Find ‘terrific’ friends by being a ‘terrific’ friend

“Watermelons are like people. They’re all good but some are better than others.”
He says that line almost every time I try to choose a watermelon at the farmers’ market. And Eli Bontrager should know a thing or two about watermelons–he’s been growing them for years.
Every autumn Saturday, Bontrager’s truck is backed up to his market stall with the truck bed full of beautiful fat green melons. Along with bright orange pumpkins, and mouth-watering cantaloupe.
Somehow, I never have trouble picking out a good pumpkin or a good cantaloupe.
As far as I know, every pumpkin makes a good pumpkin pie. And as for cantaloupe, too ripe or too green just isn’t worth it. But on the other hand, you can usually tell by looking when a cantaloupe is at just the right stage of ripeness.
But watermelons. That’s another story. Some say to tap them. But I’m never sure what to listen for when I do tap. Certainly, one sure way is to cut out a plug but you can’t just take a knife and do that with someone else’s watermelon at the farmers’ market.
So almost every Saturday, I end up asking the same question. The question without an answer. “Which is a good watermelon?”
And every week, Eli tactfully replied, “Watermelons are like people. They’re all good but some are better than others.”
It’s true, people are all good. Although sometimes they compromise the goodness with a very complicated, prickly, almost mean style. Sometimes those prickles are enough to make you want to stay away. And, the truth is, that’s your privilege.
Each of us has the right to choose our friends. And each of us will have slightly different criteria.
“McCall’s” magazine recently asked Martha Stewart how she’d feel about it if one of her friends had a lousy garden. “My friends don’t have lousy gardens,” said Martha. “They just don’t.”
Martha Stewart definitely wouldn’t want me for a friend. Not me, with the lousy garden that I love to dream about and loll in.
I, on the other hand, need friends who can tolerate dreams that aren’t quite finished. And unattainable goals. Friends who can put up with a little failure and forgive a few faults. Friends who will be there when I want to laugh, and when I need to cry.
One of my friends says she chooses to relate only to successful people. It sounds a little arrogant, at first, until you understand how she defines success. Says Ruth Ann, success has nothing to do with educational level or wealth. It has nothing to do with power or status.
A successful person, she says, is simply one who loves what she or he is doing, and therefore is happy. A person who will always be kind and support you in what you love to do.
Dr. Lillian Glass calls them “terrific people,” and has even written a book by that title, “Attracting Terrific People.”
Dr. Glass maintains that in order to live life to its fullest, you need plenty of terrific people in your day. People who have a warm, generous manner and positive outlook. People who will always support you, and never undercut you. It’s terrific people, she said, who bring the joy into life; and you can find them everywhere.
But what’s far more important than finding terrific friends is being one. With people, like watermelons, just being kind-of good isn’t enough. It’s worth the extra effort to become terrific. To become warm and generous.
And always kind to, and supportive of, the people who enter your life.

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