What does it take to be a great mate? A Gold Class friend. A GC rather than just a dude that you hang out with.
On my radio show the other day we polled our listeners on what they expected from a great friend. We were after universal truths that covered all eventualities. So first we had to weed out the specific responses. "A true friend pretends to be interested even when you're telling the same story for the hundredth time", "doesn't hit on your Mrs too much" and "doesn't judge you when you wake curled up naked at the end of their bed". All true but not general enough.
After thousands of suggestions we narrowed it down to six deeper concepts. This is what we believe makes some one a great mate. Here's the standard a Gold Class Friend must achieve. In one sentence this is what it takes to be a kiwi GC.
They're always pleased to see you, have good chat, put away their phones and zone in, they're into what you're doing unless you're being a dick, they don't throw hospital passes and they reach out when you're battling.
Let's unpack that.
Always pleased to see you
The least a friend can do is say hello and smile when you turn up. We all know those grumpy bastards who look every other way than yours when you arrive. Screw those guys. If you don't smile and say g'day you'll never reach the gold standard. That's a basic.
It's not much of a friendship without chat. Having a laugh. An easy back and forth. Although sometimes the people with the best chat turn out to be the worst actual friends. While those with average chat often have your back. A friend with below par chat in a time of need is much better than a fair-weather joker who ghosts you when you're down. "A McCaw" is the technical term for someone with average chat whose great in a crisis.
Puts their phone away
It's all too common. You're hanging with a mate and he's on his phone checking Instagram like a child. For some dudes their phone is more important than the person right there in front of them. Just walk away. Don't let yourself be buddy cuckolded by a device. Let him suck on his little digital pacifier. Go do something else with someone else. This is not the GC we are looking for.
Interested in what you're up to
Low-level friends are on send and not receive. They'll talk about what they're up to then zone out when it's your turn. These people are "I specialists", also known as "self sauces". They are not GC. Friends who are genuinely interested and supportive are rare. Keep them around. Of course being interested in your life includes telling you when you're being a dick, when you're partner's a punisher and when you have BO.
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Doesn't throw you hospital passes
We all have friends who regularly ask for brutal favours. "Can you help me shift house on your day off?" "Sorry this is last minute but can you have my three kids for two weeks while we go to the Goldie?" "I didn't come home last night. Can you tell the missus I was with you?" Most people are keen to help a friend. But some dudes take liberties. A true GC doesn't throw hospital passes.
Last Friday Radio Hauraki ran a "No Talk Day". A campaign to get mates talking. Us hosts didn't talk all day to motivate friends to contact friends. Reach out. We're all busy with work, family and life admin. A year can pass and you haven't spoken to a good friend. So give them a ring. Lots of dudes are battling out there. Might as well catch up for a chat. It's hardly a chore. If you don't reach out to your mates you're not gold class.
You know the song ,"Keep smiling, keep shining, Knowing you can always count on me, for sure, That's what friends are for." I really hate that song. Great message, punishing tune. If I was going to write a song about what it meant to be a Gold Class friend it would go, "It's saying g'day, putting your phone away, giving a crap that I'm ok. Good chat, matching tatt? Don't ask me to do that. That's what GCs are! Oh that's what GCs are."
Actually that's worse.