Accepting someone for who they are should be a golden rule in a book somewhere. Although acceptance tends to be easier said than done. People talk about tolerance and acceptance all the time. What they may not realize is that tolerance and acceptance are two different things.
It can be difficult to keep your mouth shut about little quirks your friends may have. A good example: when your friend opens a can of soda, she turns the tab to the right side. If the tab happens to break off, she throws the full can of soda away, believing it’s bad luck. This makes you insane because you feel it is very wasteful. By biting your tongue, you show her that you aren’t putting her down for being superstitious.
What it means
Accepting your friends the way they are is so important to them. No one wants to feel like an oddball or outcast. The little quirks people have help make up who they are, and make each person unique.
Think about each one of your friends. What do you like about them? Maybe one has an uncanny knack for humor, that sometimes comes out at the wrong time. Maybe another one snorts when he laughs. While it may be slightly annoying, it might be endearing. Another friend may be a little egotistical. Sure, that can be frustrating, but it is part of who he is.
Think about your own personality quirks. Maybe you close your eyes every time you sip from a straw, or cry like a baby when watching a sad movie for the one hundredth time. Aside from a little good natured ribbing, your friends have probably accepted your quirks.
Being a good friend means you accept your friends the way they are. You don’t try to change them into what you think they should be. When people know they can be themselves, they are more relaxed and can have a good time. There is nothing worse than having to pretend to be something you’re not in order to gain acceptance. Not many people enjoy having to hide something about themselves. With good friends, you don’t have to hide.
The big picture
Accepting friends for who they are helps develop trust. When they know they can trust you, you have the basis for a good friendship. Trusting you and being able to come to you strengthens the friendship. It can be comforting for them to know that they can come to you about anything. Whether it is something small and silly or life changing, be there for them.
It may sound silly, but accepting people for who they are, quirks and all, goes a long way in the development of a strong friendship. You may say you could care less about how they laugh, or their crooked little toe but they do care.
Things that seem silly and unimportant to you can be a source of paranoia or even shame for your friends. When they see that you are not bothered by those things, it can boost their self-confidence. It also shows them that you really like them and are not judging them.