Well, first of all, without sounding too reminiscent of the playground, we should all cherish our best friends. These are the ones you can count on one hand. Feel blessed if you have more than one or two and don’t expect many friendships to reach this grade because it can take time, a lot of time, and it takes sharing, a lot of sharing.
It’s hard to be close to someone and care about them if you don’t know much about them, their lives or their feelings. Any reticence from them is likely to restrict you from being genuinely open with them so the relationship will never really drill down into deeper mutual support and affection. Sharing highs and lows, tears and tantrums and still feeling secure in someone’s regard for you is what really close friendship is all about. But it does take time – sometimes a lifetime. When it happens and the life currency between you is so deep, then such friends sort of transmogrify into family.
Cherish too the mentors and strong shoulders amongst your friends. Look for people you can provide the same sort of support to because you may not always be able to repay friendship in kind to the same people. Mentors need to be kept informed and appreciated, however modest they are. They will relish any of your success or triumphs and by nature have assumed a type of responsibility for your achievements. Always keep them in the loop and be very thankful!
Strong shoulders, on the other hand, are usually quite stoic about being the opposite to fair-weather friends. They know their place is in the stormy weather when they have to be rock-like to help you get through sadness and upsets. They are ready with the tea and sympathy and know just the right things to say to put smile back on your face.
Always have among your friends too some real life enhancers. You may have little in common with them, even despair at some of the things they do or say. But their ebullience and relentless good humor cheer along the days and enliven every encounter. And always try to have a wise and honest friend. This person may be different to all of the above – they may not know you very well and they many never become very close but they can be trusted to tell you the truth, however painful, and attach to it some advice tailored for you given in friendship.
Finally, and without wishing too frivolous about such important business – know your friends’ areas of excellence. I have friends I can ask about what I should wear, what should I read, how I should cook something, where the best deals are, where should I go on holiday or even who I can exercise with.