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Ten Qualities You’ll Find in a Friend

Town reunion in Sipocot, Philippines

When I was preparing to write this article, I stirred the ire of some friends who wanted me to write about corruption.

They said that the proliferation of lists alleging the involvement of hundreds of lawmakers in the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam appears to be confusing the public. A squid tactic, they said.

 Thus, my friends asserted, there’s a need to continue writing about the evil of corruption to send the message that the people are getting impatient and they are watching.

But I will digress from this pressing issue for now and write about a topic that may directly or indirectly provide the basis for corruption as in “wicked friends lead to evil ends.”

I’ve been thinking in the unlikely event that I am offered to teach a course on a needed virtue, what would I choose, honesty or friendship?

My answer is: friendship.

Wikipedia defines friendship as a type of relationship between two people.

I find this definition quite dry.  It doesn’t do justice to the concept of friendship. Take the following examples.  A friend remembers your first day at work and gives you encouragement.  A friend is the first to call to ask how you did in your test. A friend accompanies you to watch a basketball game even if the former does not play the game.

I can think of two reasons why friendship is at risk these days.

First, people are impatient.  Theirs is a quick-fix mentality where problems, personal or otherwise, must be resolved immediately. Life’s challenges are complicated and are not subject to quick fixes.

Second, since society is image-driven, there is the belief that perception is reality. People sometimes fail to see the complexities of any relationship because they fail to exercise critical thinking.

Friendship, on the other hand, requires patience because we are dealing with imperfect people who may be different from us in attitudes or temperament. It also requires the ability to look at things critically because sometimes the package is different from the product. There’s the need to separate the image from reality.

So what are the marks of a true friend? Here’s a list of the top ten qualities of a true friend that I’ve learned through the years, not ranked in order of importance.

  1. A friend knows that being hurt by the other is a given.  Because of this, one is always ready to forgive and forget.
  2. A friend always leaves room for mistakes to be made by the other person without making any judgment.
  3. A friend anticipates how the other person will react, positively or negatively, and acts accordingly.
  4. A friend knows what the other wants. In a sense, this makes the relationship predictable.
  5. A friend protects one’s friend from harm at whatever cost. What matters is what is in the best interest of the person.
  6. A friend enjoys the company of one’s friend no matter what the circumstances are.
  7. A friend listens whether in agreement of the opinion of the other or not.
  8. A friend provides an unconditional support, sometimes tough but always understanding.
  9. A friend does not play with the feelings of the other. There is no room for pretension to please one’s friend.
  10. A friend talks about the past to gather strength for the future.

There is wisdom in past experiences that friends can always learn from.Friendship is not something that is learned from books. It is something that is learned through

experience. It is a process that takes time to develop.  Five years from now, I might have a different list.

What is important is I have gone through the experience and have discovered that it is worth a try to have a friend.

               So back to my question: If I were to be asked again to teach Friendship 101, I would probably decline.  I would rather be a student.