A good friend who I knew from my previous work, once conversationally brought up an interesting question. He wished to know about my thoughts on the word “To Befriend” My friend’s question was “Are you a good befriender?” Please indulge in the wordplay and new-word creation.
That question stopped me and I really thought hard about the question. Here I am talking about books while sporting a tagline “Befriend a Book Today!” A book forms the major part of my interest zone where I am a lost and a found person when reading every new book. But then my friend was being himself. As usual, this brought a smile on my face and I said to myself, “Wow! My day is made.”
He has always been a good intellectual stimulant for rolling out abstract intellectual conversation topics. That had always been a given in our friendship. He was one of the rare person who took great care to befriend me, since I could be a little difficult to understand. He always felt like someone to whom I was submitting my editorial work in speech format. It is the only part of the newspaper that I am willing to read to date.
Most of our conversation during my work hour break was he would ask me a few lead questions and I would think aloud for the person, of course, he would slip in his thoughts and stop me to think through my monologue.
Lead questions such as these open my intellectual space in my brain to draw from my personal experiences the lessons of being a culturally right kind of friendly support while trying to overcome the shyness of getting to know real people.
Everyone thinks that giving your name and professional qualification becomes the introduction point of the empathetic ally making.
Well, I say ‘Nay.’
The first honest friendly eye contact with a smile is the first point of contact and club this with some empathetic approach to understand, then you have nailed the befriending skill. Follow it up with a firm handshake sealing the new beginning . Remember the handshake tells the other person that the befriending will be based on what both of you will bring to the table of joint experiences going forward in understanding each other. In all this, you haven’t even said a word.
Let me walk through some of the thoughts I have about what I think is to befriend and the making, the maintaining and the exploring of it. I have used the word friend, friendship synonymous with the act of empathetic support.
- Always be honest with your friend so that you are a reliable source for upfront views
- In the initial days of bond listen a lot or take turns to listen to each other
- Remember a friend is your equal whatever be the age gap between the two of you
- When the emotional level is high then slow down for the person
- Be polite and let the friend decide the level of sharing information that is coming from their personal space
- It helps to keep your friend’s need level for friendship in mind and to respect it
- There is nothing better than sharing a good laugh together which are above board since the innocence involved in it brings a fond smile, later while reflecting about it
- Never be nosy about the private thought spaces of your friend, if the person voluntarily shares then be a non-judgmental good listener
- Never discuss anything without your friend bringing the topic forward as a need to discuss further
- Refrain from advising in friendship when not asked for. This is part of accepting the person as they are.
- Accept a friend as s/he is without placing any conditions to friendship
- Accept that every individual has a private most circle in their personality, it is important to respect that in both of you
- Don’t be over possessive of your friend by keeping conditions for the friendship
- Provide space within the friendship so that there isn’t a feeling of being stifled by the relationship
- The first rule of having a friend is to let them go. Set them free in your friendship without any setting preset qualification
- Always agree to disagree if the point of views are poles apart
- Remember to support your friend only when they are right not otherwise. Before going public on your support or non-support confront it with your friend in private because the person needs to know your side of the argument
- Occasionally have a healthy disagreement, sometimes variety is the spice of life
- Be a little forgiving if they commit an error and jeopardize the relationship
- Remember to say sorry if an error is committed. Sometimes our egos should be set aside for common good
- True friends are not bound by the need to meet every day or talk non-stop. There can be friendship which is easy to pick right where they had left off. Strive for a continuum friend, not a seasonal friendship
- Set low expectations from any relationship especially with friends too
- Your friend is entitled to hold his/her thoughts
- Use a friend for having another perspective for life’s challenges and remember to be that for your friend too
- Friendship is truly wonderful when one friend starts a sentence and the other finish it for them, divine friends are truly made on earth
The above 25 points are just a draft version of my thoughts for good friendship-making factors. But one can do 36 Qualities of Friendship and if your friendship meets 18, 25, 32 points of these qualities then the friendship is truly the best of its kind on earth.
Interestingly, all the above would work well for reading a book and being moved by it. Befriending a book is possible with the above-mentioned open-mindedness towards the book of any choice. Replace the word friend, friendship and person with a book then you have the open-minded book reader in you.