The Best of Everyone

My mother had a wise friend, many years ago, who gave her some advice that my mother later passed on to me. No one is perfect, Essie told my mother and my mother told me, and everyone is going to have some faults. You can’t disqualify someone as a friend just because they have faults. We all have them. You have to look for the good points in people and overlook their bad points.

Of course—and this is me talking now, not my mother or her friend—that advice reads a little better than it plays. There are, in fact, some faults that cannot be overlooked. What they are varies from person to person, though. What I am willing to put up with in another person you may not be able to overlook. What you are able to overlook may be insufferable to someone else.

What are your “hot button” issues? Do you despise gossip? Are you unwilling to put up with someone who lies or even just stretches the truth a little? Is disloyalty your big bugaboo? Do you have no time or use for someone who is ruthlessly ambitious…or someone who has no ambition at all? Whatever the traits you have zero patience with, someone who possesses one of those traits is not a good candidate for your friendship. This is true, despite what Essie and my mother preached, no matter how wonderful their other traits are.

But if a person displays good traits and none of the faults on your most-despised list, don’t hold their flaws, faults, and foibles against them. Accept that they are human and, like all of us—you included!—they have certain shortcomings. Appreciate them for their good points. Befriend them for the enjoyment you can derive from the friendship. And overlook the rest.

You’ll have more friends, and more satisfying friendships that way.


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