Good friendships are hard to come by – consuming to develop and intentional to keep. I caught the recent split between professional golfer Tiger Woods and his caddie of twelve years Steve Williams. You can read the Fox News article here. While I’m not going to speculate on the separation or past friendship, the seeming demise of their relationship got me to thinking about this thing called friendships.
We’ll have very few level four or five friendships (scale according to Gary Smalley) in a lifetime. But, of those deeper and significant relationships, there are some essential and necessary components. Strong friendships require intimacy or closeness – the communication or expression of needs and feelings. What do I mean by intimacy? It’s the willingness, practice, and risk of knowing another and being known; walls are removed and the real you is revealed. Intimacy involves transparency. Few if any secrets are hidden in deeper friendships.
In significant friendships, you don’t take advantage of one another. You invest into the friendship sometimes equally at other times the investment is lopsided. Friends are loyal confidants. Information is never used to gain an upper hand in the relationship. You don’t use another to get something you want and then dispose of the friendship. Significant friends are equals, sharpening each other, trustworthy, transparent, authentic, and reliable.
Do you have any significant friendships? Are you a genuine friend?