Some of the reasons why we are not that good at friendships is the fact that we don't have a clear idea of what a really good friend might be like.
Maybe we should try to come up with a list of traits for an ideal friend, so as to focus our desires to acquire the sort of character we would want to find in others.
Good friends know how to show weakness. They let us know awkward and embarrassing things about themselves.
They show how much they trust us by confessing mistakes and hardships that have the potential to open them up to possible humiliation from the world beyond.
Good friends are genuinely interested in our hardships; they are not shocked by the odd and stupid things we've done.
They are not judgmental or critical of our weaknesses, because they are well aware of their own more troubled sides.
Good friends are reassuring. They don't just flatter - they understand how easily we lose perspective, panic and underestimate our own abilities.
Sometimes, they get us to laugh at ourselves when we would be inclined to indulge in self-pity or rage.
A good friend helps us build our self-understanding.
Good friends listen to us and help us piece together the best accounts of our fears and excitements. Because there are so many things we don't entirely comprehend about who we are.
We sometimes don't quite know what we think until a good friend asks us to expand on a thought, to explain why we adhere to it and to find possible objections for it.
They like us in ways we are not easily able to like ourselves.
Usually, we are more aware of our shortcomings than of our good parts. We need a friend because we are liable to be so very unfriendly towards ourselves.
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