how can I be a good boyfriend if I can’t be a good friend?
Come to think of it, I can count the number of TRUE friends on my hands. (i have 50 hands by the way, joking!)