Friendship

Well, The Poet has taken me to task. While he found my list of 10 Things I’m Grateful For to be “thorough,” he thought I was “selling myself short” on the friendship:

“On question one you were especially thorough. But I think you sold yourself short on question two. You have much more you could say about what it means to have and be a good friend Abby that you did NOT cover in your lover’s list. Your friending of me shows how you can look past what you would want or even tolerate in a lover. Maybe the term is wrong – maybe I meant good or true friend. An example would be that a friend will listen well and truthfully and considerately tell you what they think even when it may be inconvenient or painful to do so. That’s more than being a good communicator. Other attributes could be charitable, kind, dependable, loyal, protective, etc. Give it a thought. No blog necessary unless you want to – just do the exercise. You may recall important attributes that will help in your spiritual search for a lover too.”

His point that I will accept things in people who are my friends that I might not tolerate in a “relationship” is correct. I have plenty of friends I wouldn’t consider living with! It makes sense that a lover should have the same qualities as one’s friends, since they would, essentially, be your best friend. That said, when I reflect on past exes, they all had qualities that I might not have put up with in a friend…The libido often makes its choices independently of the rational brain.

So in further pursuit of spiritual growth, I will do the exercise with friendship in mind. The Poet warned:

I think such exercises are best accomplished by taking some time before finishing or sharing to really think about what we are saying and what it means. The embrace and practice of humility plays a critical role in this. Blogging about it makes it that much harder to be and appear humble.

Point taken. I don’t believe time would change my responses. And there’s no way to appear humble when one is enumerating their best qualities. Maybe it should be leavened with a list of faults? Please forgive the extreme navel gazing, dear readers. Perhaps you could play along with me? What do you want in a friend? And what do you have to offer? All together now!

QUALITIES I WANT IN A FRIEND
A good  listener
A good heart
Dependable
Loyal
Understanding
Patient
Flexible
Agreeable
Super smart
Funny
Fun
Good conversationalist
Count-on-able
Empathy
Interesting
“Game” (meaning up for almost anything!)
Adventurous
Difficult (I know this sounds like a negative quality, but I do tend to enjoy people who aren’t “easy”…)
A great sense of humor
Clever
Sarcastic, caustic (sometimes!)
Quirky
Honest
Semi-skewed world view
Open-minded
Curious
Accepting
Emotionally available
Intellectually available
Or at least available in some way!
Well-read
The ability to call me on my shit

Okay, I think that’s enough. This list was a whole lot harder than the lover list. I have so many friends who are sooooo different. I like collecting oddballs! Hmmm…can I make a list of things I don’t want in a friend? That would probably be easier!

WHAT I HAVE TO OFFER A FRIEND
Honesty
Loyalty
Empathy
Patience
Love
A big heart
Understanding
The ability to listen, coach, counsel, hear, question, commiserate, conspire, compliment, encourage, advocate, advise, strategize, look at every angle, play the devil’s advocate, sit with and be silent…
A sense of humor
A sense of adventure
FUN!
Spontaneity (sometimes…)
Count-on-able
I keep my word
Accountability…and the ability to hold my friends accountable
The ability to cut through all the bullshit
Fierceness…in all its expressions…

I’m sure if I sat with this list for a week I could come up with more. Or different. And if I sat with it for a month, even more. But I’m gonna go with immediacy here (well, approximating immediacy, as I’ve been mulling this over for almost two days…) in the interest of blogging (almost ) every day.

Friendship is a topic worth exploring further, especially with my birthday looming. I’d invited many friends to celebrate my birthday at two different events. At the first event, only two friends joined me and the upcoming event looks like I’ll only be with three. It makes me wonder…Do people just assume I travel with a posse all the time? And that their absence won’t even be noticed? If anyone ever thinks that, let me say that I always miss the people who aren’t around. Always. I miss friends from 20 years ago right this second. If I’m at a party with 100 of my friends, I’ll wonder where the 101st friend is and why they couldn’t make it. Just so you know. Okay. Time to get out and enjoy the sunshine!

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