For reasons that I myself am not sure of, I’ve always enjoyed interacting with women instead of men. Part of this could be attributed to my mother passing during my adolesence (a month before my fourteenth birthday), but having female friends has always been something that has been very important to me. What has been even more surprising is the number of girls who actually enjoy having me as a friend. This is even evident through my social networking sites: more than half of my friends on Facebook (although I’ve taken that down recently; more on that in another post) and followers on Twitter are women. So, this got me to thinking: What was it about me that made women want to be my friend?
I decided to ask a few of them the following question: “What do you value most from our friendship?” I asked ten different friends, from all different walks of life, and different ages. Here are a few things that stood out to me:
Being able to listen: This was by far the most common answer, and not something any of them take for granted. It reminds me of the old saying, “God gave us two ears and one mouth because we should listen twice as much as we speak.” If I had thought to ask follow-up questions, one would be, “Is this something that you lack from some/most of your other friends?” Rather than ask them in private, I’ll let them answer that in the comments section or to me personally. (A not-so-sneaky way to see if any of them read this.) Listening doesn’t seem to be that difficult as long as you have functional hearing ability; as you’ll see, it’s the easiest attribute to follow that I’ll list here.
Being Honest: Less common than being able to listen, but still up there in importance. Also, could easily be the most difficult. Why? Because not everyone likes the truth, even if they say they do. I know this from experience. What I have found interesting is that my girlfriends who are strictly platonic prefer direct honesty more so than my (failed) intimate relationships. I have no idea what to conclude from this, but I’ll take a guess that emotional connections can sometimes fog the line between honesty and sugar-coating. Combine that with my distaste for euphimistic language, and it can certainly casue some trouble in one’s personal life. Or maybe I’m just an idiot. Who knows. Ladies, can you help me out here?
Another important aspect of honesty is to practice what you preach. I’ve seen a lot of friendships end because someone gave advice and then acted contrary to said advice. Hence, why I try to avoid advice all together and just let people do what they want. (Probably another good idea for a blog post.)
Being Yourself: Kind of intersects with the concept of being honest, but it deserves its own paragraph. It reminds me of the scene from Aladdin where the Genie tells Al that, “he really oughta be himself,” when it comes to impressing the Princess. You’re going to find A LOT of people who are putting on masks for others to see; I’d rather not be one of them. There may be other answers (I’m by no means an expert), but I am willing to stick my neck out there and say that women have the hardest time trusting other people, men especially. By being yourself, you eliminate all the bullshit shoveling one must endure to get to “who you are”. This may not make you a super popular person, but it accomplishes two things: For one, it let’s people know right away if you’re a person they want to associate with. Secondly, it is a strong indication that the people who DO enjoy your company are being themselves too.
Thank you to the women who took the time to answer my question, and for having my back as much as I have yours.
Is there anything you want to add, expand upon, question or comments? Post them in the comments below.
As I mentioned in the post, I’m not using Facebook right now, and will explain why later. However, you can still find me on Twitter.
Coming Soon: Part Three of the Get What You Want…advice series.