How to You Choose Your Friends?

Updated on April 27, 2011
S.J. asks from Cherryville, MO
16 answers

Look around at your closest friends (couples or just the individual). What is it about them that you love?

Do they have negative qualities you overlook and if yes, why do you choose to overlook them?

What if a friend had completely ridiculous attitudes toward money (ie, lots of debt, frivilous spending, etc) - would you be able to be close friends with that person?

Do you find the older you get the fewer close friends you have?

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answers from San Francisco on

I'm drawn toward easy, energetic, happy people. Sharing a history with them is important too, at my age.

The only thing I can't really overlook is someone who never listens to others.

Yes, I could be (and am) friends with people in ridiculous debt -- you just steer clear of that topic.

No, I don't really find that I have fewer close friends as I get older, probably more.

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answers from Tulsa on

i like that they accept me. i like that we have similar values in raising kids.
i can not be friends with moochers anymore or people who live beyond their means. or drama queens. Real friends are harder to find.

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answers from Seattle on

Actually... I find that the older I get the MORE friends I have.

I make friends through pure, dumb, luck. Right place at the right time... and have the time (as do they) to pursue a friendship.

I am close friends with MANY who have ridiculous attitudes. As long as I don't have to live with them, their foibles don't affect me. On the other hand, I don't need to respect someone to be friends with them. More typically, however, I DO respect the person in many ways, just not in one area. A person may be a brilliant _______, and absolutely lousy at ______. I can respect their assets without their foibles detracting from my overall view of them. It's just something to know. Person A is rabid about politics, Person B can't handle money, Person C is ...

This quote however... sums up my own life:

"Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh."
W. H. Auden

As does:

"I have lost friends, some by death... others through sheer inability to cross the street."
- Virginia Woolf

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answers from Denver on

I always had trouble making/keeping friends as a child - I was physically/emotionally abused and had low self esteem - so I was always trying too hard and came across as awkward. However, I've been incredibly lucky as an adult.

My best friend in the entire world is my spouse :-) but my best girlfriend is someone I met when we first relocated to CO 14 years ago. She is amazing, super kind hearted and incredibly giving. She is also an extreme planner, annoyingly organized and a bit of a control freak - lol - I love her just the same.

Everyone has their faults - and I feel fortunate to have some truly WONDERFUL friends that I KNOW KNOW KNOW would be there for me in a heartbeat.

As for the money thing - sure - what do I care if they rack up debt and live beyond their means - not my life. Being a friend means being there for that person - in good and bad - and NOT JUDGING.

I guess I am lucky that as I've gotten older I've found more and more friends - and actually make an effort every year to make a new friend. We aren't all best friends - but everyone of my friends is precious and fills a special place in my heart. I can't imagine my life without them...

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answers from Austin on

I don't choose my friends by the way they live. Its their life not mine. I tend to navigate to women who have a sense of humor, a tad sarcastic, not stuck on themselves, kind, compassionate, and I will add that I tend to hit it off way better with women who have children ( young or old ) rather than women who don't have any children.
I've been blessed with a few close friends that I cherish. I have alot of acquaintances but only about 3 close friends. I'm very picky , lol, I don't let just anyone in my life.
Of course my friends have 'habits' that I don't like or agree with, but I don't care about that. Friends lift you up,.....even if its with one hand and the other hand is scratching their armpit.....true friendship is uplifing - even with bad habits. Did that makes sense? ;)

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answers from Salt Lake City on

A wise person told me to hang around people I want to be like. I try to do this.

That doesn't mean I look for perfect people. A true friend is aware of your defects and loves you anyway. But I tend to look for people who generally have a positive attitude, who don't complain a lot, who listen, and who won't repeat what I say to others (ie confidential stuff) - which you can kind of tell by how much they gossip about others to you.
I also know that I get along better with people who share similar interests. I like scifi/fantasy and I'm mathy, so I tend to have friends who are kind of the same.

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answers from Honolulu on

I have had many friends and have many friends.
Some short term. Some long term. Some life long.
Each has a purpose in one's life.

I get along with many people from many backgrounds and cultures and ages.
Who I have in my own personal close inner-circle... is by choice. Consciously.
Different than me? Yes.
Same as me? Yes. That too.
But, those that are in my close inner circle- Those being by choice, not Toxic or trouble-maker meddling drama filled women. I lived that phase of my life, already. I do not do re-runs.

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answers from Houston on

My friends are totally screwed up I have a narcissist ,pessimistic cheater, drama queen alcoholic friend, a hoarder, pretentious slacker friend,A stoner friend with no ambition, an overeater friend, a mentally ill friend, a depressed friend, a perfectionist judgmental friend.........etc.........I choose to overlook their bad qualities because i'm not perfect and i know that no human is.

I find i keep very few people extremely close to me, and yes, i have cut a few people out of my life. Most of my close friends have been around for over a decade.

No, is the answer to your other question, What my friends do with their money is none of my beeswax(im not their accountant im their friend), as long as they aren't borrowing it from me. There are a lot worse things someone can be.

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answers from Bloomington on

Most of my friends have been friends for years. What do I love about them? That they know me and "get" me. I can always count on them...
Do they have negative qualities? Sure, don't we all? I overlook them just as I do with family because they aren't serious and not really my problem. My closest friend and her husband are horrible with money and she likes to overexaggerate alot! But, I love her dearly!!! I just listen like a good friend and keep my mouth shut. Her $ is her $, not my problem. And if it make her feel better to exaggerate something, who cares.
I do have less closer friends now than in my 20s, but I also moved almost 2 hours away when I married my husband.

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answers from Santa Fe on

I choose friends that I "click" with. They have to be kind. l have to enjoy being with them. Of course those I am closest to are the people who share similar philosophies in life. That's about it. I am 39 and I find that as I get older I still have many close friends, not fewer. I am more picky now about who my best friends are. I am not sure how to answer your question about being friends with someone who is a frivolous spender. I have not been in that situation but I have a feeling that if we like each other a lot and "click" together that I could overlook this. Yes, I can overlook negative qualities in good friends...actually, I come to find them endearing with time.

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answers from Sacramento on

I definitely have fewer close friends now. I had a bunch in college and afterward, but once I focused on my career and then family, it narrowed to people I really wanted to be friends with.

I definitely overlook qualities, but I'm sure they do the same with me. One friend is having marital troubles and confided that she almost had an affair. That really shook me, but in the end, she made the right decision so it wasn't a huge deal. I love that she's blunt and will always be straightforward with me. She's definitely the one to say, "You look fat in those pants, don't buy them" or "Wow, you MUST buy that shirt! You look great!" If I'm in a bad mood, she listens and doesn't try to cheer me up in a fake way, which is also perfect.

Now that I'm almost 41, I've realized no one is perfect, so I'm not so picky with mistakes people make in life or personality quirks.

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answers from St. Louis on

I like my friends because I can trust them and confide in them. How they spend their money is none of my concern as long as they are not asking to borrow from me. I have known my best friends since 1st grade they know everything about me all the up's and down's. Nobody is perfect and I know that I sure am not either. The older I get the more friends I get esp. as my kids get more involved in things.

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answers from San Francisco on

I find that as you get older, your true friends are the ones who remain in your life.
When I was younger I had more friends, mostly because I found it easier to overlook the negative stuff. But having a husband, children, a home, and all the obligations that come with this life, I just don't have room for any drama. My life is full of enough drama!
So yes, I've lost some friends along the way, people I REALLY liked but for one reason or another (they whine, they don't want to work, they are unreliable, they lead very different lives) I have just let the friendships go. When I was 14 I met my BFF and we are still as close as ever, which is awesome :) Other than that, my circle of "friends" includes my SILs and fellow moms, some of whom I socialize with but no one that I am particularly close to. I have reconnected with some long lost friends via facebook as well, which is nice, but I can't see getting together with them any time soon. Life is good as is!

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answers from Seattle on

I have never been one to run with a big crowd. My three best friends are people I have known for a while. My best gf i have known since third grade. My two male friends since middle school. One lives with us.

My GF is a great soul. She is always learning and educating herself. She is a shelf-less mother. She took on mother hood for the pure choice to save a child in danger. she is a foster mom. She is my hero. everything I aspire to be. She helps me keep my head turned up to the lord. I would be a far less better person with out her.

My to GBF's are great uncles. They have been there with me through thick and thin with my kids. If we needed a sitter cause someone had to go to ER..bam they were there. IF the boys needed someone to rough house with and I needed to get work done hero again! They make being a mom easier. When I need another set of hands I can always count on them. They know that with my husbands insane hours it is easier for them to be here then my hub miss work.

All three have positive and negs about them. One can be very very moody. One thinks they have all the answers to parenting...yet they have never done it full time before. One holds me up to a very high standard for being a mom as well and I always seem to fall just a bit short. None of this changes the fact I Love each one of them. I just take it and roll with it. Their better qualities out way the bad.

I have been the friend to have a bad time with money. I can only imagine what anyone of them has thought about us. We both have had to make alot of cut backs and they have watched and supported us though many skinned knees or bad times. I hope they know I would do it for them too.

AS for making friends from scratch now days, I am very careful. I have trust issues when it comes to people. So, I stay guarded. I have had a few bad relationships. which has left me this way.

I think I have been lucky too. I have three single friends who have embraced my hubbies and I choice to start a family. I hear about people who loose touch with their friends because they do or dont have kids. I have never really worried about it with them. I know that every milestone my kids hit they will want to be apart of it.

Good question! I want to go call my BF.

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answers from St. Louis on

thru my childhood, we traveled to our lake home 3 out of 4 wkends....from March to November. The rest of the year, I had friends in the neighborhood, but I never really had a best friend....until I was 35?! I really don't feel as if I've missed out....simply because I have always been extremely close to both my Mom & my sister. We travel together, we shop together, we gather every chance we can get!

I have found....since the advent of Facebook....that I am enjoying rekindling the friendships I had thru the years. This applies to both friends & family. I am now responsible for our family reunions & I rejoice in this. & I am really looking forward to this wkend: I'm my Mom's date for a cousin's wedding! I haven't seen this part of the family since my Dad's funeral 18 months ago. & then later in the wkend, my sis is having a huge party to celebrate her son's Navy deployment/future SEAL training.....& she's invited some friends we haven't seen.....again since Dad's death or before. These are friends from our teen years .....& we're all happy to reconnect!

This reconnection is very important to me right now. I am also finding that I enjoy talking with total strangers & finding ways to briefly connect with them. It's fun & I love how shocked my sons are when I talk to strangers! It's contrary to all I've taught them.....but when you're standing in line, it's just fun to find a common ground to smile about!

So, all this said, I have ONE absolutely best friend. We talk daily! & I have many acquaintances I enjoy seeing occasionally. I have zero tolerance for BS, & I find that my lifestyle suits me very well!

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answers from Honolulu on

We are military and move a lot. Close for me is a relative term...

That being said, I do have close friends. What I value in them is that we have a common interest or two. Knitting friends, Church friends, Bible study friends, Mom's group friends, Ceramic's class friends and Scuba diving friends. Most of them have 2+ interests that coincide with mine. I do not have a friend that overspends mostly because people that overspend have the activity of ... spending money... usually on things they don't need, or I really don't want, like my acquaintance that that just bought a new car (like in 2011 car!!!) and thinks I should buy one because it is "fun"...

I do not want one and will not buy one, let alone have the money for one.

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