a real friend

My brother gave me a self-help book for Christmas–Safe People

It is odd to receive a self help book as gift. It implies that I need some help, and maybe I should get my self together.

Then again, my brother loves me. I probably *should* get myself together.

I read it. And very quickly I was engrossed. It turns out there are a number of icky relationships I have been tolerating in my life.┬áThe book is very Church, very Christian-y, which I do not like. I am a Christian, but I don’t care to be given the bible as the only supporting evidence to prove a point. If it were true, it would be true outside the Bible as well as in.

I read stuff that triggered all kinds of exmples. My experience provided the outside examples of what theauthors were trying to prove. It rang very true.

The end of it gave a formula. It came from some bible verse, but which one doesn’t really matter.

It was a formula for how to gauge a safe and true friend.

Dwell

Grace

Truth

“Dwell” means that person will hang with you. They will be around. They will spend the time and be available. Yes, that is the first part of a friend. Spending time, spending some effort.

“Grace” means a lot of things to me. The churchy meaning is “god’s grace”, as in forgiveness. Or comfort. Or empowerment to do a difficult thing. Grace also means elegance. The opposite of grace would be awkward. An awkward friendship might be on that just doesn’t quite mesh. Not the same sense of humor, or a way of speaking that is out of rhythm with one’s own. If you can’t find a naturalness to being with a person, then the friendship just won’t work.

Then there is Truth. A friend has to be the one to tell you the truth. Who among us would not doubt the veracity of a friendship, upon realizing that a friend didnt’ tell you about spinach in your teeth for the last hour? If our friends won’t tell us the truth, they are not friends.

Not that they should be cruel about it. See: “Grace.” A friend would also hang around to help you deal with a painful truth. See: “Dwell.”

This is a great measure to hold up against the people I spend time with. I find myself changing some plans.

I have a friend who is super fun and kind of glamorous. She is very willing to get together (Dwell). We have great times, and laugh (Grace). But I know that a couple times she hasn’t really told me the truth. She said a couple things, smallish, but I can tell she’s not real strong on the truth part.

I have another friend who is willing to hang, and is a little less glamorous and funny. But I can feel a lot more sure of what she tells me. She’s a lot stronger on the truth than GlamGal.

It occurred to me, that if there was a choice, all things being equal, I’d be better off spending time with truthgal.