I have come to realize recently that I have acquired countless acquaintances over the years, but very few who can be considered true friends. Friends are people who are interested in what you think and believe, in what you have to say.
This post may look like a whole list of rules or requirements, but only if you are missing the big picture. Forest>Trees
The big picture is simple, friends treat friends well, with the highest honor and respect they can muster. All the rest is just how one goes about it. The Golden Rule, use it liberally and without prejudice:
Friends respect that you might understand something that they do not, and that you have lived a life that is just as authentic as theirs. A true friend is someone who is not trying to get something from you (sex,money,job,notoriety,status,fill-in companionship), but rather wants you to be a real part of their world, sit at their table and break bread, sit at your table and break bread, with your friends and family and with their friends and family. A true friend lets you stay the night. They don't stand you up for a last minute booty call, or for another friend. They don't mind if you come over when they are tired or busy if you happen to be in the neighborhood, and you don't mind if they do the same. They are welcoming and they want to spend time with you, and they are not jealous of your other friends, and they want to include you with theirs. They are happy for you when you find love, and respect your lover and the love between you, and they make your lover feel welcome.They respect your children and treat them with love. They don't judge what you are or who you are or where you came from, or try to cast you in a diminished light. They don't put you down in front of others, nor behind your back. They are honest with you, they stand up for you when you are under fire, they listen when you need an ear. They validate your feelings. They don't magnify everything you do, or make things you do or say "wrong" every time they are in a bad mood. They don't try to advise you when you don't ask for advice, they don't always think they know better, they help you when you need help but they don't take over or make it about them. When you are upset with them they want to know why, and then they talk about it with you until you both figure it out.They call you and ask how you are. They don't listen to rumors, and they don't believe everything they hear about you. They ask questions, they speak directly. They pay attention to your accomplishments, they support you in your endeavors, they hold your hand when you lose your balance, they treat you like someone they respect. They understand what makes you free. They come to you as much as you go to them. They laugh with you, and they invite you in. A real friend is really, really hard to find. Gratitude to the people who I can call friend, and that includes family~ you mean the world to me.