At a young age, we start discerning who we do and don't want to be friends with based on experiences of our past or preconceptions from family, TV, movies and the general culture. Some things are helpful (I don't want a friend who does drugs...) others are not as helpful...(I won't be friends with someone who doesn't have the most modern cell phone.)
Being asked to give a talk for the local university's Catholic Student Organization about "virtuous friendship" got me thinking about some of these "unhelpful" things we say to ourselves about who we can or can't be friends with and share parts of our life with. In the end, these ten things might be helping you miss out on a great confidant and friend.
1. Loving your friends as things and your possession.
2. Judging someone on a first impression.
3. Thinking that people have to be your same age, have same interests, live in the same place or be single (insert married if you are married, in college, working etc.) for you to get along.
4. Friends have to be people who agree with you.
5. Friends having to be "Church" people or never making any mistakes.
6. Using your friends as an ego-boost.
7. Keeping your friends in their separate circles.
8. Holding grudges for past hurts done by that friend.
9. Thinking that since you are only in a place for a certain length of time, friendship is probably not possible.
10. Friends go stale, so we need to always be making new friends to keep it fresh.
I could say a lot about each of these topics (and I did at Monday night's CSO meeting..haha) but in the end, the question that arises is, "What is the criteria for a true friendship?" I think, through experience, I've come to learn the the only necessary criteria is that both parties are open to the truth and want you to discover the best version of yourself--the person you were created to be. These two parties would fight their whole lives for this discovery and rejoice unselfishly for one another when it's found. There can be nothing greater than companions on a path to ultimate greatness.
So, with this post, I'm so thankful for the endless faces of friends I've had through the years, have currently and will have in the future. God's face is an ever-changing Mystery, but He's always been present in a community who loves me and is showing me the way to true happiness. My prayer is that all people can love and be loved in this way!