I have a very small circle of friends. So small, that I’m not even sure there is a circle at all; it might just be people scattered about aimlessly. Not too many new people get in or even stay in it. Only the people I trust very well and can relate to me with unbiased views manage to get a coveted seat in the circle. You might say my circle has nepotism in it – favoring one’s relatives or friends and giving them preferential treatment. There is no application or set of questions to get into my “circle”. You just have to fit in naturally.
After brooding over this a while, I believe there really is no single question I could come up with that would determine whether or not I could be friends with someone. Simply because I can easily tell if someone will be a good friend to me by just looking at them (at least in the physical world – not online). If the person remained kind and loyal to me over a certain period of time, I would eventually come to accept them as my friend. It would be rather easy to see that a friendship wouldn’t work if that person and I just did not get along at all on anything. If there is no harmony or controlled chaos (yes, that is contradictory), then a friendship is highly unlikely.
Based upon my experiences with making friends, I know a good friendship consists of two or more people complementing each other, not exactly being alike but offering something that makes the others constantly improve by evolving ideas and bringing new things to the table. Friendly competitions among the group push each other to new levels that strengthen each person’s knowledge and ingenuity. There are arguments, but eventually everyone agrees on a consensus. A bad friendship doesn’t do that. It involves one another constantly competing with each other and never coming to any agreements, with eventual ideas wilting or only being half-baked.
But you still insist I come up with a question and an appropriate answer to it. Well, it was tough to come up with a selective question because I’ve never needed one in the past but I guess that question would be:
“Can you be similar to me in interests and thoughts, but not too similar that neither of us ever get anywhere or advance each other in terms of knowledge and success?”
And the potential answer from potential friend, after some ponderous thought:
“Well, I’m not sure if both of those parameters can be met perfectly but yes, I’m sure we have many things in common that will put us in harmony but also conflicting viewpoints that will constantly make us want to compete with each other and improve each other’s status. In other words, if I do or say something that you don’t completely go by, we could settle our differences with a little bit of friendly fire, trying to make each other understand that one’s views and decisions are his and are no right or better than others. By having these friendly arguments, we push each other to become better; to refocus our life goals and be better prepared to take on any interpersonal challenge that comes our way. It is a good way to bring up new ideas and decide if they are a good fit or not. Like fusing two elements together, our thoughts and ideas can combine to form something new and remarkable that will benefit both of us and possibly other people”.
Because without a little competition in a friendship, nothing new or exciting can ever come out of it. It will be constantly stuck in neutral, never evolving to allow each other to ascend new heights and become the person they always wanted to be. The answer to my question is not a definitive one and does not have to be that long. I just simply have to know, either in the person’s voice or their body language, that they have the will and motivation to do something interesting and eventful while also pushing me to challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone. Think about how many companies, such as Apple, or bands, such as U2, would have never reached the success they are at right now, if not for a little bit of fighting and disagreeing over things. There has to be that edge that pushes a friendship or partnership past its limits to be able to explore new possibilities.
In Response to the Daily Prompt: Litmus Test