They know your faults. They help you laugh at yourself rather than be upset or insecure. They're funny as heck. You can tell them anything, and they never think it's silly or ridiculous, even if it is.
You can be each other's critic without taking it personally. There is no judgement of or competition with one another. You are each other's cheerleader and defender. You can call each other even if you don't have anything to say.
My friends are my family away from home. Neither my husband nor I have any immediate family members closer than a day's drive, so I rely on my friends for lots of things.
I also have, in Jane Austen terms, a kindred spirit. We sign emails and birthday cards "Love, K.S." for short. I hope everyone at one point in their life is lucky enough to have one too. Sadly, Jana and I live with two states separating us, and I miss her like mad. We don't get to talk that often, but when we do, it's like we just saw each other yesterday. She's the best travel companion, who has ideas of what to do but is flexible and happy to do whatever. And we laughed our rears off on the phone one night as she read me the introduction to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. OK you had to be there.
I could go on and on, but my point is (and I DO have a point), a good friend is someone who you don't ever remember NOT knowing. You don't remember the getting-to-know-you part of your friendship, the beginnings of sharing your lives with each other. The last line of Casablanca is "Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." I look forward to many more beginnings with new friends and beginnings of new discoveries with old friends.
As part of my 4 Simple Goals, I'm committing myself to send two hand-written cards/letters to my friends. I'm including my family since, well, they're definitely my friends too. Birthday and holiday cards don't count. I want them to be "just because" letters. If I send more than two, great! But two is doable right now.
In the age of emails, facebook, twitter, etc. etc. isn't it nice to receive a fun, non-bill, non-junk piece of actual mail in your mailbox? Maybe write to a friend and remind them of your beginnings together and how much you are thankful that they are in your life.
Love and friendship,