Monday, August 31, 2009

Are you a great Friend...or a mediocre "Frienemie"?

Before I begin, I want to credit the images used in this post. They're from an outstanding artist named Cidne Wallace. Her artwork, stationary and other products can be purchased online at MBSgifts, It's A Black Thang, or Afrocentric Gifts.

Do you ever wonder kind of friend you are? This is a question I often ask myself, and I take a moment to reevaluate my choices, words, actions, and surroundings probably more often than I should.

For a lot of us, our girlfriends are our family. We love them, look forward to their company, depend on their compassion...and they are an important part of our daily routine.

We we get older, friendships inevitably change. Some attachments grow stronger...others grow apart. Some resentments develop and animosity grows...some appreciations increase and respect grows.

The people we spend our time with at different stages represent our lifestyles, our standards, social preferences, and even our mental state. There are friends you party with, and friends you can cry with and bear your soul. Friends you can laugh with, and friends you can discuss issues with. Sometimes these friends are the same...sometimes various women hold various roles in your life.

It's always great to have other women to turn to, in general. Understandably, you can't be close to EVERYONE, and family and career obligations may not make you accessible all the time. But I do strongly believe that having a close network of at least one or two girlfriends that you can ABSOLUTELY without a doubt trust (with 100% certainty!) and depend on (through thick and thin!) is essential. I also strongly believe that you won't be able to have genuine and sustainable friendships, unless you know how to be a genuine and sustainable friend.

Being a good friend is something we should all work on, just like we work on and develop other skills. The kind of friend we are at 15 should not be the type of friend we evolve into at 35 or 45. There have to be lessons learned, stronger efforts, and concious awareness about how we act, how we are perceived, and how this all affects our relationships with other females.

I believe a good girlfriend should:

1) Allow you to express your thoughts and fears freely and safely at all times.

2) Make herself available to you in your times of need (within reason, or course, and based on urgency).

3) Include you in her life's routine (where comfortable), warmly, regularly, and without hesitation.

4) Be honest with you about everything. No exceptions. Good and bad; with taste.

5) Keep the trust of others, thus keeping your trust as well.

6) Have your best interest in mind at all times; encourage and motivate you to do your best and be your best.

7) Protect you from the others by defending you, and speaking well of you.

8) Be good company, someone you like to be around, even if you're not "doing" anything.

9) Respect your time, opinions, and lifestyle...and respect you enough to tell you when you're messing it all up!

10) Know when to support you, when to give you your space, and when to intervene.

If you could create the perfect girlfriend, what characterstics would she have? Now...what is stopping you from being everything that you wish to see in a friend? It's that simple. In order to have great friends and gain their respect, you have to learn how to be a great friend worthy of respect.

OK, so this isn't anything new. But if we all KNOW the fundamental differences between a good friend and a bad friend....WHY do some females continue to be gossips, unreliable, liars, disrespectful, grudgeful, jealous, or insensitive?

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