When examining who qualifies as a friend and who should never have been offered the position in the first place, some very difficult truths come to light. Common issues arise when friends do not meet the standard of qualities all friends need to possess. Before applying the standard to Mate, look at Quaint. How you conduct friendships is indicative of the way you will conduct marriage.
Honesty is the basis of truth. Truth is the foundation of trust. No friendship can survive without trust. Honesty must be reciprocal. Not only must both friends be honest to one another, but they must also being willing to accept the truth, no matter how harsh it may sound. Quaint truly does not want you to leave the house dressed like that or with spinach between your teeth.
When feelings have been hurt, a good friend should always have a dry, strong shoulder on which Quaint’s tears are more than welcomed. The compassion must also extend to include to tending your hurt feelings which Quaint is guilty of the hurting.
A friend is a confidante. You expect Quaint to keep your confidences. When you find Quaint has aired an item which was either solely between you or strictly yours, the damage can be deep. Quaint should never desert you in your hour of need, when your foot is firmly wedged in your mouth or when someone else is rumor-mongering.
Good friends will turn down tickets to the big game or concert to stay home with you, a bowl of popcorn, a box of tissues and the 400th showing of a tearjerker or horror classic when you are blue.
When your last move was as well planned as a Chinese fire drill, Quaint understands you were so impassioned by the lure of a new partner as to render your judgment a complete illusion.
A good friend loves you regardless of the decisions you make, even if using tough love by asking you if you were thinking at all. If not advising you against it in advance, a true friend will comfort you and help you rectify when you make poor choices.
Quaint will pat you on the back and tell you everything will be all right when you come home from the beauty parlor with a haircut best fitting Bozo the clown. Quaint will sit beside you on the side of the road to wait for a wrecker when you discover your shiny, brand new Chopper is a lemon. Without ever having been there, a good friend will hurt for you when you hurt.
When you have done something truly crass and thoughtless, Quaint will forgive you for both your impertinence and thoughtlessness. Good friends do not judge you for the terrible choices you may have made in your past and appreciate without those bad decisions you would not be the person you are today.
This quality should not be an ongoing request of either friend. As the friendship grows, you learn each other’s boundaries better and should stop stepping on the other’s toes.
A good friend will listen to a rant about how thoroughly perfect a dingbat your, as yet unannounced ex, Mate is and will not hold it against you. 99 times out of 100, Quaint will repeat exactly what you said; it will make perfect sense; and you both find out you knew exactly how to fix all along.
Quaint will also listen to laments, psalms, anecdotes and soliloquies. A good friend knows when to participate and when to just listen wordlessly. Sometimes, conversation is not necessary.
Good friends will never defy or deny you for their own gain. This is Quaint come rain or shine, snow or sleet, blazing sun or dark of night. Good friends never have 30 pieces of silver.
After two divorces, three dogs and six significant others, Quaint is the constant in your life. Relationships may come and go, but friendship is forever.
When what you need is a laugh, a cry, a sigh, a hug or a thump in the forehead, there is Quaint. Good friends enjoy each other’s company, even if they cannot remember what they talk about for four hours over margaritas or have come to the end of a some assembly required project with only three extra screws.
Before you go scoring Quaint, how did you score on the ten characteristics every friend must have? How does that weigh against Quaint’s score? Hmm. Did you both fall short? Where do you go from here?
When you come to Quaint with a heartfelt apology and a sincere plan to rectify identified shortcomings in your performance as a friend, with Quaint’s help, you can make a go of the friendship. If Quaint missed the mark as well, this is the time to discuss the absolute reciprocity of a healthy friendship.
If one or the other of you scored less than 50%, more time for self-discovery is necessary. Before offering your friendship to Quaint, you should be prepared to give 100%.
Have you had a 10? Have you been a 10? Which characteristic is the hardest to find? Which one is the hardest for you to give?
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2012
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