Misty asked: I'd like to know what you look for in a friend? What is a meaningful friendship to you?
When I was in 4th or 5th grade there was a girl who I'll call Sally that nobody liked. Looking back, I see that she wasn't well cared for: She rarely bathed, her hair was really greasy and gross, she didn't smell so good, and her clothes were dirty and unkempt. On top of all that, she was annoying.
One day, her class came into mine in order to watch a movie. They set up chairs in between all our desks so that they could sit and watch. Sally sat right next to me. I remember that she had some sort of toy she was showing to me, and she kept spinning it on my desk. I was afraid that she was going to get us into trouble so I told her to stop it. She didn't. So I told her again, a bit more forcefully. That time she stopped, but then I noticed that she was crying and I realized that I'd hurt her feelings.
I felt horrible. Nobody liked Sally, and I always tried to be nice to her since she had no friends, but I didn't necessarily want to be her friend either. But that day, I realized that 1) Sally considered me her friend and 2) everyone has feelings and that I had crossed a line. And I never wanted to do that again, to anyone.
In the 25 or so years since then I have always tried to include everyone. Consequently, sometimes I have an odd assortment of friends, but that doesn't bother me. What does bother me is when people can't understand why I would call this or that person my friend. Personally, at this time in my life, I think we're all a little too old for exclusive behavior, and I didn't like it back in high school anyway.
Anyway. I am willing to be a friend to anyone and I don't really look for certain qualities in a friend, because I see every person I meet as a potential friend. What happens though, is that many of my friendships are more one-sided, and sometimes people take advantage of my good nature (that's a different conversation). Again, I don't terribly mind...I am happy to be there as a listening ear and as a support.
However, I need all those things in a friend, too. And a friend that's willing to give those things and lend a listening ear isn't as easy to find as one might think. Consequently, my closest friends and therefore my most meaningful friendships are the ones who lift and encourage me. The ones that give me a shoulder to cry on when I need one. Of course they know they can come to me for the same, but the relationship is much more equal.
Also, I've never been the one who has a million girlfriends to go to the mall with. I usually only have a few friends that I am totally comfortable enough with to just call and do lunch or whatever. I'm still kind of shy, after all, despite my strange addiction to blogging. :)