by Rev. George A. Kelly, The Catholic Youth’s Guide to Life and Love
Part One is here.
The Golden Rule
I mentioned that wanting to be liked is an innate human instinct. Human beings at all times and under all conditions throughout history have spent much thought trying to learn how to make and to keep friends.
In our own century, researchers by the hundreds have made all sorts of scientific investigations to learn the same thing. And here’s a striking fact. Today’s scientists come up with various answers phrased in different ways. But at the root of their findings is something which was discovered thousands of years ago. No matter how you say it, it all adds up to the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you expect them to do to you.
If you want to have a friend, be one. Give friendship and you’ll receive it. And that’s the whole secret.
Ruth, Edith and Ellen were friends. Two sometimes went places without a third, and there was a wonderful opportunity for the two to gossip about the absent one. But they were loyal to each other—they were true friends. Suppose they hadn’t followed this principle?
When Ruth and Ellen got together, they might have ripped Edith to shreds, finding fault with how she dressed and acted and with what she thought about various phases of life. But sooner or later, Ruth and Ellen would have suspected that if such conversations went on behind Edith’s back, why wouldn’t they go on behind their own?
In other words, the Golden Rule would have been suspended and one of the real bases of friendship—loyalty—wouldn’t exist. Only by giving their absent friend the same consideration they’d want for themselves could the girls insure that they, in turn, wouldn’t be talked about behind their backs.
Sympathetic understanding is another “must” for friendship. When something troubles them—a disagreement with their parents, some problems about growing up—your friends must feel that they could discuss it with you. You wouldn’t have to agree with their viewpoint necessarily, but you’d have to listen calmly and sympathetically. You wouldn’t ridicule them because of their feelings, and you certainly wouldn’t run around spreading the news told to you in confidence.
Again, the Golden Rule.
Wouldn’t you feel burned up if someone you thought was your friend ridiculed you after you confided in him? You want your friends to be reliable.
Say that you plan to go to a football game but suddenly find that you can’t get the admission charge. But your friend has a lot of money. You probably feel you have a right to try to borow some. Suppose you’re refused in the pinch? You’d probably write him off your list, because you’d have helped him if the tables were turned. But he’s not following the Golden Rule. Hence he’s not your friend.
Friendship also consists of many thoughtful little acts which come under the heading of good manners. They’re covered by the Golden Rule, too. Suppose vou agree to meet a classmate at a movie theater at two o’clock. You wait an hour and he doesn’t arrive. You phone him and he can’t give a good reason for standing you up. You probably decide that you’ll never make another appointment with him. You just can’t trust his word. Scratch him from your list. And if you want to keep your other friends, remember never to pull the same stunt.
Applying the Golden Rule isn’t hard: It’s safe to say that things that irritate or antagonize you would irritate or antagonize someone else if you did them.
On the other hand, kind and friendly acts that are done for you, you too can do for others. Just as you do, they’ll consider them as acts of friendship. The conclusion is obvious.
Make mental notes of actions by other boys and girls which you find annoying. Don’t do them. At the same time, note the courtesies, acts of kindness, and other actions done to please you. Do them to others.
By this simple procedure—by always doing for others what you’d have them do for you—you will find the key to lasting friendships with both boys and girls.
Four rules to help you make friends.
As I’ve mentioned, many studies have been made to determine what boys and girls like and dislike about each other. It shouldn’t be surprising that they all agree that the basic qualities of character that boys like in other boys are the same ones they like in girls. The qualities girls like in other girls are the ones they like in boys. Conclusion? Cultivate those qualities that you want in your friends, and you’ll have a personality that appeals to other boys and girls.
What are these qualities? You could compile the list yourself by considering what you’d like a friend to be.
Always try to be pleasant and cheerful. You’ve often heard the old saying, “Laugh and the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone.” Yes, you have problems sometimes that get you down. So does everyone. But they’re your problems. You don’t have to spread them to everybody who comes into contact with you.
Make sure that you cultivate your own sense of humor. Did you ever make a wise-crack you thought was pretty good, only to have it go right over your listener’s head? You probably thought your companion could use a sense of humor. After a few experiences, you’d probably want to run the next time you saw this person coming.
Don’t put on airs. Ever meet a snob? He wants everyone to know he’s something special—not one of the common people. He’s either richer or smarter or more of a man of the world than the rest of you, and he never misses a chance to tell you so. Of course, after a while, he doesn’t get many chances. Everybody avoids him like the plague.
Be natural. Maybe you do have talents above the average. Maybe you brilliantly planned it so that God would give you more brains or that your parents would have much more money. Be modest about it. (Boys especially seem to resent a girl who tries to appear overly bright. A high school newspaper once carried this line, “A brainy girl is always brainier than she seems because a brainy girl has more brains than to seem brainy.”)
Be well-mannered. Ever been embarrassed by a companion who was loud-mouthed when he should have been quiet; discourteous when he should have been polite; slovenly when he should have been neat? Most people want only a few experiences with a character like that. Then they look the other way when they see him coming.
You don’t have to memorize every rule of Emily Post’s, but you should know what conduct is suitable in what place. And if you don’t know, try to remain as inconspicuous as possible.
These rules are just examples of the Golden Rule in operation—doing to others what you’d like to have them do to you. Follow them, and you’ll develop cheerfulness, naturalness, and consideration for others, the qualities which top every survey made to determine what boys and girls like in their friends.
In addition to honesty, sincerity, and the other characteristics listed above, boys want something extra in girlfriends and girls want something extra in boys.
At this point, I hear a romantic-minded reader: “Three cheers for the extras!” These important extras can be summed up in two sentences. Boys are attracted to girls who are girls—who have the feminine qualities males expect in a woman. Girls want boys to be men—to possess qualities which are distinctly masculine in nature.
A boy considers a girl’s personality on the basis of what he knows about women. Naturally he admires his mother most of all. He has a definite preference for her qualities—her willingness to listen to his problems, her sympathy with his ambitions, her self-sacrificing and loving nature.
He doesn’t like the tomboy type. He doesn’t like the girl who wears harsh make-up, uses harsh language, or acts in other ways different from the young lady she should really be. Why? Because she’s not at all like his ideal of womanhood, his mother.
In the same way, girls draw their main ideas about men from the ones they’re in closest contact with—their fathers. And so girls want boys who are thorough, decisive—leaders. They want a man, not an imitation of one.
God meant men and women to be different in their natures. If He had intended them to be alike, He could have created just one sex and called it a day. Instead, He gave men the qualities to provide for the family unit. He gave women qualities to do well the job of bearing and educating children.
As a result, women generally are more idealistic, more romantic, more emotional. Men are more logical, more decisive.
When a boy seeks feminine qualities in a girl, therefore, he’s only doing what is natural. The girl who seeks masculine qualities in a boy makes the choice which nature intended.
So if you wonder what it takes to make and keep friends, always remember these major points: obey the Golden Rule; be yourself, and develop the qualities of the sex God made you.
🌺🌺Take time to smell the roses in this wonderful month of May, the month of Mary! Take a walk with your children, garden together, pick a bouquet, look at the stars…. Another spring is upon us, a time to enjoy God’s creation as it unfolds its beauty all around us! 🌸🌸Our Lady, Cause of our Joy, pray for us!
Illustration by Heather Stillufsen, Rose Hills Designs
Penal rosaries and crucifixes have a wonderful story behind them. They were used during the times when religious objects were forbidden and it was illegal to be Catholic. Being caught with a rosary could mean imprisonment or worse. A penal rosary is a single decade with the crucifix on one end and, oftentimes, a ring on the other. When praying the penal rosary you would start with the ring on your thumb and the beads and crucifix of the rosary in your sleeve, as you moved on to the next decade you moved the ring to your next finger and so on and so forth. This allowed people to pray the rosary without the fear of being detected. Available here.
This booklet contains practical advice on the subjects of dating and choosing a spouse from the Catholic theological viewpoint. Father Lovasik points out clearly what one’s moral obligations are in this area, providing an invaluable aid to youthful readers. Additionally, he demonstrates that Catholic marriage is different from secular marriage and why it is important to choose a partner who is of the Catholic Faith if one would insure his or her personal happiness in marriage. With the rampant dangers to impurity today, with the lax moral standards of a large segment of our society, with divorce at epidemic levels, Clean Love in Courtship will be a welcome source of light and guidance to Catholics serious about their faith.
A Frank, Yet Reverent Instruction on the Intimate Matters of Personal Life for Young Men. To our dear and noble Catholic youths who have preserved, or want to recover, their purity of heart, and are minded to retain it throughout life. For various reasons many good fathers of themselves are not able to give their sons this enlightenment on the mysteries of life properly and sufficiently. They may find this book helpful in the discharge of their parental responsibilities in so delicate a matter.
This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.
Excellent! Thank you!