When you look back at your friends, what holds value? Compassion and kindness? A kind gesture when you needed it, such as a shoulder to cry on? Celebrations? Perhaps your friend invited you to share a feast, great company, and lots of hugs. What do you value in friendship?
Compassion and Kindness
One day I sat watching two women talk over tea. One listened with the deepest compassion as the other spoke. I wasn’t listening to their conversation, but I was feeling the deepness of the compassion one woman held for the other who was crying.
Listening without interrupting, she reached out her hand. The crying woman wore dark glasses, dabbing a tearful cheek with a napkin. You could see they felt safe sharing company. Such safeness comes with trust, compassion, and kindness. Feels good to be around.
I love the feel of hugging a person who is a good friend and connecting. It’s a personal gesture that feels right. Not meant to go beyond boundaries, but a shared experience of touch between two humans in appreciation and friend-love. There is such a thing as friend-love that gives you a happy smile knowing the other cares about you without having to be thin, pretty, rich, smart, or talented. You are a person worth hugging.
What Value Brought You Together?
Are you friends with people because you shared common activities?
Were you involved in a challenge and became close as you persevered through to a solution?
Did you meet in a class, group, gathering, club, local pub or coffee shop and begin talking and laugh together?
Have you been friends for a long, long, long time and now when you get together it’s just like yesterday?
Was it a smile, a gentle appreciation you could feel when you met that welcomed?
Perhaps you admired their strength and beauty when you saw them with children, animals, elders, or physically challenged folks.
Over Time, What Held Value?
My true friends can count on me for anything I can do. I’m not rich, but if I had lots of money I would help. Men who have been my friends are as wonderful as women, and my life partner respects the friendships that are a part of me. I can name several close friendships that I value, because the men have lives of purpose. They love nature and photograph it. They love helping children in a center that deals with kids who have lost a family member. Men who I met as clients and students who stayed in touch and shared their lives of adventure as well as challenge.
In time, I value watching them, hearing their stories, seeing their faces change with the proof of years of getting through it. I value trust, courage, humor, enthusiasm, social responsibility, fairness, modesty, practical reasoning, gratitude, empathy, playfulness, and especially creativity. My friends have my loyalty and friend-love. It doesn’t matter what race or sexuality if they carry the values of my friend. It’s funny, too. Some of my friends are really educated and some are not, and yet I love them the same. How about you?
Friends, What Holds Value?
In Friendships, I don’t believe you can put a price tag on joy.
You can’t get an estimate for patience.
Time given can never be repaid.
Appreciation cannot be promised, but your true loving people appreciate you.
Love cannot be measured on an economic scale of any kind.
Relationships can come and change and go, but friends will come back together eventually.
Color, age, sex, disability, language, clothes all are inconsequential to a friend, because they like you as you.
No one can tell you that they can be there as a friend for everything. However, in friendship there is something you value so very, very much. You know for sure that this person is a friend because of a character strength. This virtue proves a person is a friend.
How About You?
What is the virtue and value do you offer as a friend? What defines you as a friend?