Friends…the family you choose.

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I have been blessed my life with some really good people, and some really bad ones. It’s not a condition limited to my experience, its everyone’s experience. We also have those in between that float back and forth for whatever reason at different points in life. Odds are you have been one of those three people to someone too, because you are human and have the capacity to provide great things to others and also to tear them down. Tough truth, but truth none the less.

So what is a friend? One of the good kind? Lots of things to be sure, and I wanted to touch on a few that are important to me.

Honesty

This seems like a pretty easy choice, but what does it really mean? Honesty is more than a virtue in good people. Sometimes it just plain hurts.  Honest friends put it out there. Good news. Bad news. No news. To them, the truth is part of the bond they have with you. It is wake up calls, warning labels, and stop signs, just as much as it is kudos, encouragement, and positive assessment.

“Yes you look fat in that.” And, “Yes, you are a good parent.”

Both are acceptable from a friend, when they are honest.

Forgiveness

Do I really need to explain this one? You are going to screw up, a lot. A friend forgives and is forgiven. I think this one is extremely important when you are friends with interesting people. Boring people rarely offend anyone, interesting people do it all the time. Not from intent mind you, just from living their lives. They have passion about things, and passion isn’t always contagious…sometimes it is confrontational all by itself. They will challenge you. Make  you adjust your course, or solidify the one you are on. Often that only comes on the other side of differences of opinion…not always…but often enough that forgiveness is needed.

The two way street we all have to travel.

Humor

Laughter is the best medicine, and friends always have the best punchlines, because they know you. There is a strength that can only be found on the other side of laughter. Humor is essential.

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We tend to take ourselves too seriously most of the time, especially in adversity. Humor is the medicine that brings you back to reality.

Investment

Good friends invest in you. They are there when you succeed and when you fail. They care about your life and the decisions you make, and what you to make good ones. They like dividends and expect you to produce positive ones that benefit everyone as well as yourself. They make effort to improve your relationship. They help you improve you.

Patience

You are going to need this quality in a friend, perhaps more than the others. Why? Because everything else takes time to develop, and is constantly changing. Life is a journey that takes time to mature and grow. Patient friends are the ones you will have at the end of the road, celebrating your life with you, and the memories it brought with it.

They are the ones that don’t give up, ever. Not on you, life, or themselves.

Positive

Good friends are about adding to life and lifting it up. They don’t dwell on negativity, obstacles, or unfinished business. They persevere with humility and faith. They are glass half full kind of people, and you will need their contagious energy to get the most out of life. Nothing is better at keeping the world at bay than a positive attitude.

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You can’t pick the family you are born into, but you can pick the one you end up with.

Choose wisely.

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