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  • Some of the reason why we aren't collectively so good at friendship is that we don't have a clear idea of what a really good friend might be like.

  • It may, therefore, be worth trying to draw up a list of an ideal candidate, so as to focus our desires and spur us on to acquire the sort of character we would want to find in others.

  • Firstly, the ideal friend knows how to show weakness.

  • The ideal friend doesn't try to prove how robust and successful they are.

  • On the contrary, quite often, they let us know awkward and potentially embarrassing things about themselves.

  • They show how much they trust us by confessing failings and sorrows, which would open them up to possible humiliation from the world beyond.

  • They offer us the gift of their vulnerability.

  • Secondly, they're genuinely interested in our sorrows and difficulties, and yet, they're not shocked or even surprised by the weird and stupid things we've done.

  • They're not judgmental.

  • They don't come down harshly and critically on our weaknesses because they know themselves well enough to be alert to their own odder and more troubled sides.

  • And they do us the graceful favor of assuming that behind the seams we are as radically imperfect as they are.

  • Thirdly, the proper friend is reassuring.

  • They don't just flatter.

  • They understand how easily we lose perspective, panic and underestimate our own ability to cope.

  • They know we've got zones of fragility that need to be treated very gently.

  • Sometimes, they get us to laugh at ourselves, when on our own, we'd be inclined to self-pity or rage.

  • Fourthly, a true friend helps build our self-understanding.

  • There are so many things we don't entirely comprehend about who we are.

  • We get agitated or defensive and we don't really know why. We find it tricky to pin down our goals.

  • We might have some strong opinions, but it can be difficult to explain, really, why these ideas matter to us.

  • The right friend listens and helps us piece together the best account of our fears and excitements.

  • Fifthly, they help us think, more often than it's comfortable to admit.

  • We don't quite know what we think until a proper friend gently asks us to expand on a thought to explain why we're impressed by it and to find good answers to possible objections.

  • They see the potential in what we're saying when we can't.

  • Sixthly, they help us to like ourselves.

  • The good friend likes us in ways we are not easily able to like ourselves. Normally, we're intently alive to our own shortcomings.

  • It's more obvious, from our point of view, what's disappointing or frustrating about us than what's endearing or attractive.

  • We need a friend because we're liable to be so very unfriendly towards ourselves.

  • We tend to think that a true friend must be someone we spend a lot of time with, but actually, the ideal other becomes part of us.

  • We internalize who they are, how they speak, the way they smile, the way they pause or get enthusiastic.

  • They continue to inhabit our brain,

  • even when we haven't been in touch for a while or when they're far away.

  • The good friend is always with us.

Some of the reason why we aren't collectively so good at friendship is that we don't have a clear idea of what a really good friend might be like.

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B1 good friend ideal true friend gently proper confessing

How to Be a Good Friend

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/03/25
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