Log in

Previous Entry | Next Entry

So I've been doing a lot of thinking on the matter of what it means to "be a good friend". Everyone says they want to be a good friend, and many people will jump to saying that they are. But what does that really mean?

Let's run a quick thought experiment; let's imagine our perfect friend. What are their defining traits in this abstract context?

For me, when I imagine my ideal friend, they're someone I can play games with when I feel like being social, someone who knows I like to plan ahead and respects that if I've bothered to make plans, it's important to me. I imagine someone who doesn't get upset that I don't call them a lot, and isn't upset that I'm not super excited about them calling me a lot either sometimes. I imagine someone who doesn't mind listening to me rant, and won't get mad about the fact that I rant about the same personal issue for a month straight.

So then it follows that if I want to be a good friend, I would have to have all of those traits. But that's not even remotely true. Half of those things would drive me batty. Thoughts like "get over your shit" and "I stopped caring 6 months ago" would run through my head CONSTANTLY. I would likely begin avoiding myself and just kinda leave them to deal with whatever it is, becasue I clearly can't help them, and talking it out isn't being any more productive.

This leads me to the conclusion that I'm not really a very good friend at all, and worse, there's no way I'd want to become that good friend. Spending time trying to be that person would be rediculously draining. I might be able to fake it for about 6 months, but after that I'd be totally and completely done with myself.

But this lends itself to some further questions: am I unique in this view? Are there people who are like that, and maybe even enjoy doing that? If the answer is no, then it's possible that although I can't be the "perfect friend", I'm being a good enough friend. If there are, then I need to ask how I can be a good friend by slicing out a chunk of the friend pie that I'm good at and enjoy, and focus on being "that friend." You know, "the guy who isn't a great friend, but he's great for X".

At the end of the day, you are nothing more than an accessory to other people's stories, just as they are to you, but with that knowledge in hand, you can strive to do your best to be that accessory and earn the right to have other people in your life as well.