A Person’s Capacity
Is Determined By
The Number Of Secrets
In a previous post I covered 11 Negative Friendships To Avoid. Now that that’s out of the way we can look at the positive benefits of a great friendship. These are the things we’re all looking for and hope to find in a friendship.
A good friendship is . . .
Mutually Accepting (Respecting)
Friends accept one another but acceptance isn’t a freebie. We don’t give it away based on face value. It is earned, never just promised and it has context. A friendship is mutually accepting when:
- Neither is embarrassed to be seen with the other.
- Each recognizes the strength and value of the other.
- Neither is ignorant of or surprised by the faults of the other.
- Each believes in the intelligence and good intent of the other and, therefore, finds no reason to harp on the weaknesses.
- Different opinions are allowed for, even encouraged, and have no bearing on the friendship.
- Different interests add dimensions to the friendship rather than divisions.
One evidence that a friendship has achieved mutual acceptance is it is . . .
Friendships, like it or not, are about emotion. Friendships can be mentally stimulating but not always, and there are better ways to achieve that anyway.
Take a course, read a book, join the toastmasters, participate in chess tournaments or research a favorite topic. Those exercises are more mental specific than a friendship.
The primary focus in friendship is emotion.
Friendship also has little to do with physical benefits. Research indicates friendships are good for the immune system, and that keeps you healthy, but physical health is a secondary outcome, not the primary focus of a friendship.
The same research says laughter, an emotionally packed response, is another great booster for your immune system, and one place you often experience that is in a healthy, well balanced friendship.
If you’re interested in physical well being there are more direct ways to achieve it: exercise, diet, good work-rest habits and regular check-ups.
Again, the point of a friendship is emotion.
When both parties are comfortable being who they are in the presence of the other, the relationship is emotionally relieving.
It is disarming. There’s no threat or stress. In that sense it is healthy but it is mostly good for the soul.
When the best qualities of the other person don’t make you feel belittled, when being yourself doesn’t become the private joke, when you’re bad qualities are overshadowed by the good . . .
That is an emotionally beneficial friendship.
By the way, that kind of atmosphere should prevail at church too.
Only when religionized do churches take on the feel of a tribunal, where most of the people are judges or prosecutors, not friends.
One corner of a good friend’s soul is like Pandora’s Box. It’s the place they bury all the secrets they’ve shared, only once shared, the box is never opened or visited again by you.
In fact, really good friends forget the box is there. They never even let on that they are privy to intimate information. No one is aware that just below the surface is the Mother Lode of tales untold.
Not all secrets are dark but they are personal and sharing them makes them seem worse than they really are. Friends understand this and protect your secrets.
The point is, friends are better than confessionals. They absorb your grief. They allow you to verbalize problems out loud, without comment or judgment.
And you know you’re safe when you do.