What kind of friend were you in 2011? What kind of friend do you want to be in 2012?
It is hard to determine what kind of friend I was in 2011, exactly. You would probably have to consult my friends for their take on this question. I assume, as far as quality is concerned, I must have been a fairly good one to at least some portion of people I know, otherwise I would not have gotten such a moving response to my difficulties as often as I did. True, some people could have responded out of pure altruism, but not that many in one group of people, I dare say. I am grateful either way, but I have gathered one has to be a good friend to have good friends.
Yet if by “kind” the prompt refers to what type of friend I was, I suppose I’d have to say the invested kind. The friend who works at understanding what makes the other people tick, and knowing how their most important issues at the moment are unfolding. Their projects, their hobbies, their health, etc. The friend who asks many questions about the nature of what someone is doing, and what the goal is. The friend who makes as many constructive, or at least aesthetic observations about the things that matter most to any given friend at any given moment.
I try to educate myself on what my friends are living.
I’d like to continue to do that in 2012, of course. But I would also like to be the friend that is called upon in the middle of the night, or for the unique help he can bring. I want to be the friend of action as much as I am the friend of words and sentiment. To an extent this requires a choice by my friends to let me in and have those chances to make a direct difference through action. (Not that expressing support is not action. It is. But one can be more confident in having made a difference if he is directly taking a specific, outward action sometimes, I think.)
Which means I may have to be less ambiguous. I may have to work a little harder on letting people know how I feel a little more often. And I might have to risk losing a friend here or there by honestly expressing larger concerns. There is a time for tact and for holding one’s tongue, but I’d like to be better at saying the bold thing that needs to be said for the good of the person in 2012.
A friend that both loves, and challenges, but only when needed.
Hopefully 2012 will not bring much need to do that, but will bring my ability to make that decision during the times it actually does arise.