Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Romeo was a bad friend

Who did you call after your first kiss? When you met Mr. Right or when you got engaged? Was that person a good friend? Do you know her still?

Being a friend is a lifelong job, and some people are better at it than others. Take good ole Romeo, for instance. Self-absorbed, always talking about his girlfriends ... Sometimes these behaviors are merely annoying, but some have the power to fracture even the strongest friendships. Here's a quick list of friendship faux pas:

1. Always talking about yourself. We all go through rough patches where we need support. And in those times it's natural to lean more heavily on our friends—as long as we're around for their rough patches too. And provided our rough patches are just that—patches. Not a unhealthy habit of nagging or whining.

2. Getting competitive. I'm fairly goal-oriented, but I quickly learned it's much healthier and more productive to compete against your own personal best than to turn a friend into a competitor. It's hard to brag about your accomplishments when you've just trod on your friends to get there.

To me, this also means celebrating your friends' successes and victories with a sincere and joyful spirit—the same spirit you want them to have when your big say comes.

3. Failing to follow up or follow through. Some friendships languish simply because no one reaches out to keep the friendship strong. I've been guilty of this. Getting absorbed in solitary projects and waking up to an empty room and no plans on the social calendar. Sometimes we need to make the effort—take the risk—and reach out.

As a side note, I recently watched a bromance that highlights some of the funnier aspects of finding—and keeping—friends. Watch it with a friend.

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