What makes a friend a friend? More specifically, what makes a friend a good friend?
These questions may seem trivial at first, but I'm beginning to realize that people have very different ideas of friendship. Take a recent example from an interaction two of my friends had recently:
Friend A was planning on going to a play with Friend B. A reminded B the day before, and B planned to meet A at A's house. On the day of, A's waiting around for B, calling B's phone, waiting some more, until finally A realizes she won't make it to the play on time unless she leaves. Begrudgingly (as A hates going anywhere alone, as all her friends know) A decides to go to the play alone. At the end of the play, B calls A's phone and asks to meet up with A. B apologizes to A, says he didn't have a good excuse (he just forgot and was watching videos), and tried to show up for the 2nd half of the play.
Now, A is bothered because this isn't the first time B has stood her up, and doesn't forgive B right away. What follows is an email chain, with A explaining why she's upset (she feels B doesn't value her friendship and his attitude his shown through his actions) and B expecting immediate forgiveness (because he feels good friends forgive and deal with each others mistakes, especially those they have no control over).
So if I didn't completely lose you there, here's my point. Besides B's refusal to take responsibility for forgetting (yes, if you're reading this, your memory is your responsibility, not some unattached entity you can put the blame on and expect immediate forgiveness for), there's a blatant difference in what each considers a good friend. A values reliability and dependability, from the silly to the serious events in her life, and defines a friendship where two people work to maintain their friendship. B values acceptance and understanding of each others flaws, and from what I gather values compatibility over all else.
My personal opinion is that real friendships are a combination. I prioritize dependability a great deal, and do want effort to be two-sided, but I definitely have friends that I'm willing to overlook/accept flakiness for their companionship. However, my closest friends all have one thing in common: they're willing to drop everything if I really need them for something, be they dependable or flaky at other times.
Oh yeah- and they don't let me get away with shit. :)