How many hours of our lives have we spent worrying over the friends we have… or want? How many times have we second-guessed certain friendships, or completely blanked out when trying to create one? Often, we can underestimate the impact a few, seemingly harmless qualities can have on a relationship — even if it’s something as simple as an Instagram addiction or video game rage. Contrastingly, we may overlook the better traits of a person, while other times… we may not know what to look for at all!
We have all experienced the “Friend Quest” period in our lives before, and might even still be caught up in it. However, we often come to the realization that our ideal vision of a best friend and the options reality provides us with… don’t exactly correspond. We are forced to dig even deeper to find the most valuable gems — the ones who may be flawed — but will outshine and outstand the others. Although we cannot “customize” the other characters in our lives… and there are no 100% effective YouTube tutorials or guidebooks to finding a fitting friend, there are always a few specific qualities to look for in a possible companion.
The way one behaves during social interaction is often one of the first things others notice about them. Of course, not everyone is an outgoing social-butterfly… but think about whether their personality repels or attracts others. Do they act fake around certain people or create exaggerated stories and are only looking to please? Do they feed off of attention? Are they manipulative and controlling? Let’s be real… no one wants to be the sidekick of an annoying, attention-sucking dictator. While their bubbly, social personality might attract you at first, there is almost always a dark trait they are hiding. Someone who is humble, respectful, kind, not afraid to stand apart from the crowd, and ignores how people may judge them for being different is a remarkable person.
When large obstacles are hurled in our path… or we are trying something different or taking steps towards our goals… sometimes we need a little more support besides the repetitive “You can do it!’s” and “We believe in you!’s” from Mom and Dad. While we love our parents, we are all often wanting that motivation and encouragement from someone who isn’t super biased and sometimes annoyingly positive. However, someone who belittles, mocks, or discourages you — especially out of jealousy — is someone you definitely want to avoid.
That tense, arrogant, “I’m-still-better” vibe we pick up from certain people, I believe, is God’s way of telling us that He has a path for us all… and our path obviously leads away from that toxic snob. Even something as simple as a friend cheering you on as the last member of your video game squad makes us feel encouraged and supported — at least it did for me. Maybe I’m too desperate. Of course, a large portion of that motivation and drive needs to come from within you, but it is always nice to have someone whooping for you on the sidelines — or maybe even cheering you on as they run beside you.
If a person is willing to take the time to listen to your struggles, to give advice or support, and not try ranting about how their own weekend went… that shows true empathy from a true friend. Rather than being self-absorbed or ignorant of your issues, they decide to listen. Listening is one of the most crucial things which can strengthen a friendship… being able to hear each other out and help one another.
However, some find it easier to only pity and look down upon those who are struggling. Sometimes, they might even share your secrets or spread rumors to others behind your back. In other situations, Where there is a need to collaborate on ideas or feelings… a “friend” might decide to completely take hold of the steering wheel and lock you in the trunk — where your words are muffled by their own pride. Feeling sorry for someone or excluding someone from the equation is easy, but actually trying to listen, to collaborate, or assist… that is an effort only someone who truly cares for you would be willing to make.
In public situations where you may be searching for potential friends, I find that many people’s first instinct is to begin making conversation with as many people as possible. While this isn’t necessarily a wrong or bad technique for getting to know people, it may sometimes lead to you making false conclusions about others. Sometimes it is better to sit back and observe. Now by this, I don’t mean stalking, but simply watching other people’s behavior.
How do they behave when they are around certain people? What obvious and underlying characteristics do they possess? Do they act differently when they think no one is looking? Being observant in these types of situations can really help narrow down your list of people of interest. Once you identify those few whose personalities or interests you relate to or enjoy, approach them! Again, don’t turn this observing from the sidelines into creepily stalking, feel free to introduce yourself to and converse with whoever you want at any time. Just keep in mind that a different perspective can reveal a lot more to you.
There are many things that help create a best friend, and everyone has their own additional preferences. Maybe you would like to meet someone who is an adventurous nature-lover as much as they are a computer geek… or someone who loves to listen to heavy-metal and read classic literature. Whatever your vision or preferences may be, or however friendship you may already have is like… be sure you are constantly asking yourself; what specific qualities are you looking for in a friend?