“The best index to a person's character is how he treats people who can't do him any good, and how he treats people who can't fight back.” ~Abigail Van Buren
We meet new people every single day, and we get to know people that are already in our lives better every day. When we first meet people we generally judge them on one of two things: their looks or their personality. Personality is something that we have all become experts at seeing and reading. Whether a person is funny, introverted, extroverted, shy, energetic, optimistic, confident, lazy, pessimistic, or bubbly we know that and we can generally see that within moments of meeting someone. When we come to the conclusion that an individual has any of these personality traits it is usually because we have amassed a good amount of information about that person and are generally right about them.
Character is different and is something that cannot be determined on such short notice. The character traits of an individual take much longer to reveal themselves. These traits include honesty, virtue, kindness, and loyalty. Character traits come from a combination of beliefs, virtues, and morals. Generally these are instilled in us as children, and while they can change from time to time as we grow and mature, often times the character traits we learn as children stick with us throughout our lives.
For some people this can be a good thing. Being a kind, loyal, and honest person is something that any person should feel proud to carry with them from the time of being a young child until the day they die. It is when someone does not learn these good character traits as children and they grow up without them that we end up with such a mixed bag throughout our society today.
I have actually lost track of the number of friends I have lost in my lifetime, most of which have been the result of poor character on their part. I cannot place all of the blame on others, because I know I have both personality and character flaws of my own, but loyalty to my friends has never been one of those flaws for me. I have always been loyal to my friends, almost to a fault at times. There can certainly be a point where one can become too loyal which results in being almost overbearing, which I am certainly guilty of.
I could spend every day with my friends; I couldn't spend every day with all of them because we all naturally would get sick of our friends if we saw them every single day. I could spend a lot of time with them though and live an extremely happy life because of that; loyalty does not run that deep with everyone though. I have had 3 or 4 different periods in my life where I thought I had the best friend a guy could ever ask for. Then in an instant those friendships became obsolete, mostly without explanation.
This brings up another character flaw that many people suffer with: honesty. It can be hard to be honest with people, especially people that we really care about. Sometimes people will let their lack of honesty come in the way of a great friendship or even a loving relationship because they are just unable to say what needs to be said. As I said before, I have been overbearing as a friend before, I recognized that fault of mine. I had to come to that realization on my own, because the friends that felt that way never could be up front and honest enough about it with me to tell me. So while often times I would and still do occasionally sit around and beat myself up over lost friendships that I may have contributed to the destruction of, I cannot beat myself up over the character flaws of other people.
I can only work on myself as an individual, which is what everyone should strive to do every single day. Strive to become a better person, and strive to build character traits that other people dream of finding in a friend. You may lose friends along the way, and it will be hard when that happens. The important thing is to stick to your guns because if you believe you have strong character and that you are truly a good person, others will see that, and the ones that do see it and really appreciate it could become the best friends that you could ever ask for. Never let the negative character flaws in another individual dictate your life and the way you choose to live; make people acknowledge and respect the positive character traits that you have developed over your lifetime.
“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” ~ John Wooden