Two of my friends have recently complained to me that I “thinly veil” their identities on Girl Growing Brighter. I guess I see their point: maybe switching first names into initials isn’t so crafty, after all.****+
I’ve been lucky to find fantastic people who continue to be friends with me as I share embarrassing tales about them with people around the world. (Thank you, friends. Thank you, awesome blog readers.) So, how does one find amazing friends like L and C, who’ve recently put up with my poor anonymization skills?****^^ Great question! Here is Green Flag #7, a continuation of Green Flags #1-6: How to find a true friend or awesome partner.
Green Flag #7: Good friends and partners genuinely, truly, share your joy with you.
First, the ubiquitous anti-example: Recently, I engaged in a one-sided friendship with someone who would call me to share the great news of their personal achievements: “I got lots of work done today,” or, “I needed help with such-and-such, and yay, I solved it!”
As good friends do, I would cheer this friend on enthusiastically, even though their accomplishments and good news had no bearing on my own life. Why? Because that is what you do for a friend. You genuinely share in their joy with them.
Finally, last week, I had great personal news. Jumping up and down in my living room, I called and left this very same friend a voice mail message. Hours later, I got a response: An abrupt switching of topics. I was disappointed. I was confused. After all, hadn’t I cheered this person on for finishing a report? And for making a tough phone call? And here I was, with even bigger news, and little response from the same person I’d been cheering on for so long.****##
A potential true friend and/or good partner does not treat you like an ATM machine of goodwill that they can withdraw from endlessly, without giving back any reciprocal energy. A person who truly cares about you, celebrates with you.
Now the example-example. Here’s a short list of things my friends and I have celebrated with each other:
~ getting a new job, or various work-related accomplishments
~ having “tough conversations” with bosses, co-workers, or family members
~ going on a date without unintentionally cock-blocking ourselves via comments like, “Gee, I love being single so much I never want to date anyone ever again.”
~ driving to someone’s house for the first time without getting lost (that is my personal reason to celebrate)
~ expressing personal growth — one of my friends recently said to another, “I can’t believe you were able to do that — you’re so resilient!”
……and the list goes on…..
Here are some things we say to each other:
~ “Congratulations! I am SO happy for you!”
~ “Wow, good job!”
~ “I am very proud of you especially because I know how hard it was for you to do that.”
~ “That was really insightful / motivating / inspiring / kind of you.”
~ “That’s amazing. YOU are amazing.”
~ “You worked SO hard for this. You totally deserve this.”
So the next time that you are celebrating a small victory in your life? Notice who responds with joy. Notice who claps their hands and shouts with you. Notice who says to you, eyes sparkling, “Congratulations! That is great news! Good job, you!”
And THAT, my friends, is the person to get to know.
They will most likely be a good, true friend to you.
****+ To be honest, I’m not quite sure how to mask identities if I’m detailing the time that I walked into a well-lit bar with my friend (in her mid 20’s), and she saw her ex-boyfriend (from when she was in high school). She then freaked out and hid in the corner of the bar, using me as her human shield. I mean, it’s not like that happens to everyone. I could call her “Barbie” or “Beyonce” and she’d still know it was her.
****^^ L and C, don’t be mad at me for employing the same, aforementioned poor anonymization process I say I won’t use anymore. I called you “amazing,” see, that’s a good thing!
****## The person I refer to was obviously not interested enough in me to learn anything about me. Therefore, they have no idea that I am now vaguely describing them to people around the world. So, if you’re wondering about anonymization, no worries!