Sunday, January 1, 2023

What qualities do you most value in your friends?

 What qualities do you most value in your friends?

             I want to start with this answer by establishing the premise that there are different tiers to friendships ranging from acquaintances to life-long buddies. As such, I’ll focus on friendships that last more than a year and well into adulthood. I find these friendships to be more meaningful than fleeting and worth the time to nurture and maintain. While I could list the various friends I’ve had over the years and then break down each of their inherent qualities I value, I would like to talk about how I make friends and then discuss the friend archetype that I welcome into my life.

As some people know, making friends isn’t easy; you must make an initial investment of time, conversation, and activity. For the unnaturally sociable, that can be a struggle. While I’ve tended to be outgoing most of my life, I didn’t decide to adopt that as part of my personality until I started college. I wanted to avoid the feeling of social angst and understood that making friends was necessary for my own mental health. I wouldn’t say that I enjoyed being the center of attention, but I wasn’t unafraid to either. Overcoming that anxiety of striking up a conversation with a stranger has been a net positive, resulting in lasting friendships years later. By investing in that social bank if you will, I’ve been able to maintain a healthy balance that I can withdraw from time to time.

It's one thing to say you have friends, but it’s another to spend time with them.1 For me, making plans with someone and having them realized is something I value. Rearranging one’s schedule to spend time together when you can do so many other things is a strong indication that the other party is putting in a similar effort to be friendly.  If someone isn’t willing to make plans to spend time together, reschedules multiple times, or is non-committal, then it’s not worth the investment. When we’re spending time together, I value the depth of conversation and find meaning in discussing a range of topics. It shows me that my friends have hobbies, goals in life, and aren’t afraid to follow their passions. I want to be in a setting where I can discuss the positives and negatives in life and appreciate their contributions to the discussion.

My ideal friend archetype is a person who is honest and trustworthy; knowing I can share information in confidence while receiving unfiltered feedback is important to me. I wouldn’t like to befriend someone who gossips and is more vested in what other people are doing than their own life goals. I like friends who are active and have multiple interests; someone who wants to do the same thing is boring to me. They have interests and are willing to go outside their comfort zone to try new things. I’ve parted ways with folks who just want to play video games or have a singular topic they revert to when we chat.

In summary, my ideal friend archetype is a person who cares about others and is willing to make time for me and my family. They find joy in life and enjoy learning new things and helping teach others as well. They are involved in their community, educated, and engaged with the world around them. These friends can speak their minds and are open and honest with their critiques. When you miss seeing them for long periods of time, the friendship picks up where it left off. You find out who your friends are when they feel the same about you and aren’t afraid to show it.

How did you get your first job?

 My wife continues to ask me questions for StoryWorth. This is my response to her question. My first paid job was actually as an operator at...