Out and About with Miss Delis

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Would you be your friend?

‘Count them on one hand’. Yes, you all know that phrase. Friends, real friends and how many you really have. It all comes down to how good a friend you are, best intentions aren’t enough.

Over the last month I have been dwelling on this issue and no, I’m not emotionally wallowing or experiencing a florally psychotic high when I say I have been thinking about this. Some events in life allow thoughts like this to rise to the surface and the proverbial mirror appears smack bang in front of your face… What sort of friend are you?

Well it’s a good question. There are those who have amazingly high emotional intelligence and the innate ability to stand in another’s shoes and empathise with what they are feeling. These friends are invaluable when you have a crisis or a sensitive situation that needs to be weathered. I am not one of those. Despite being a very social person, I have zero ability to step outside my self for anyone but those I love dearly, and thus, I anticipate their needs through time and knowledge rather than instinct. Not always though.

One particular friend I have had since I was 11 recently ceased contact with me. There was nothing nasty- no text, no email, no phone call. She was just MIA. When I finally realised that she had been missing for quite some time, I emailed her asking where she had been and why we had not spoken. She replied ‘this friendship has become a little one sided recently, and I would like that to change’. I was gob smacked until I thought about our interactions over the last 12 months. Always her making plans for us, her offering advice, her asking about my life. The busyness of life and one of my strongest traits: self-absorption had won me over and totally distracted me. Three months of reassessment and deep thought about the type of friend I want to be set us back on track, but I observed that being a good friend is not so easy- well, for me at least.

It got me thinking about what a good friend really should be. I though a lot about me very good friends and what I love about them. There were some similar themes. A good friend is someone who listens, who shares, who does not judge, who does not turn on you the moment you are out of earshot, and often forgives… maybe not easily or quickly, but eventually.

So, on my journey to improving in the friendship stakes, I thought I’d share the assets I would love to encompass one day. I am shamelessly stealing and regurgitating to you the traits I hold in high esteem from those I believe are in my “count them on one hand” group. If you display these qualities- well done, keep it up! If your answer is ‘not so much’- join me in aspiring to adopt a few and practice, practice, practice.

The Best Friend: He or she can totally understand what you’re feeling/thinking and can describe it so well you are shocked. These people have really put themselves in your situation and will offer you the best advice or feedback. They give you the sense they know you very well, and listen to you. Tip – Listen and allow your friend to be your only focus when speaking to them.

The Wise Friend: Mine is actually in another state, she has a totally different life to me. Husband, children, mortgages, career- she is Superwoman. Experience and knowledge ooze from her conversation. Never judgemental, she will be encouraging when required but also will dissuade me from doing the wrong thing. Oh, not altogether – just enough so I don’t end up in a total pickle. I learn the lesson myself at the same time. Completely selfless, she takes calls at dinnertime, chatting til all hours on any given day, I could only dream of being this loyal. Tip – Want the best for your friend even if you don’t agree with their wishes and love all the person’s faults as well as their good qualities.

The Loyal Friend: This is usually a friend of the same sex. They absolutely face the same issues as yourself from time to time and although you may not always agree with each other’s actions, you will always have their trust. This friend will cover for you when required -at work, at home, at the bar and especially when you’re not there. They are loyal to the end and you know you can count on them in times of real need. You also find yourself agreeing to things you would never in a million years condone but for some reason you are saying yes and you feel good about it. Tip – Never, ever ruin this loyalty. No matter what happens between you. This is where you rise above pettiness and put someone else ahead of yourself at times. Keep your mouth SHUT.

The Lover: This is an interesting one. They say that your lover should be your best friend. In theory yes but you can’t become only friends and not lovers. The best friend in a lover will put the two of you before anything else. Each other’s happiness is more important than any other single issue this world can throw at you. How nice to go through life with someone who is always on your side. Tip – Be a friend to him or her too- No point being great in bed but no longer interested when your sexual desires have been fulfilled and are now sated. If your lover is not your friend, find another!

See You In The Village.

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