How to Have Friends
Rules for being friends in 2020:
1. Each party must have identical perspectives about every topic.
2. Neither party can hurt the other party’s feelings.
3. If Rule 1 or Rule 2 is broken, the friendship must end, and each party must hate the other.
Welcome to social vibrancy! *just kidding*
These rules suck. Like, they’re not legitimate. Relationships are not vanilla; they’re strengthened through conflict and resolution. At least, the real relationships are. The other ones are lost in the world of fake, or probably exist only in pixels, or just stick to being nice acquaintances. I think I’ll substitute my own guidelines instead, because they actually make sense.
Hannah’s rules for being friends:
1. Be okay with being different.
In case you haven’t noticed, you are the only you in the whole wide world. In the entire span of time, you are the only version of yourself to ever exist. Isn’t that crazy to think about? It always gives me a new perspective on life.
And because you are the only you, you will always be different from everyone else. It’s the beauty of humanity and reason why we can have real social vibrancy. If all 8 million of us looked exactly the same, thought the same, spoke the same, and lived the same, there would probably be no future. There’d be no advancement in science, technology, or medicine. There would be no entertainment, no surprises, no creativity. The world would just be a big ball of dirt with mushy people walking around doing nothing real.
Thank God He broke the molds when He made us.
2. Be humble.
Being humble does not equal being a pushover. True humility actually rests in strength – the strength of knowing you have control over your ego. There have been a few times when I’ve had conversations with people and wanted to dominate them with all the facts I knew, just to prove them wrong. I’ve definitely had a comment-wars with random internet faces so I could get the last word. Pride is an easy trap to fall into, so be on the lookout! We were given two ears, one mouth, and a giant brain for a reason. My instinct is to immediately talk about all the reasons why I disagree with someone when they share an opinion that’s different than mine. But I learned that behavior tends to repel people I might actually like, just because we don’t share the same perspectives. Now, I keep my mouth shut and ears open more often than before, and I’ve figured out that I really don’t know everything. Surprise, surprise!
I should also include this: I don’t change my views just to “be friends” with someone. I might be willing to rethink why I believe something, but I always hold the right to maintain my perspective. I don’t feel like I have to abandon myself so my friends can feel comfortable. Remember, being the same is mushy and boring. And I want a strong friend circle, made of people who are confident enough to handle my differences and still like me.
3. Be kind.
“A soft answer turns away wrath.” Even though this quote was written a long time ago, wise words never get old. Almost everyone can handle at least a little sarcasm and a few witty jokes, but no one likes the snarky, pretentious know-it-all. Except maybe the desperate people. A little self-awareness never hurt anyone, and I think it’s a trait that’s seriously lacking in today’s society. It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway – be nice! If you think you’re a good person, let other people know by actually being a good person. If you want friends, be friendly. If you want politically-heightened and argumentative adversaries, well, you should probably troll the comments under the President’s tweets.
Make sure you don’t take the kindness thing too far, either. Extremism is more than a political stance, people! Being too kind is as bad as not being kind at all. This relates back to the humility thing, too. Don’t allow people to walk over you, use you, or disrespect you. Have standards for your relationships. Another wise person said this, “If it is possible, as much as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” The key phrase is “if it is possible”. We’re human. Only Jesus can handle everybody’s issues, and even way back when, He still got mad at a few people.
These are my basic rules for friendships, and they’ve helped me keep some lovely friends – even though we don’t agree on everything. I think a sign of maturity is the ability to maintain colorful relationships with a rainbow of people, so I hope this helps you with your friend-making-journey!
Thanks for reading, as always!