I know what you’re thinking…
‘OMG, how can I possibly answer that?’
‘I’m not sure. Would I? I don’t want to think about it.’
‘This could be very embarrassing. Or… very enlightening!’
One of our Regulars, Lisa asked the question, ‘Would I choose myself as a friend?’ in one of her recent comments.
I must admit I’ve had to think hard about this, to come up with some answers to share in the Café. I hope you’ll add your ideas in the comments because it’s a topic you’ve probably never thought about. Until now!
Before we begin, this calls for some major chocolate treats… just help yourself and we’ll get started.
Up to the challenge?
Come on, don’t be shy, see what you can come up with.
Here’s my list of ’5 Friendship Qualifications’-
and how I feel I’d measure up, if I was considering choosing ‘me’ as a friend.
Then it’s your turn.
(I’ve used ‘she/her’ for simplicity.)
1. Ability to truly listen.
Not so easy as it might seem. Your mind wanders, you can’t wait to chime in with what you want to say, your body language shows you attention is wavering.
I have to admit that, apart from when I’m with a client, my listening skills have shown a few gaps. I know I have to focus on being a better listener, every day.
How’re your listening skills? Do they measure up?
2. Ability to empathise.
She tells you about something that makes her sad. She’s clearly upset.
Can you stand in her shoes? Properly? Can you feel her pain? When she asks what you think she should do, can you answer objectively, from her perspective? Or do you turn it around and say, ‘That happened to me…’ and go on to describe how you felt, which is not what she needs to hear?
I think I’ve got better at this over the years. Perhaps it’s my coaching training, but I’m pretty good at objectivity and empathy.
How’re you on this one?
3. Ability to be honest without offending.
Another tricky one. She asks for your opinion. Your reply could affect her decision or her subsequent action.
- Do you think I should tell my OH about this?
- Should I hide my very expensive new shoes from my OH?
- Should I plan a surprise party for (whoever)?
Sometimes you might have to ‘sit on the fence’ rather than encourage her.
Sometimes you might have to be emphatic in your negative response.
Have to say, this isn’t my best asset… I’ve put my foot in it on various occasions. I have to learn to think before I speak sometimes. A work in progress…
Are you able to be honest without offending or making the situation worse?
4. Ability to keep confidences.
She tells you a ‘secret’. Asks you not to tell anyone. At all.
She tells you some personal info about her relationship. She expects you to keep it to yourself.
I’ve found this difficult to maintain at times. I’ve genuinely forgotten that it was a ‘secret’ and have opened my mouth in error. However, I’ve learnt from my past mistakes and I think I’m much better at keeping confidences nowadays. Coaching has helped me with that, too.
Are you good at keeping confidences?
5. Ability to keep the friendship fresh.
Do you make every effort to meet/talk/email regularly? Do you take it in turns to pay for lunch dates? Are you proactive in making arrangements? Do you call her when you know she’s worried/unwell/sad?
Again, I try, but I know I could try harder. Sometimes days go by and I get immersed in writing. No excuse, I know. Again, I’m getting better.
How about you?
In this post -
- I’ve outlined 5 abilities you need to be a good friend,
- I’ve set out how I think I measure up,
- I’ve thought about whether I would choose me as a friend.
Now it’s your turn. In the comments,
- Tell me about other abilities you’d look for when choosing a friend,
- Do you feel you ‘qualify’?
- Would you choose ‘you’ as a friend?
- Where do you feel you need to improve?
You’ll easily find friends here at the Café…