ON December 25, 2010, a 42-year-old woman in Britain posted a suicide note on a well-known social networking site. Her message sounded like a desperate plea for attention. Although the woman had more than a thousand social network “friends” online, not one came to her aid. The police found her body a day later. She had taken a fatal overdose.
Today, modern technology allows us to make hundreds, or even thousands, of social network “friends” by merely adding their names to our list of computer contacts. And when we wish to end one of these “friendships,” we simply delete that person’s name from our list. However, the tragic incident involving the woman in Britain underscores a startling reality—true friendship still eludes many. In fact, one recent survey revealed that although we are socializing more, the number of our truly close friends has decreased.
Like most people, you probably agree that good friends are important. You may also recognize that there is more to being a friend than simply clicking links on a computer screen or a smartphone. What do you look for in a friend? How can you be a good friend? What does it take to forge a lasting friendship?
Consider the following four guiding principles, and you to be the kind of person others would want as a friend.
1. Show That You Really Care
True friendship involves commitment. In other words, a good friend feels a responsibility toward you, and he really cares about you. Of course, such
commitment is two-way, and it requires hard work and sacrifice on both sides. But the rewards are worth the effort. Ask yourself, ‘Am I willing to give of
myself, my time, and my resources for my friend?’ Remember, to have a good friend, you first need to be a good friend.
WHAT PEOPLE LOOK FOR IN A FRIEND
“Like cultivating a beautiful garden, building a friendship requires a lot of time and care. Start by wanting to be a good friend yourself. Be
generous in showing affection and personal interest. And be willing to sacrifice your time when you are needed.”
“Modern-day society encourages egotism rather than altruism. So it means a lot when someone takes a sincere interest in you
without necessarily expecting anything in return.”
2. Be a Good Communicator
A true friendship cannot flourish without regular communication. So talk together about the interests you share. Listen to what your friend has to say,
and respect his opinions. Whenever possible, commend and encourage him. At times, a friend may need advice or even correction, and that may
not always be easy to give. However, a loyal friend will have the courage to point out a serious fault and offer tactful guidance.
3. Have Realistic Expectations
The closer we get to a friend, the more likely we are to see his flaws. Our friends are not perfect, but neither are we. Therefore, we should never
expect or demand perfection from the people we befriend. Rather, it is good to cherish their virtues and to make allowances for their mistakes.
4. Widen Your Circle of Friends
True, we need to be selective about the people we befriend. But that does not mean narrowing our choice of friends to those of a certain age or
upbringing. Taking an interest in people of all ages, cultural backgrounds, and nationalities can truly enrich our lives.