This weekend was my first in a long time spent in the Netherlands without any other reason than than “seeing my friends” (and I ended up spending most of it in Germany…).
My time in the Netherlands is limited. And being very Dutch, I want to use it optimally. I know that “cramming in more” might be efficient, but it’s definitely not effective, so “seeing everybody for a little while” doesn’t work. Instead, I’ll have to make choices on whom I see when.Before I knew it, before I really wanted to, I was creating a mental list of my friends, ranked in order. At first I was quite appalled by myself, doing something like this. But thinking about it a bit further, everybody has best friends, good friends, friends, good acquaintances, acquaintances, vague acquaintances… So instead of railing against this, maybe it’s more interesting to see what puts someone where in the ordering.
So, things that for me make better friends:
- Time spent together: The more time you spend together, the better friends you become. And the better friends you are, the more time you spend together… Maybe this isn’t just a desirable “quality”, but just the definition of friendship? But that’s not entirely true, I have really good friends, whom I can’t spend a lot of time with due to circumstances (distance mostly)…
- Trustworthiness: Finding a knife in your back is a sure end of a friendship. But it’s also subtler than that. Not canceling when meeting up (and being on time when you don’t cancel), keeping a secret, basically “doing what you say you would”. And in some cases, going well beyond that. I’m very happy that there are a few people in my life that would come and pick me up from a South American jungle if I really needed them to…
- Enjoying the same things as I do: It’s nice if you are able to enjoy activities together, ranging from a night in the pub or club, making music, playing games or going for a (long) hike. This makes the “spending time” easier and more enjoyable.
- Speaking with a passion, listening with compassion: A lot of talking is involved in being friends. So I want people who have something interesting to say (and say it in an interesting way), while also being able to listen to what I have on my heart. There should be a fair balance in this, with both parties contributing more or less an equal amount (over time). This also means listening to my woes, while sharing theirs (which is very different from complaining, see below), as well as support to carry on and / or to do the right thing.
- Being fun: This means for me being optimistic, having a laugh, doing something silly, being game for something interesting and / or new. It also means not complaining or bitching, not bragging, not being obnoxious.
- Mixing well: I enjoy large(r) gatherings, of having a group of friends together for whatever. So, “playing nicely with others” is a definite boon. This can be because you’re part of the same group of friends (that always works well of course), but also just a general “openness of character”.
- Being admirable: I like looking up to people. I like my friends to do cool, interesting and important stuff with their lives. This doesn’t have to be “finding a cure to cancer” (though one, in a very limited way, actually is doing that!), simply being good at something and being a good person is enough for that. I enjoy being inspired.
I wonder if other people would have markedly different things in their list (if so, post a comment?). Until then however I’m just going to assume that other people are just like me and that this is what others desire as well. So, if I want to be the best friend that I can (which I do want!), the above is what I will have to do as well. I think I do ok most of the time, but perhaps I could focus on it for a bit more?
I’m Bastiaan. This blog is meant to give you some insight into the things I run into and perhaps to inspire you to go in search of your own life extraordinaire.
I love to connect, so if you have thoughts, ideas or questions based on this (or another) post, please leave me a comment!