I was thinking the other day about what attracted me to all the friends I have made over the years. While many of them possess very different character traits, I can honestly say that my friends all greatly represent the values that I believe to be outstanding and respectable in all individuals that I come into contact with. I know that statement might come across as hokey or trite, but at heart, my friends really are very similar to one another in the fact that they are all compassionate, open individuals that seem to effortlessly draw people in their lives.
Many of us are attracted to these types of people who are honest and friendly enough to really let you into their lives and include you even when you don’t know them very well. There are personality traits that every single one of us can point to and say “Yeah, that’s why I love having that person in my life."
- Friendly/Open: Let’s face it – if your friend lacks this trait, it can be very hard to draw him/her into your life and keep them there. It’s simply the difference of being able to form a real connection with a person and just having a casual acquaintance who you try to avoid seeing whenever you run into them.
- Trustworthy: What if you confided a major secret in your newfound “friend” and they babbled to everyone and their mother about your personal life? Seems like high school antics? Well it still continues into adulthood and beyond. Find a friend who has enough judgment and respect for you to realize when something is to be kept between just the two of you.
- Intelligent: Your friend doesn’t need to have graduated from Harvard or Yale to be considered a great friend (evidently – at least for most of the population). You should have a friend with a good head on his/her shoulders who has a reasonable amount of commonsense (even though friends lacking commonsense can be interesting, unpredictable companions). Also, book smart folks and people who are just generally knowledgeable about random facts and world happenings can provide great conversations, so keep them on your friend roster, too.
- Creative: I personally have always loved people who are “into” things that the typical person doesn’t spend much of their time interested in. I have a friend who loves reconstructing maps and another who spends her time as a graphic designer on a magazine as a side job. These people will hopefully inspire you to be as creative and forward-thinking as they naturally are.
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- Sympathetic/compassionate: If you are going through a hard time, don’t you want a friend who is going to run to your side and try to understand what’s going in your head? When you come across someone who is too self-involved to care about the people around them, give them a swift kick out of the door and don’t look back.
- Fun/down for a good time: Pretty self-explanatory, but don’t confuse a good time with someone that just wants to be high and drunk all the time. It’s not too good in excess, especially if you’re the person that has to carry that individual home after a long night of “fun."
- Good listening skills: Try to have friends that not only listen to you, but offer insightful, meaningful commentary. I have forsaken many a friend who is more concerned with having their feelings and stories heard than listening to mine.
- Available: If your friend isn’t willing to hang out with you or doesn’t pick up your phone calls, I would assume that they aren’t holding up their end of the friend bargain, which makes it pretty difficult to remain in their lives at all. Physical proximity to your friends can also be considered pretty important, but I have seen a lot of long-distance friendships make it over the years.
- Emotional (my personal choice): All of my friends have cried, screamed, punched a wall, and brought all their innermost emotions to the surface. While some of this might be considered a tad dramatic out of context, my friends have dealt with a great deal at times and made it through to become strong individuals. I know that my emotions can sometimes rise to the surface and become evident to those around me, but I do admire those who are bold enough to show their emotions when it counts.