Ever wonder how to be a good friend?
Or even, what IS a good friend?
Well, today is my best friend Joy’s birthday.
And though I’m far from being a stellar example of a great friend, my years of friendship with this spectacular woman have taught me some of the most important things about friendship and mostly, about love
So, in honor of Joy’s birthday, here are some BFF rules for creating unbreakable friendships:
BFF Rule #1 – Want your friend’s happiness more than anything else.
Admit it. Most of us are lame at this.
We love our friends BUT we sometimes have our own silent concerns, judgment, or agenda about what we think they should do with their lives.
Joy has shown me over and over again that all she wants for her friends is their happiness. And she supports them however she can as they create that for themselves. Most of all, what this means is that she never EVER judges her friends’ choices.
(Except for the time she told me that under NO circumstance was I to ever wear this yellow blouse I used to own.)
Love your friend so much that all you want is her happiness. This means allowing her life choices to teach her and grow her. It also means trusting that her wisdom will always guide her.
BFF Rule #2 – Always pick friends who think you’re fabulous.
One time Joy called me to describe a situation she had been in where no one laughed at stuff she was saying. She thought it meant she wasn’t funny.
I told her I thought it meant they couldn’t be her friends.
If you like to laugh and if you’re funny even a little bit? You should always have friends who think you’re a hoot. If not, it’s a deal-breaker.
(By the way, Joy laughs at pretty much everything I say.)
Love yourself so much that you surround yourself with people who think you are fabulous and funny.
BFF Rule #3 – Never trash-talk other people.
This might be the biggest thing I’ve learned from Joy. Never trash-talk anyone, even with your best girlfriends.
Now, this isn’t to say that when you get triggered by someone, you don’t share your trigger and let your friend listen. But claim your trigger. Don’t make it a story about the other person.
This is keeps the attention on your insides and helps you grow and learn from everything. It’s also a trust-builder.
Love both of yourselves enough to know that when you trash other people, you lose out on some great opportunities to recognize and heal your own triggers and move beyond the stories.
BFF Rule #4 – Share stupid moments. They’re more important than the big stuff.
Recently, someone asked me about how to share something that you’re just wildly passionate about with people who need to hear your message. I told her to tell little everyday stories. That’s how big passion gets through.
It’s the same thing with friendships. Big love comes down to little moments.
For instance, Joy doesn’t like some of my toenail polish choices. So, naturally, when I recently got a nasty dark black purple pedicure when I was in Miami – I shot an iPhone photo of my feet while I was in the bathtub and I texted it to her.
I did this because I knew it would make her laugh.
She, in turn, sent me a snap shot of her orchid arrangement that had been ripped completely apart by Suki the cat. She wanted me to see Suki’s creative moment.
Know each other’s everyday loves and preferences – and look out for those things you KNOW would make your friend laugh. Share your moments with her.
BFF Rule #5 – Have a “No-Should” Policy.
Joy and I have a no-guilt no-should cancellation policy.
What that means is that whenever we make plans, if anything at all comes up (even just feeling like staying home and reading) we allow full cancellation with no guilt required. This gives permission and even tests the depth of the love every now and then.
Remember that love sometimes means letting the other person be disappointed. But NEVER means doing anything out of “should” or guilt.
BFF Rule #6 – Love each other’s “stuff.” (And laugh at it sometimes.)
I’m not sure if I’ve ever had a phone call with Joy where she hasn’t either hung up on me with her cheek bone, or dropped her phone in the toilet, or clipped the headset wire with gardening shears or muted the conversation altogether.
She, on the other hand, has never known me to plan ahead for anything, or have all the ingredients of a dish I was preparing to bring over, or remember what I was supposed to bring, or arrive on time.
We have worse “stuff” than this, of course. Every now and then, it catches up in the form of shame or tears. But the best moments are when we just crack up at each other – and remember that there is no arrival.
Loving each other’s “stuff” will help each other heal old wounds. Laughter makes healing happen faster.
BFF Rule #7 – Occasionally leave messages that are so long, the voicemail shuts off.
This isn’t hard at all if you’re committed to #4.
BFF Rule #8 – Rave about each other to each other. Rave about each other to other people.
If you’re a friend of Joy’s, you can pretty much count on the fact that she raves about you to all her other friends. Even her friends I’m not friends with – I feel like I know them and celebrate their victories because I hear about them through our mutual friend.
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably experienced – like so many women – the usual girlfriend stuff. Occasional betrayal. Lots of confusion and uncertainty. And maybe even bad communication. It’s not anyone’s fault. We don’t have great role models on this friendship thing. So it’s up to us to BE the role models we so need.
This is not a perfect list. I am not a perfect friend. But Joy has been my role model. And I will rave and tell the world that knowing this woman who sees ONLY the best in people (and laughs at all my jokes) makes me turn around and do the same with the other people in my life. Her light makes mine shine brighter.
In honor of Joy’s birthday – take a moment to rave about your BFF or any friend, for that matter! Rave in the comment box below – or just call her up and let her hear it over the phone!
Happy Birthday Joy!!! I love you!!