On Friendship

I have a pretty awesome best friend.  Or at least, I think she’s pretty awesome.  She’s also still single despite wanting a relationship, and she sometimes finds it difficult to make other friends.  So why is it that I think she’s great and wonderful and others don’t?

Sometimes people look at prospective friends based on quantity of positive and negative qualities, and that is a good way to look at it, but that in and of itself is defined by what strengths you seek and what weaknesses you can live with. For example, one of the weaknesses that tends to rule out close friends for me is “excessive liveliness”. For many, that’s a positive quality, and I do respect that, but I know my own limits and I realise that my capacity for dealing with people is drained significantly faster when I’m with high-energy people doing high-energy activities or holding conversations where exclamation points reign supreme. So when you consider a person’s positive and negative qualities, you’re looking at it from the perspective of what you seek and what you can accept, as well. Further, for some, Buddhism would be a weakness (if someone were Christian and only sought a Christian mate, for example), but to an agnostic, a religious preference would be neither a strength nor a weakness, merely a random fact about the other person, much like their preference for a certain colour (which is also a weakness for some… I don’t know if I could live with someone who wanted to paint the wall of every room in the house bright red or green…) or their appearance (which matters not at all to me, but is highly important to some).

The thing is, everyone has faults, and friendship (or any kind of relationship) is merely a matter of finding someone whose faults are things you’re willing to tolerate and whose strengths are things you value. There are people I know whom I would never be friends with, not because they’re bad people, but simply because they’re all wrong for me. And likewise, many, many people are unwilling to be friends with me because it’s not a good match. There’s no absolute. The only thing is that one hopes the people you consider a good match feel the same way about you… Because that’s not always the case.

Unfortunately, I’ve fallen in love with people who don’t seek people with my strengths and who cannot tolerate my weaknesses.  I’ve deeply desired friendships with people who just don’t like me.  And that happens.  I used to think that if I liked someone, it would be because we were similar and that the other person would automatically like me back.  It doesn’t work that way, and it hurts when someone you like doesn’t like you back, but when all is said and done, there isn’t anything you can do except to pick up what’s left of your heart and walk away, because holding on to something that you never had only leads to more heartbreak.

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