“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.” – C.S. Lewis
That’s right, folks. Today we are talking about that thing called “friendship.” Difficult to define, yet wonderful to behold, it is probably best summed up by leadership author Chris Brady, who labels it “the obscure obvious.”
“Scan any book store and you’ll find millions of books on how to make more money, thousands about how to be more spiritual, hundreds about how to be a better wife and mother, and maybe five or six on how to be a better husband and father. Rarest of all, however, and relegated to the skinny shelf-space reserved for titles such as “Honesty Among Politicians” and “Government Thrift,” you may occasionally find one or two books on friendship.” (Read the rest of the article here)
Isn’t it curious that we seem to have devoted the least amount of time studying one of the most powerful and rewarding aspects of our lives? We don’t even have many stories about friendships. Well, non-fictional ones, that is (I’m looking at you, Turk and JD). Stories about famous lovers? Sure. Famous enemies? Check. Famous friends? Meh.
Orrin Woodward writes in his book RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for Life about the famous friendship between C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, but in all on honesty, I’d never heard about them being friends until after I read Orrin’s book. Before I began studying leadership, it never occurred to me how limited resources really were when it came being a better friend. Most likely because I didn’t think any resources were necessary.
The Eight Principles of Friendship
Speaking of resources, here’s a list of eight principles from Orrin Woodward’s aforementioned book that explain what is involved in a true friendship. (Have you checked out his new book, by the way? It’s awesome!)
- True friends form around a shared insight or interest, enjoying the common bond uniting them.
- True friends accept one another, loving each other despite our human imperfections.
- True friends approve of one another, protecting each others’ weakness while enhancing each others’ strengths.
- True friends appreciate one another, encouraging, serving, and believing in one another’s gifts and talents.
- True friends listen with empathy, learning the hopes, dreams, fears, and struggles of each other.
- True friends celebrate one another’s success, being proud of each other’s accomplishments without a hint of envy.
- True friends are trustworthy, maintaining all confidences.
- True friends are loyal, respecting one another’s character, reputation, and motives, as far as truth allows, while addressing any issues or concerns between them promptly and privately.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say I struggle with some of those principles. How ’bout you? The beautiful thing is we can always grow and get better. Don’t wait until tomorrow to start.