Would Your Friends Pass the Friendship Test?

Following is an excerpt from an article by Mamta Gautam, M.D., a psychiatrist with a private practice in Ottawa, Ontario. She is an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry, faculty of medicine, University of Ottawa, and past president of the Ontario Psychiatric Association. Her article is published in Bottom Line Health, Volume 21, Number 2, February 2007.

Relationship experts Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott of the Center for Relationship Development at Seattle Pacific University have created a list of traits to look for in enduring friendships.

A good friend is someone who . . .

  1. Makes time. Whether you’re in the midst of a crisis or slogging through the mundane, a friend will have time for you.
  2. Keeps a secret. Trust allows you to feel emotionally safe, share feelings and explore and understand what may be bothering you.
  3. Cares deeply. The ability to enter your world and feel your pain is a cornerstone of friendship.
  4. Provides space. Friends will give you time alone and are there when you need them.
  5. Speaks the truth. This person asks the questions you want to ignore and helps you face reality.
  6. Forgives faults. Everyone has faults. A friend knows you and likes you anyway!
  7. Remains faithful. You will not be deserted during bad times.
  8. Laughs easily. We all enjoy the company of people who share our sense of humor.
  9. Celebrates your success. Ideally, there’s no jealousy, resentment or destructive competition between friends.
  10. Connects strongly. Whether it’s bridge, books or real estate, friends share common interests.

It’s more productive to work on being a good friend, rather than to look for a good friend. Legendary self-improvement expert Dale Carnegie advised that people can make more friends in two months by simply becoming interested in other people than they can make in two years by trying to get people interested in them.

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