Thursday, April 3, 2008

Thursday 13: Qualities I Admire in my Friends

I'm super fortunate to have a great circle of friends. (You all know who you are. And if you don't know how I feel about you and why, this T13 should help.) Here are the qualities I admire most in those I call "friend." I only hope I give as much as I get from them!

1. A sense of humor: crucial to anyone who spends time with us. My friends are able to laugh at themselves (and me), at anything that goes wrong with well-made plans, and the world at large. Those with low capacities for silliness need not apply.
2. Undaunting support: Whether or not I'm around to hear them take my side, they always TAKE MY SIDE. They don't throw me under a bus or publicly humiliate me. Men, beware! Don't take complaints about your wife's quirks to us. We'll just toss back your own...ahem!...shortcomings for you to consider!
3. Understanding my serious moments: You know that old song, Laugh, Clown, Laugh? Yeah, well, even someone who finds humor in everything goes through gray days or experiences hurt feelings every once in a while. My friends never tell me I'm full of crap or I deserve to be slapped down. They offer hugs...and raspberry margaritas. Unlimited and unconditionally.
4. Sharing my failures and successes: True friends don't run away when the going gets tough. And when one of us has a minor victory of any kind, the others are truly happy. We do not diminish someone else's accomplishments or denigrate each other to make ourselves look better, smarter, or superior in any way.
5. They're upfront: If they question my motives or think I'm behaving badly, they discuss it with me before going to outsiders for explanations. And they don't speak for me unless I've asked them to!
6. No demands: We may have differing opinions on a subject and debates might get heated. But apologies are given freely and not because of threats or demands for them. And we all know sometimes the simple "agree to disagree" maxim works better than a grudging and hollow, "I'm sorry." If we fly off the handle and say things we don't mean, we're quick to 'fess up and buy the next round. Who could ask for anything more?
7. They know my faults (and I know theirs) but we don't share them with outsiders. And we love each other because of these faults, not despite them. (And then we poke fun of those faults, which kinda goes back to #1!)
8. They see me: Not my house, my clothes, or my car. They don't care if there's dust on the fireplace mantle, if I'm in my sweats, and if I haven't vacuumed the Honda's floor mats for a while. We get together for fun, love, and laughs--not for perfection.
9. No keeping track: No one counts the calories in that brownie sundae, mentions one of us is on her fifth cigarette of the evening, or discloses our bar tab to the outside world. So what if our combined bowling score is less than 100? We're a united front, and on Girls' Night Out, everything is good for you, low cal, fat-free, and inexpensive. (And no, there's nothing wrong with a little flirtation with that cute, young-enough-to-be-your-baby-brother waiter. Just don't ask if you can take him home.)
10. Honesty: If my work is crap, they tell me it's crap and make suggestions on how to de-crap-itize it. This goes for writing, cooking, or any other chore I attempt. (But they take the gardening hoe from my hands before I can wreak havoc since I have the blackest thumb in the universe!) Friends don't allow friends to buy outfits that don't look great on them.
11. No paybacks: We don't keep score when it comes to favors, phone calls, emails or even birthday cards. We do things for each other because we can and want to, not to put someone in our debt.
12. Integrity: We keep secrets. We don't test each other's loyalty. And there's no need to put on airs or pretend to be something we're not. (Which kinda goes into play with #'s 7 & 8.) If one of us gets too full of ourselves, the others will take the air out of that swollen head fairly quickly--with gentle snark, not condemnation!
13. An enormous capacity for love: Really, what these other 12 items all have in common is love.
So in case you haven't figured it out yet: I LOVE YOU! And thanks for being my friend.