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Life Lessons in Friendships

I couldn't agree more with one of Oprah's tweets this year:
"I thank the people who've brought me dark moments; when I felt most wounded and betrayed. You have been my greatest teachers."

I can now clearly see and understand that. Sometimes, you wonder, why a relationship or friendship that seemed so right and perfect, takes such an unexpected turn for the worse? Although it's an experience that can be extremely painful and disappointing, I'll have to maintain balance by endeavoring to see it for what it is - a lesson in life that needs to be learned.

That's why it's very important to size up a potential friend first - meaning if you are interested in making friends with someone you have met, you might want to ask yourself ‘Who are his or her friends?’ You've heard the adage "birds of a feather flock together"? Well, the type of close associates someone has tells much about the person himself. Also, it is wise to consider not only how potential friends treat us but also how they treat others, particularly those from whom they have nothing to gain. Unless a person displays good qualities - such as honesty, integrity, patience, and consideration - at all times and to all people, what guarantee is there that this person will always treat you well? Getting to know someone’s true character requires patience and skill, as well as time to observe the person in real life. We need to talk to potential friends about serious subjects - those that reveal their true personality, motivations and, yes, values. What sort of people are they? Are they kind or cold? Basically positive and cheerful or negative and cynical? Unselfish or self-serving? Trustworthy or disloyal? If a person talks critically about others to you, what will prevent such an individual from talking negatively about you behind your back?

Some think that their friends must have exactly the same tastes as they do. It is true that friends need to have enough in common to be able to understand each other, and it is best if they share the same basic moral and spiritual values. But they do not have to be identical in personality and background. In fact, differences in life experience can bring richness and mutual benefit to a friendship. The good results of mutual encouragement can be far-reaching. Many happy young adults give much of the credit for their success to friends of their youth who were at least a little older and who served as good examples and gave them good advice. So great friendships don't have to be limited to just our peers.

More great advice on friendships:

... how to create a healthy social circle
... four ways on how to keep a friendship alive
... True friendship - how to build it?

*Photo sources {1} {2} {3} {4}

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