Let’s talk about qualities! and, at the end, I want to share a quality secret! I wonder if you’ll figure it out as you read, or – if it’s one of those secrets that is actually an obvious thing that everyone knows or if you agree with me, that discovering this secret is actually kind of fun and interesting!
My Favorite Qualities
I tried to think of the favorite qualities that I like about myself and the qualities I love about my friends and that I would look for in a friend.
And then of course, I thought about qualities that I love in my partner and what I guess I might look for in a partner and that “wishlist” has probably changed over the years.
I want to share with you my favorite qualities about myself. And I’m wondering if in hearing these, you will recognize these qualities in yourself, or maybe these qualities are not important to you. Maybe you have other qualities that you care more about for you.
My Favorite Qualities in Myself
First let me tell you what my favorite qualities in myself are. My own favorite qualities are my curiosity, my creativity, and my imagination. The reason that I love being a curious person is because I think it is so interesting. It’s how I learn.
Many people have remarked to me over the years in work environments and in my personal life that I ask a lot of questions. And I do, and I love it. I ask myself a lot of questions. I think much of the way that I look at life is by asking questions, like wondering why things are the way they are and wondering how things work, and wondering how things could be improved, and wondering how things will turn out. Maybe this is normal for everyone.
Is Everyone Naturally Curious?
Maybe everybody is naturally curious, but I kind of suspect that it’s not that way. I kind of suspect that some people never think to question the way that I do. And I think it’s fine. It takes all kinds in this world and diversity makes our experience so rich. So I love that not everyone has exactly the same qualities, and, at the same time, I will just say that I do love my own curiosity.
The second quality about myself that I really, really enjoy (and it gives me so much energy) is my creativity. Again, this is one of those qualities that people have told me that they’ve noticed in me, or that is remarkable about me, that they wish they had or something along those lines. And I get really surprised when I meet people who don’t seem to care about, or aren’t interested in creativity, because it is such an important quality for me. I like the act of thinking about something and then bringing it into reality. When I’m talking about creativity, I’m not just talking about Arts and Crafts creativity. Although, I do like that as well. I like the creativity of coming up with solutions for problems. I like the creativity of thinking of clever jokes, of putting two things together that didn’t necessarily seem to go together, but then somehow they do work together.
So I look for ways that I am creative and I guess I just love this quality because it’s the idea of bringing something into existence that did not previously exist. And the idea of curiosity and creativity, those two qualities, kind of imply or suggest the third quality that I love about myself: my imagination.
This quality is both a blessing and a curse. I have a very active imagination. I always have, my whole life. I think I was a very imaginative child and I can entertain myself for hours just with my own imagination. So that’s why it’s a blessing. I find it very interesting and entertaining and wondrous. And because my imagination is so active, I frequently can imagine problems and worst case scenarios and doomed situations. So, that’s why having an active imagination is also a curse because sometimes this quality allows me to think of things that nobody else would ever think about or worry about, or bring up. Here I am talking about “what if this happens? What if that happens?” And no one else would have even considered it, or it would have never crossed anyone else’s mind.
Benefits Outweigh the Downside
So imagination is a quality about myself that I really do love. And the benefits far outweigh the downside. I just love the entertainment aspect of my own imagination.
Did any of those 3 qualities sound familiar to you? Are you a person who is curious and creative and imaginative, or, now that I’m bringing them to your attention, are these qualities that you might look for in a friend?
My Favorite Qualities in My Friends
Let’s talk about qualities that I value in my friends. When I think about people who I’m naturally drawn to, or people in my life who I’ve been friends with and invested time and effort to maintain the friendships with, these qualities come to mind.
Of course, there are a lot of different reasons to be friends with someone. I don’t just make friendship decisions based solely on their qualities, but I did notice that some of the qualities that I really appreciate in my friends are quick wit, intelligence and camaraderie.
Let’s talk about intelligence first, I don’t know if this is a politically incorrect quality to have as a preference. And it certainly is not a requirement of course. So, this might sound super privileged or super judgy. But I do notice that I like spending time with people who are intelligent. When I talk about intelligence, I am not just talking about IQ. I love the work of Howard Gardner who talks about multiple types of intelligences.
For example, someone could have a linguistic type of intelligence or a spatial type of intelligence or interpersonal or intra-personal. There are just so many types of intelligence. I really value the intelligence of my friends so that we can have interesting conversations and so that we can share our perspectives and our worldviews with each other. And this one runs into the next one that I’ve mentioned, which is having a quick wit.
I’m a person who loves to laugh. I love jokes. I love funny situations. I love puns. Although there can be too many. I actually spent some time with a guy who was very, very into puns. And I’ll tell you that it did get a little bit too much. I’m sure he thought he was amazing. And he is amazing. He’s a great guy, but he really overused his pun-invention quality.
It frequently went from witty to way too much. But that’s an extreme example. What I’m talking about is someone who has a quick wit – who’s able to jump in on a joke and add onto it to make it even funnier and who laughs easily and frequently.
The third quality that I love about my friends is camaraderie. The fact that we genuinely like to spend time together, that we look for opportunities to spend more time together, that when we are together, we’re in a good mood. We like each other’s company and when we leave each other, after having spent time together, we miss each other.
I have some friends who I haven’t seen in years, not just because of the pandemic, but because we live far apart from each other or our lives just don’t intersect the way that they used to. I still feel camaraderie with those people as well. As soon as we get on a phone call together, or when we do get to see each other, it’s like no time has passed at all. And even though our lives might be in very different places than they were when we first met and became friends, we still have that camaraderie where we enjoy each other’s company. So that is a quality that I look for and value in my friends.
My Favorite Qualities in My Partner
What about all of these qualities in a partner? This is a question I thought was so interesting when I started to consider it, because the answer I would have given back when I was “looking for a partner,” and the answer that I am giving today about my partner are probably not the same. A lot of years have passed. A lot of maturity has developed. A lot of life experience has happened.
Maturity Changes What We Look For
Certainly I am not that the same person that I was when I was looking for a partner. So these answers to the question of “what qualities would I look for in a partner?” will probably have changed because of my maturity. And because I know my partner now, so intimately, now we’ve been together for almost 20 years.
20 years ago, when I was dating and not committed to one specific person, I would have probably answered this question, what I look for in a partner, much differently. I probably would have said something like sense of humor and someone who’s responsible. I would’ve said intelligence. So maybe the things that I would have valued in a partner were things that I just mentioned about what I value in my friends. I did like the idea of dating someone who has a quick wit, who is intelligent, and who I like to spend time with. Obviously I would look for similar qualities in a partner that I would look for in a friend.
Kindness and Generosity
But now that I’ve been with my husband almost 19 years. We got married in 2006 and we were together for 4 years before that. Now, when I think about what I love about him and, what made me decide that he was the one – it’s because he is such a kind and generous person. So kind and so generous that it stood out to me when I started to recognize those qualities in him. Yes, most people are kind of generous. Yes, everyone has moments of kindness and generosity, but he is so kind and generous that it actually came to my awareness while we were dating and I realized, wow, this guy, he really takes care of his family and he will do anything for them.
And not that other people don’t do that. Of course, we all take care of our families. We will all do things for our families if they need our help. It really stood out to me about him, about how generous he is and how kind he is. And not only to the people that he loves and knows and cares for in his life, but he’s so kind to strangers and animals too.
Consistency and Dependability
The other qualities that I love about my husband are his consistency and dependability. And it’s funny that I mentioned his consistency because he is a very spontaneous person. So, it’s kind of surprising to think that he would have any consistency. I like to joke about the fact that I’m a planner and an organizer, and he is more of a spontaneous “let’s see what happens” type of person. Those parts of ourselves frequently clash.
But in fact, there is a lot of consistency about him and his behavior. That me, the routine planner loves to recognize. I love to see those patterns. I love to predict, “oh, I bet he’s going to say this or react this way now.” And then he does. And I was right. The pattern continues. So I love that, but I think someone can be dependable without being consistent.
My husband is very dependable, and I value that so much. Not because I need to depend on him (because I am pretty independent). His dependability is kind of a bonus. Being in a partnership with someone who is so dependable, even when I don’t “need it” and knowing I would be fine without being able to depend on him, but I do get to depend on him. It’s a great quality!
Just like I mentioned that I think I’m an independent person, my is so self-sufficient. And it’s one of my favorite qualities about him. His self-sufficiency was another one of the things that stood out to me when we first started dating. That quality demonstrated that when he wants something, when he wants to learn something, when he wants to figure something out, he can figure it out for himself. I see so many areas of his life, where he is self-taught, where he has given himself his own opportunities, where he has created what he needed and wanted for himself. And no one else offered it to him or gave it to him or showed him the way. He just decided he was going to do it. And then he did. This is such an attractive quality, more attractive than any eye color or height or, or body physicality or anything like that. Just the idea that someone can figure out what they want for themselves and how to get it for themselves is amazing.
I want to point out:I didn’t decide that I wanted these qualities in a partner up front. I didn’t see these qualities right away. I didn’t know I valued them when I was dating, but I must have intuitively recognized that he had them and that I wanted them in my partner.
What About You?
I’m wondering now if I’ve sparked any interest in you? Have you started to think about what qualities you value in yourself and your friends and family and partners. Or if you’re kind of on the lookout right now to find and develop new friendships and new relationships or partnerships. I wonder if my description has given you something to think about as far as what qualities you might look for and value in yourself, and in other people and in relationships.
A Quality Discussion Disclaimer
All of this is to suggest to you that we all enjoy and appreciate some qualities over others at different times in our lives. This is not to suggest that now you need to develop or appreciate the qualities that I just mentioned. The qualities that are my favorites may not be important to you at all. So just because I’ve mentioned curiosity and creativity and imagination and quick wittedness and camaraderie and kindness and generosity and resourcefulness does not mean that you need to develop these qualities for yourself or else you would be unappreciated or unwanted.
And just because I favor these qualities doesn’t mean that you need to favor these qualities and seek these out in yourself and/or in your relationships with friends and partners and other people. Maybe these qualities are nice to have but not deal breakers.
Nice to Have, but not Deal Breakers
So, let’s talk about some qualities that we would all probably agree are very important qualities and so nice to have, but wouldn’t be deal breakers.
When I was thinking about these qualities, I really came to the realization that sure, these qualities are nice to have, but for me, at least they’re not mandatory in any way. If someone that I know and love doesn’t have these qualities – I’m still down, I’m still good to go. It doesn’t matter to me. I will definitely make do without appreciating these qualities in someone in my life.
The first one is attentiveness. Maybe this goes back to my own quality of imagination and my own independence because I just don’t need to be paid attention to all the time. And that might be funny to say, as someone whose public post you’re reading right now, where I’m basically asking you to pay attention to me. Pay attention to what I want to tell you. But, in real life, if someone is not super attentive and doesn’t remember all of my details and doesn’t check in on me – that’s fine with me. I don’t mind when they do. It’s nice. But it’s not a requirement for me.
I don’t think I need attentiveness as a quality in a partner or even as a friend. I think I’d rather have those qualities that I mentioned earlier. I’d rather have a connection with them versus being checked in on, or attended to.
Another quality that is nice to have, but again, not a deal breaker for me is punctuality. This it’s so funny because when I talk to people about this, some people get really upset when I say that I don’t really care too much about punctuality. I have a few people in my life who I just build in the buffer time, from when we agreed to meet to when I think we will actually meet.
I just know that we have a different understanding and appreciation of time. I don’t think punctuality is a big deal at all. Not to say that I’m not a punctual person. I think I pretty much am. Again, I’m an organizer, I’m a planner. I like things to be a certain way. And I value that, but I also don’t make it a big deal if I am late, or if someone else is late, because I’m just assuming, in general, people want to be on time and want to respect each other’s time. And if we’re late, it’s probably because something unexpected happened.
Isn’t Punctuality a Big Deal?
Now, you might not agree with this. And you might be thinking, “well, some people are just consistently late all the time. Shouldn’t that be a deal breaker? Shouldn’t that be a problem? Isn’t that a sign of lack of respect?” I really don’t think it is. I think someone can completely respect me and also never show up on time. I don’t think there’s a correlation between the two. I think the same is true in business and employment situations. Again, I am not advocating for tardiness or a lack of awareness of time.I like being aware of time and I like being on time. I think it’s great when people are on time, but I’ve heard other people just get really bent out of shape about someone showing up late or being late or being consistently late. And I think, well, if they’re consistently late, you know – so why would you expect the alternative? Why would you think someone who you’ve recognized as consistently late, be on time? You can just do that time conversion for yourself. Then you’re never bothered by it again.
So that’s why the quality of punctuality is just not a deal breaker.
But, I’m open to other suggestions. If you know something about punctuality that I don’t know, or that I’m overlooking, let me know. I want to hear about it.
Another quality, that’s kind of funny, that I think is a nice quality to have, but certainly not a deal breaker, is charm.
We all love charming people, right? Charming people by definition are charming and they are, even if not physically attractive, they’ve just got that quality about them that is attractive, like magnetic. They are charming. So it makes sense that charming would be a nice quality to have. But what I want to say is: it’s certainly not a deal breaker. I have known and loved so many people in my life who are, to put it poorly – I don’t know of a better way to say this, but who are boring, awkward, dull, blunt The opposite of charming. I’m sure we’ve all known and loved people who are not that charming, but who are great people and have amazing other qualities. And that’s why I think, while being charming is nice, it is not a deal breaker.
Why Knowing This is Important
The reason why I share this with you is to reinforce the suggestion that just because the quality is nice to have doesn’t mean that it’s required or mandatory in order for you to be accepted or chosen as a friend or as a partner.
I am pointing this all out to you with the suggestion that you might want to consider your favorite qualities, consider which qualities you find nice but not deal breakers. By doing this introspective work for yourself you could actually prioritize which qualities you care about, which qualities you want to develop for yourself and which qualities you could take or leave.
The Secret about Qualities
And now for the secret I promised way back at the beginning of the episode. Qualities are just descriptions. They’re just thoughts.
I could recognize the quality of charm in someone and you might think they’re boring. I could find someone completely self-sufficient and you might be wondering why they’re so needy.
I might think of myself as creative and you may not agree. It’s all just what we think. And, as always, recognizing and having awareness about what what we are thinking is the best news ever because this awareness gives us the power. Because our thoughts are optional. We can notice the thoughts we want to intentionally keep thinking, and discard and refute the thoughts that don’t serve us.
In the interest on capitalizing on this secret and recognizing this power over our own qualities and the qualities we appreciate in other people, in a future episode I’ll talk about how to develop qualities you want but don’t have yet and what to do about negative qualities.
And before I go, I want to check if you have any resistance about what I’ve shared today.