Even though I am happy to meet and cultivate friendships with many different kinds of people, there are some things that I will never tolerate if you consider yourself a close friend. These deal breakers are not prejudiced against someone’s gender, sexual orientation, religion, socio-economic status, or any other human identifier, but have more to do with the person’s character. These deal breakers include: 1) Hurting me or my loved ones in some way, and not apologizing or repenting of your actions. 2) Betraying me in some way. This includes pretending to be my friend in order to manipulate me in some way. 3 )If I find out one is abusing children or animals in some way. All these deal breakers involve people who may think they are my friend (or not), but do not demonstrate the authenticity or the care needed to be a friend to me—or to anyone else. Here is why:
The Deal Breakers
If I find out one of my friends is hurting either me, or more likely, my loved ones in some ways, this is a definite deal breaker for me. First of all, I will not surround myself with people who intentionally want to hurt my family or my friends who I love. If they change their behaviors and attitudes towards my loved ones, then I will most likely forgive them. However, if they don’t, then they are a distraction and a harmony-breaker, and are not someone with whom I would ever want a close relationship. I do not need friends who bully or attack those I Iove in my life, and I will not tolerate them. For instance, if my parents or brother lets me know someone is or was hurting them, and this person hasn’t apologized or repented of their actions, I may still talk to them or be cordial to them, but I will not allow them to examine the depths of my heart—or that of my loved ones.
Another definite deal breaker for me if I have considered you a friend is if you do something to betray me in some kind of way. One thing I absolutely hate is when people fail to be honest with me! When someone lies to me, it not only calls their character into question, but it also calls the friendship and how much they really value me into doubt as well. One way to lie that is an absolute deal breaker for me is to be my friend only to use me for your pleasure or purpose! I do not tolerate narcissistic people who I know are using me and not really being genuine in their intent or friendship with me. For instance, I have found out, probably much too late for my good, that several people that were in my life only wanted to be friends with me because either a.) They felt sorry for me and only wanted to be friends with me to “feel good” about themselves, and when they did not want to do the work of a real friendship, they faded away. b) They wanted people to give them unconditional support and if I tried to correct them (even gently), they became upset with me, showing their true intentions. C) They wanted to be “friends” with me just so they could do with me according to their pleasure, never thinking about what I needed or wanted from them. These people definitely merit my INFJ (What is an INFJ? Read this, for more information) door slam! A door slam is basically a sudden form of going no-contact with someone, either emotionally or physically, or both.
The third, and perhaps, most serious deal breaker, is if I find out one of my friends is abusing children or animals, or any other of the most vulnerable in society. I can tolerate many things from many people, but cruelty is not one of them. If you are cruel to this point, I probably don’t even converse with you. Cruelty to children, animals, and any of the most vulnerable in society, not only saddens me, but enrages me as well. Unfortunately, sometimes I have had vengeful thoughts against those who would be so cruel to others, and if I find out you are like this, are not repentant, and still want to be my friend, I will cut off all contact with you, no questions asked.
I did not want to finish without focusing on the positive characteristics I most appreciate in those I consider good friends. They are:
Authenticity—Most of the deal breakers I described above are evidence of people who are not genuine and have very calloused souls. However, I am happy to say that all my close friends have characteristics of authenticity. My one friend, Veronica*, for instance, is not afraid to be vulnerable with herself or with the struggles that she is facing in her life. I appreciate that kind of honesty and openness in her. My other friend, Kelly,* is also honest about her struggles and always strives to care for and appreciate her friends, as much as possible. I know that some people may be afraid of sharing their struggles, because they are afraid of being judged. Don’t be. It is better for you to be unapologetically who you are, flaws and all, no matter what others think, than to be some plastic image of perfection. If you don’t want to be friends with someone, say so, and then distance yourself from them. I know I may sound a bit harsh, but it is better to do this, than to pretend to be friends with them, when what that person probably needs is a genuine and caring presence.
Caring—All of the deal breakers had focused on people who are basically manipulative, cruel, selfish, and apathetic to the damage they cause to the ones around them. However, I am blessed to have friends who exhibit none of those traits. My friend Erica* is giving her life right now to help those in need. My friend Kelly* is a registered nurse, who wants to travel to restore the health of those who are sick or injured. My friend Veronica* also has a passion for others finding the joy and love she has found in Jesus. We care for people when we think of others besides ourselves and our own needs. We care for others when we think through things before we do them, to discern if the action will also benefit others. We care for others when we seek to love others and share the joy that we have found in life with those around us, especially those who need it most.
Hard-working—One of the characteristics I almost always appreciate in people is when they strive to do something with all their hearts, rather than to just meet the “status quo”. I am glad that Kelly* is able to become a nurse because I believe her drive and passion for helping others makes her the best qualified for a career like that. I appreciate that many of my managers strive to work hard, even coming in on their days off sometimes, to make sure the work is done well. I appreciate that many of my friends, especially those closest to me, are very hard working and strive continually to make the world around them a better place.
So, the best way to have a good friendship with me—and with others as well, is to be authentic, caring and kind, and hard-working. However, the worst way to try to be friends with me is to be inauthentic in some way or to be callous and mean-spirited toward my loved ones, towards those who are most vulnerable in society, and to me. What are your deal breakers in friendships? Why? What are the characteristics that you value in your friends? Why? Feel free to discuss in the comments.
*=not their real names