After years of speaking to women’s groups on the topic of friendship, I have discovered a pattern of characteristics that women typically appreciate in other people. Here are the top seven relationship ingredients that have surfaced over the years. I encourage you to consider these qualities in light of your current friendships and, if you are married, in light of your relationship with your spouse. (They’re great building blocks for marriage.) These are qualities to internalize in your own life in order to become a better friend. You can also use them as a measure to consider (not judge) potential friendships in the future.
1. Take a genuine interest in others.
Dale Carnegie, author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, said, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.” As we listen to others and show an interest in what is important to them, we begin to truly love and understand them. Every person has an invisible sign around his or her neck that reads, “I want to feel important.” Everyone has something to offer this world. We need to search for it, find it, and bring it to the surface.
I’ve found that scheduling an “Others Hour” is a good way to make time to be attentive to others. What is an Others Hour? It’s a sixty minute period we reserve on our schedules each week in order to focus solely on our friends and their needs. I know for me, if something is not on the calendar, it typically doesn’t happen. An Others Hour is a time when we can write a note or make a call or deliver a gift or do a favor. It’s a time when we can pray for a certain friend in need. Try it. Who knows? You may find your Others Hour multiplies throughout the week!