From a friend, we expect benevolence, generosity, and loyalty. This is legitimate. But, according to the American psychologist Robert J. Wicks, we mostly need friends who help us to question and move forward.
One of the most effective levers to evolve positively in one’s life, solve problems and move forward, would be to be well surrounded. This is what Robert J. Wicks, a psychologist, and professor at Loyola University in Maryland, has observed after years of workshops on resilience and friendship. According to him, a good friendly network is nourished by four “currents”: balance, encouragement, necessary challenges and inspiration. So many qualities that can be embodied by one or more people in our environment. Since the terms used by Robert J. Wicks are difficult to translate into French, we have chosen to use different qualifiers.
The guiding friend
It is he who invites us to ask ourselves the fundamental questions about our life: what in our past continues to influence us negatively? What really motivates us? What do we need most in our lives? What prevents us from realizing ourselves? This friend philosopher is a guide who helps introspective questioning, is content to accompany our reflection, to deepen our questions. It does not provide solutions or instructions for use. He is not in judgment or in mothering.
The friend supporting
His positive energy helps us to see the good side of things and his enthusiasm restores us the desire to leave on the right foot. It is to him that we turn in case of failure or in a period of lack of confidence in us. His cheerful benevolence and his ability to find original solutions or to produce reasonings “outside the nails” are antidotes to routine and negativity. The true supportive friend is not satisfied with an “everything is arranged with time”, his optimism is realistic and “personalized”.
The Stripper Friend
His humor can be fierce but it is always beneficial. If he manipulates irony, it is to show us the ridiculousness of behavior that is too rigid or too serious, or a tendency to dramatize the slightest problem. He has the gift of handing things over and people to their (just) place and bringing down the pretense. With him, one can no longer be satisfied with excuses that do not hold or hide behind his little finger. Its caustic lucidity dissipates the screens of smoke, exposes the king to nakedness and pushes us to authenticity and courage.
The inspiring friend
He seems to see further, more in depth, beyond appearances. He is sensitive to the poetry and beauty of beings and things. Creative and bold, he mocks the gaze and judgment of others and lives his life as he sees fit, like an artist, free from conventions. His attendance is a source of inspiration and gives the impetus and the desire to free himself from the conformists that hinder our lives. The inspiring friend is also the one who, connected to his spiritual dimension, makes us see further in us and around us, beyond the mental and material world.