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Friends Matter: Friends Accept Us The Way We Are, But…

by The Happy Rock on June 21, 2007

We want people to accept us, it is a fact of human nature. Time and again you hear people sharing the same thought on friendship, “I want a friend that accepts who I am”. That sounds noble and uplifting enough, but let’s take a deeper look into that idea. Think about examples of people for whom nothing is ever expected. What becomes of the child whose parents give them everything, yet don’t expect anything?

friends_hold_hands.jpgYour dog Max accepts you, and so does a car salesman, or even a drug dealer. The question remains, “is that enough?”. I say no. Personally, I want to have friends that accept me the way I am, but love me enough to not let me stay that way. I want friends that will smack me over the head when I buy a 36″ TV on credit while having no income. I want a friend who calls me to task when I am not a man of my word. Someone who tells me I am not being patient with my son. Friends who are willing to step in and take your keys when they think you have had too much to drink. These are the types of friends that challenge us and help us grow. These are the types of friends that you need around when you are climbing out of $70,000 in debt. These are the types of friends that surround successful people.

Acceptance is not enough, real friends want the best possible life for us. Not the best life they think we should have, but the best life for us. I didn’t marry my wife, because she was the same as me, or because she is beautiful (although she is darn beautiful). I married her because she opens up my world, makes me see the world in new ways, and challenges me, but always always wants the best for me.

The real challenge is to evaluate your relationships, not only by how much they let you be you, but also how much they want you to experience the best. These type of relationships, like most things in this world, don’t start with other people, but with ourselves. We need to invite this type of accountability and friendship.

  • Be willing to take all criticism, whether right or wrong, and respond positively.
  • Be honest and open up about your dark sides.
  • Truly value other’s opinion. People won’t share if they don’t think you’ll care, or if it will break down the relationship.
  • Finally, we need to be able to lovingly accept others the way they are, and encourage them to change (if they want it).

Related Reading : Scott Young’s 10 Steps to Honest Feedback

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Lola June 22, 2007 at 9:19 am

Hey

Came across this post at a very appropriate time. Been feeling as if letting people be is a bit of a cop-out and it hasn’t been sitting well with me lately. Particularly loving the line
“Acceptance is not enough, real friends want the best possible life for us. Not the best life they think we should have, but the best life for us.”

I have a number of friends I love dearly but have issues to overcome, I hold back from telling them the truth and take a rather passive approach to give them space and time to come round when they’re ready. Lately, I’ve been thinking that it’s not enough and I could do more but didn’t know how or what. You’ve given some good straightforward tips.

Thanks a lot

Lola

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TheHappyRock June 26, 2007 at 12:36 pm

Lola,

I hope things work out for your friends.

As I alluded to in the last line with “if they want” there is a fine line that needs to be walked when we offer advice to others. Usually, we should try and make it an invitation that others can accept. Maybe even a mutual exchange. Something like, “if you are interested I would love to share my experiences and lessons learned while getting out from under 70,000 dollars in debt”. A statement like that tries to reduce judgmental tones, while putting the ball in their court rather than forcing information on them.

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Tim Diehl June 28, 2007 at 1:30 am

Yo Happy,

Sweet post, bro. Thanks for the thoughts. Question: in response to your comment ‘be open about your dark side’, do you think there are parameters that we need to put around whom we reveal those truths to? Clearly, we don’t want to be fake with anyone. However, do you have thoughts on how to navigate what we reveal to whom and how we know when it’s safe to share some of the ‘darker’ parts of who we are?

Thanks again,
Tim

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nicusor July 11, 2007 at 1:47 am

Hello,

I read your post and I think that you are right – if you consider yourself to be a good friend of someone, then you definitely should do more than just accept him for what he is (or her)! Not everybody knows what to do with their life or how to do it and a good friend is always needed.

Regards,
Nicusor

P.S. Congrats, your site is now listed on the updated Do Follow List!
You could use one of these images to show your visitors that you joined the Do Follow Movement!

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Marrisa July 11, 2007 at 7:37 am

Hi,
Nice article…
I think honesty is a prerequisite to the true friends’ relationship. “Genuine friendship cannot exist where one of the parties is unwilling to hear the truth,” says Cicero, “and the other is equally indisposed to speak it.”

Does this require brutal honesty? Not exactly. It requires honesty that is carefully dealt in the context of respect. In the absence of respect, you see, honesty is a lethal weapon. Perhaps that’s what caused Cicero to add, “Remove respect from friendship and you have taken away the most splendid ornament it possesses.”

To me, friendship implies: loyalty, forgiveness, honesty and dedication.

Best regards!

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TheHappyRock July 12, 2007 at 2:57 pm

Nicusor – Thanks for the comment. I do plan to to use an image to let people know that I follow. It will happen as part of a site redesign in the near future. Thanks for the link.

Reply

TheHappyRock July 12, 2007 at 3:04 pm

Marrisa – Great quotes and great comment! They is a plethora of truth in what you say. Your friends are probably very grateful for that type of friendship.
Thanks for the input.

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