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Friendship factors

What are attributes of a good compadre?

What are attributes of a good compadre?

August 19, 2003|by ANDREA ROWLAND

andrear@herald-mail.com

Listen up liars, back-stabbers, druggies and players: Your friendship isn't wanted. At least not by teens interviewed recently in Washington County.

In a totally unscientific survey of 11 kids ages 12 to 17, five guys and six girls ranked (or tried to) the following qualities they look for in a friend: Reliable, funny, adventurous, intelligent, attractive, similar interests, good listener, kind, loyal and compassionate.

Reliability was the big winner, with a sense of humor, kindness, loyalty and similar interests following close behind. Just about everyone interviewed said they like funny friends, while looking good was only important to a few of the guys. You don't have to be smart to hang with most of the interviewees, but you should be loyal. The boys said they look for buddies who are adventurous, while the girls prefer pals who will shop, go to the movies and talk on the phone with them. Caring about how other people feel, also known as compassion, was sort of important to most of the teens.

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But nobody - not the teens who filled out the survey or others who just wanted to chat - wants friends who will talk about them behind their back, use drugs, lie to them or act like they know it all.

Keely Newcomb steers clear of "liars, players and people who act fake," she says.

"I like really funny people, really trustworthy people and people who are true to themselves," says Keely, 16, of Hagers-town.

Her friend, Heather Kurtz, agrees that trustworthiness is key to a strong friendship. Heather, 16, of Hagerstown, says she looks for people who know how to listen, and she stays away from "liars and back-stabbers."

Niki Harbaugh, 14, of Hagerstown, includes drug users on her Z-list. And Brooke Varner, 13, of Shippensburg, Pa., doesn't like people who join gangs, she says. Her best bud, Ashley O'Donnell, 15, of Shippensburg, thinks "people who think they're better than everybody else" make lousy friends.

Howie Ridenour agrees. His friends don't have to be smart or athletic, but they do need to be reliable and should like to do the same things he likes to do, he says.

"I don't like kids who think they know it all and can do anything they want," says Howie, 12, of Hagerstown.

Colby McCauley of Williamsport and Teresa Musick of Halfway, both 12, don't want friends who talk about people behind their backs, they say.

"I like friends who have good personalities," Teresa says.

Alyssa Beattie, 12, of Williamsport, looks for unique friends who are honest, she says. Honesty and trustworthiness are also important to Ashley Null.

"And I like friends who I can turn to when I have a problem," says Ashley, 14, of Waynesboro, Pa.

Alishia Harvey doesn't think it's fair to expect her friends to like the same things she likes - but she does expect her friends to be there for her when she needs them.

"They have to be loyal," says Alishia, 13, of Halfway.

Christiana Gagnon chooses friends who know how to keep her secrets, she says. Her friends don't have to be super-smart, but they can't be "really, really stupid," either, says Christiana, 13, of Hagerstown.

Matt Price looks for friends who'll play paintball and skateboard with him, he says.

"It has to be somebody who fits my personality, who likes to do the stuff I like doing," says Matt, 12, of Halfway.

Kelly Beard, 12, of Williamsport, tends to hang with friends who like sports. And a sense of humor is a must for Billy Bishop, 15, and Matt Petro, 17, both of Williamsport.

"I like people who are funny and trustworthy," Billy says. "They don't have to be cool."

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