Accepting Imperfections in Our Friends (And Others)

Yesterday I saw a link to a blog post that contained 27 points of a “friendship manifesto.” (Actually, the writer titled it a “No-Bullshit, No-Drama Friendship Manifesto.”)

Although the writer of the post was a mother of a young child, and many of her points reflect the difficulty inherent in parenting young children, many of her points are pertinent without regard to whether we are married or single, parents or childless.

The one I noticed immediately was number 18 (and its follow-up):

18. When I say something stupid that could be conveyed as insulting or whatever, you’re not going to get all overly sensitive and weird, calling mutual friends and psycho-analyzing what, exactly, my problem is (probably going back to childhood), rather you’re going to call me out on it and then I’m going to apologize and we’re going to move on, LIKE ADULTS, because occasionally adults say stupid [things], the end.

19. When you say something stupid, I’ll either do number 18 or, and I know this is revolutionary, I’LL LET IT GO.

This is obviously good and important advice for friendship. Friends accept that we are not always at our best. That sometimes we do or say stupid things. And they are willing and able not to let those things interfere with their friendship and love for each other.

But it also strikes me as encouraging a stance which we might usefully adopt even beyond those we label friends. A generosity of spirit, a willingness to give people the benefit of the doubt. An effort to try to see something another has said or done in the best possible light rather than the worst. And a willingness, even when we can’t find the best possible light, to accept that sometimes people say stupid things. And that not every stupid statement is a reason to dismiss the goodness in another.