1. What does “friendship” mean to you?
Like the word "love", friendship occurs on so many levels. We say we are friends with folk who range from mere acquaintance to soul sister.
To me, there is a BIG difference between being "friendly" with someone and being FRIENDS. I have lots of people who are my colleagues, my cohort, my fellow congregation members, others I associate with due to the circumstances that bring us together on a more or less regular basis. I genuinely like and enjoy most of them. But FRIEND to me denotes a more deliberate choosing, not just happenstance bringing us together. FRIEND means a level of sharing that is not given indiscriminately to others. FRIEND means there is a commitment there.
2. What are the qualities you look for in a good friend?
Honesty, sense of humor, ability and willingness to maintain a confidence.
3. When does an acquaintance become a “friend”?
When we mutually begin sharing personal information we would not tell others and demonstrate trustworthiness.
4. What makes a friendship become more or less significant / intimate to you?
The degree of confidentiality I associate with what I tell them and/or they tell me.
I can genuinely ENJOY a person I do not reveal much to. But TRUST is another matter. Trust is a huge component of friendship for me.
5. What aspects of yourself do you share with a friend that you do not share with others?
Some things about my personal history. Certain opinions, values, hopes, dreams.
6. What aspects of yourself do you usually hold back in your friendships?
Things I feel vulnerable about.
7. What are some behaviors you expect from your friends?
Maintain confidences. Be truthful.
8. What are some behaviors you would not tolerate in your friends?
Mocking my values, (disagreeing is fine, ridiculing is not.)
Disrespecting my personal boundaries.
9. How does one’s willingness to be vulnerable impact friendship development?
I think it's a pretty big deal. It is quite difficult for me to show my soft under belly emotionally. But when I do with someone who can be trusted, it definitely takes the friendship to a completely different level.
10. How would you deal with sexual and / or romantic feelings (either your own or the other person’s) in a relationship you are committed to keeping as “just friends” ?
Since I am in a committed monogamous marriage I have absolutely no room for this. If I felt myself being particularly attracted to or turned on my a friend, or if a friend was overtly flirty or coming on to me in any way, I would WAY back peddle from that person. I value my marriage way too much to allow this to encroach. This is why Sean Connery and I can never be friends.
11. How do you deal with hurt feelings, conflicts, or betrayal of trust is a friendship?
Depends. Sometimes I just swallow it down, don't address it at all, and change my expectations about the relationship. I have to have a lot of respect for the person to go to them and tell them if I have felt hurt or betrayed by something they said or did and work to repair it.
In a case where I did something that made a very close friend of mine feel hurt and betrayed I tried very diligently to fix the rift. It didn't work and that person is lost to me. It has been over 10 years ago and I miss her still.
12. How have you changed as an individual due to the influence of friends?
Oh heavens, in MANY ways. My friends have taught me so much. I've learned things about spirituality, practical things like how to navigate through crowds safely, how to laugh at myself, and tons more. I would be a mere shadow of myself without the impact of my friends.
How about you?