By David Leonhardt
Our friendships not only tell a lot
about who we are - they make us who we are. You
will know a friendship is true when it brings out
the best in you. Take a look at your friendships.
Do they bring out the best in you? That might seem
like a silly question. We all tend to think, "Of
course they bring out the best in me. I wouldn't
be friends with them otherwise."
But stop and think why you are friends. Here
are a few common reasons why people become friends:
- Common background
- Common current situation-
parenting, home renovations, or some other major
- Common interest, such as cards,
- Somebody you spend time with anyway,
such as a colleague, sibling, etc.
- Somebody you
see frequently anyway, such as a neighbor, store
These are just a few reasons people choose friends.
It is the easy, natural way, but it is not always
in our best interest. Sure, we should always
want to get along with colleagues, neighbors,
siblings, and anybody else.
But we should choose our friends, the people
we open up to, very carefully. For instance,
even a sibling can bring you down, pooh-pooh
your dreams and load you up with negativity. "Ha!
You think you can teach? What do you know about
Even well-meaning friends can be dream-slashers. "Oh,
do you really think you should go into business
for yourself? I mean, what about security?"
On the other hand, some friends have a way of
building up your dreams. "Go for it! You
could really do well. And at worst, you'll at
least have given it your best shot!"
Friends will often lend a hand. "Gee, I
don't know much about fitness, but is there any
way I can help you reach your goal?" Dream-slashers
usually don't. "Hey, if you insist on pursuing
this crazy scheme, leave me out of it."
A true friendship should:
* Encourage you to live your dream.
* Support you toward your goals.
* Sympathize for your losses and help you find
a silver lining.
* Build your self-esteem.
If happiness and life-satisfaction are your
goals, your friends should be chosen on the basis
of how well they can accomplish those four goals.
Happiness is a personal choice that comes from
within. But it sure doesn't hurt to have supportive
friendships that help us achieve our goals.
David Leonhardt is The Happy Guy, publisher of "Your
Daily Dose of Happiness" at http://www.TheHappyGuy.com/daily-happiness-free-ezine.html and author of Climb your Stairway to Heaven:
the 9 habits of maximum happiness at http://www.TheHappyGuy.com/happiness-self-help-book.html