Updated: Jun 15, 2020
My girlfriends and I often have discussions relating to friendships and the essential qualities that make up solid relationships. We talk about past friendships and the reasons behind the broken bond. What were the issues that caused years of an alliance to end as if it ever existed? We analyze the essential qualities of friendship: honesty, acceptance, low-maintenance, loyalty, respect, trust, and non-judgment. Following one of our many talks, I did some research on what it takes for a good friendship to thrive and discovered The Laws of Attraction by Great Minds by author Katherine Hurst. Hurst breaks down each of these qualities and advises her readers to recognize the difference between a toxic or genuine friendship. In my study, I compared my friends, past and present to each of the conditions, and realized that in any relationship, quality should always matter over quantity. In this article, I will compare some of my personal friendships links to how Hurst depicts the seven essential attributes of friendship.
Your friends should be able to tactfully tell you the truth, rather than you lying to keep you happy short-term. As a friend, they should never be cruel or abusive, deceitful of manipulative.
In my early years, I rarely exemplified this quality in my friendships. I was timid and afraid of hurting their feelings and potentially losing their "respect" as my friend. I always wanted to be in the "click," and if it meant not speaking up and expressing my honesty, especially if I felt mistreated by them in any way, then so be it. I "needed" my friends and I could not afford to lose them. I usually walked on eggshells when I was around those friends. I was careful about what I said and how to act. I did not want to come off as being judgmental and self-righteous. And, honestly, I can't tell you that my friends were always honest with me, maybe not to my face. If we can't genuinely express our true feelings, especially if it can positively affect our relationship, that is not exhibiting a robust and well-balanced friendship. As I look back, I believe if my friends and I were honest with one another and called each other out on our bull shit, we would never have to wonder if our bond was solid.
Presently, my friends and I exercise honesty. I appreciate that we can hold each other accountable for the decisions we make, primarily if it affects our friendship. Most times, being honest can be hard and a little uncomfortable, but we believe it is necessary because it takes away the "awkward" feeling by holding everything inside and facing the huge elephant in the room. So, if and when we call each other and say, "Hey girl! Okay, we need to talk," The initial response is always, "Oh Lord, what happened now?" Then we burst out in laughter and continue with our conversation. Once we hash out whatever differences we were dealing with, all is good with the world by the end of our honesty session. I not only respect it, but I welcome the opportunity not to have to beat around the bush and harbor uneasy feelings toward my friends because we chose not to be honest.
We should accept our friends even when their lives diverge from your own. We should understand that our life choices are not their life choices, and what might be right for you may not be right for them.
Now, THIS is a WORD! Let me take a moment to share the importance of acceptance and friendship.
Growing up with my friends in grade and high school, we did almost everything together. We were inseparable. It was like all of our hobbies, interests, and goals were in sync. As we matured into adults, everything started to change. We began experiencing different things and acquiring distinctive interests, hobbies, and goals. Good right? One would think so, but some of my friends were not having it. They described it as "acting different, " "bougie,” and "forgetting where you come from," (whatever that means). As I reflect on my adolescent years, I realize that at times I "dumbed myself down" for the sake of fitting in and wanting to be liked by all. I wanted to be accepted by everyone, and I dimmed my light in hopes of achieving that objective. That decision almost cost me the ability to discover my gifts and reaching my full potential.
When I relocated to Georgia over sixteen years ago, I met my best friend. That relationship allowed me to understand acceptance in friendship and why it is essential. When we first started hanging out, it was all fun, and we would party, enjoy cocktails over dinner and enjoy one another's company. She also accepted that I was married with three young children, and because she was single, sometimes I could not tag along. I recognized her life as a single woman and never questioned her decisions on dating, marriage, and starting a family. As the years past and our bond became more substantial, our times together were still fun, but our conversations matured with our friendship. We started talking about our God-given passions, gifts, short/long-term goals, and how we planned on achieving them. We made a pact to hold each other accountable for achieving those aspirations. Also, we had different hobbies and interests, which required us to socialize in separate social groups. Later, my friend started solo traveling more and exploring the world while I decided to pursue my education and continue caring for my family. We understood that our new agendas were going to allow us to evolve as individuals. We always accepted, motivated, and encouraged each other's visions. We did not make one another feel like one was against the other; neither did any of us feel like we were leaving the other behind. We celebrated and toasted our growth and good fortune with cocktails every chance we could. No longer did I feel guilty about outgrowing people who either had the opportunity to grow along with me or discontinuing people who no longer fit into my circle.
Friendships shouldn’t need attention every minute of the day. It should be understood that everyone has commitments. You should seek people with similar life styles.
I believe this quality ties close to accepting. Most of us live busy lives. Even in my marriage, although my husband and I do a lot of things together, we have different hobbies and commitments. For example, besides work, taking care of our family, and making a commitment to our weekend date nights, I enjoy going to outdoor concerts, and, recently, I decided to go back to school full-time. My husband prefers indoor events, and his commitment is to work hard to provide for his family and support our dreams. There were times when I had to sacrifice our date nights and travel plans. The same goes for my friends. That is why I find it refreshing that although my friends and I have similar lifestyles, we never feel like we are “ghosting” each other or feel neglected when we cannot see or speak to each other every day. I believe it is healthy for your friends to have different interests and other things to occupy their time besides you. Being low-maintenance allows you the opportunity to meet other people who share the same enthusiasm, and makes more interesting conversations when you and your friends unite once again.
Your friends should make you feel confident about who you are and not produce self-doubt. Non-judgmental is a characteristic of an overall good person. Friends should listen to you and do their best to put themselves in your shoes.
Sometimes in friendships, being honest can seem a bit judgmental, but there is a vast difference. When someone is judgmental, it is displaying excessively harsh and critical opinions of someone's character, which can lead to a toxic relationship. As mentioned previously, it is essential to exercise honesty in friendships, but do not mistake judgment for candidness. Each person is different, so in associations, you may have various similarities like hobbies and characteristics. We must remain mindful that when building solid friendships, it is imperative to accept your friend's lifestyle decisions as long as it is not toxic and causes distress to the next person. I feel that in friendship, it is essential to grow together and set primary goals, but because one friend may pace themselves differently when working toward their goals, they should never feel judged by their friends for moving at their own pace. They should feel supported and know that they can count on you to be one of their biggest cheerleaders. Also, we all face stumbling blocks in life that may cause a slight delay in our plans. Again, becoming judgmental of your friend does not represent the characteristics of a faithful friend. Being harshly critical of your friends is not an essential element of friendship.
Loyalty is unquestionable and one of the most important qualities of a good friend. The very best friend will help you out when you’re struggling whether money, love, mental health, or something else. Fair weather friends are only there when things are going good for you and have plenty to give.
My friends and I rely on each other quite a bit. I can depend on them to help me get through challenging situations and applaud me in my successes. As Hurst states in the above passage, we should be able to depend on our friends throughout various conditions. I’m not saying that we should overburden friends with extraneous issues and take advantage of their time and kindness. But, we should feel comfortable to lean on friends especially in our most vulnerable moments. Also, while we depend on friends when struggling and navigating through circumstances, we should not exploit loyalty by judgment and breach of trust. Loyalty is a vital attribute my friends and I have, which makes our bond strong. We are committed to leaning on each other during difficult and not so difficult times. We support each other, and once we overcome obstacles, we celebrate and continue to encourage one another.
Mutual respect is one of the most powerful traits of a good friendship, and a lack of it is a serious warning sign that you’re entering into an abusive dynamic. A good friend should keep secrets, not talk behind your back, and value your time. Your friend should be able to form their own opinions about you for themselves rather than listening to gossip.
The fundamental characteristic of respect is what I admire the most about friendship. My friends and I have a unique relationship, and people who are not familiar with our bond question our friendship. For instance, when I met my best friend, I was a newlywed. We met a few months after my husband, and I got married. My best friend was and still is single, five years younger than me with no children. However, we always respect each other’s boundaries and do not make the other feel uncomfortable because of our lifestyles. We meet each other where we are in life and respect the decisions that we make individually. Just because I was married with children and she is single, we did not allow others to intrude and help us form opinions about how and if we should build a friendship. We trusted and formed a bond through our own experiences.
Friendship that is built on trust are usually long-lasting and satisfying. Offer trust and make it obvious that you can be trusted.
Trust is not just keeping your friend’s confidential information they share with you, but it is about practicing all of the essential fundamentals discussed above. Trust in friendship is sticking to the morals of respect, loyalty, honesty, acceptance, and knowing that your friend will recognize your lifestyle decisions and never do anything to tarnish your character or sabotage other relationships outside of the bond both of you share. You should be able to trust that your friend has the best intentions for you and your friendship, providing a safe and non-toxic environment.
“Katherine Hurst: Author & Teacher Of The Law Of Attraction.” The Law Of Attraction, 23 Dec. 2019, www.thelawofattraction.com/people/katherine-hurst/.