Friendships are not easy to come by. Like developing a new and unique recipe, friendships need time and patience. With the right technique and a little bit of effort, a good friendship can result in a satisfying and life-long relationship.
Three key ingredients to a good friendship are loyalty, honesty and respect. Loyalty refers to constant support and allegiance. This can be as simple as one being loyal to one’s favourite sports team or one’s favourite coffee shop. However, loyalty can also play a more significant role.
In order to demonstrate this, a loyal friend needs to be available for the most part, on an emotional level, but also be available on an intellectual and even physical level. Regardless of the situation, dependability is essential. For example, if one loses his job, and then his home, a loyal friend would help by loaning money, by taking him in to his home, or by helping him find a job for as long as it takes. Serious health issues test friendships, but loyalty remains priceless to an ailing individual.
A loyal friend would not desert a dying individual, especially if he has a disease that is feared by many, like AIDS. A loyal friend will always have one’s back. Honesty is the act of being open and truthful. An honest friend can tell you when you have a bad haircut or when you have spinach in your teeth. This honesty might be awkward to take at first, but the nature of it is to save one from further embarrassment. Honesty fosters trust and must be earned. When trust is absent from a friendship, one cannot know when one is being told the truth.
However, the honesty in a friendship must be sincere and fair; otherwise, the blunt truth can be hurtful. Believing and trusting an honest friend allows one to be open to new ideas. For example, friends who confront an alcoholic about his drinking in an intervention are doing so because they are sincerely concerned about his well-being. The truth might be difficult for the alcoholic to accept, but because a group of caring people are all trying to help, he might be more receptive of his situation and be more willing to change.
This honesty can also preserve dignity. Respect for an individual refers to feelings of admiration and understanding, as a result of his or her qualities, abilities and achievements. However, respect, like honesty, also has to be earned and deserved. In most cases, it is not easily given. For example, we respect a fire fighter because of his courage and selflessness when he puts his own life in danger to save the lives of others. A neurosurgeon is respected for his surgical abilities and his years of academic achievements.
Respect is warranted for his commitment towards his skill. Respect can also refer to recognizing one’s individuality and supporting one’s values, talents and interests. Individuality distinguishes one from another and it is important to accept and appreciate these differences. For example, we do not all share the same religion: one can be Catholic and one can be Atheist; we do not all share the same way of life: one can be gay and another straight; we do not all share the same morals: one can be pro-life and another pro-choice.
One may not always agree with another’s beliefs, lifestyle or ethics, but it is important to acknowledge these distinctions to remain friends through mutual respect. Like a delicious home-cooked meal, a great friendship is not difficult to create. Dedication, trust and appreciation are key. With these quality ingredients, a dash of trial and error and the right amount of time, the combination of loyalty, honesty and respect can result in a worthwhile and enjoyable relationship.