12 ways you can become a great friend

Apr 25, 2008 by


Reason-4-Smile Group Writing Contest! I’m holding a group writing project on friendship, with free ads and Entrecard credits as the prizes. Please check the details below.

Do you have living saints in your life?

I have been tagged by Evan for a meme project, it’s called “The 10 Saints”. I was honored to get a title of patron saint of personal development from him. Yet, it comes with a price =), I was tagged to follow the same project, writing the 10 saints in my life as well.

The Saints (or the X-Men)…

I really enjoyed the process of finding the 10 saints, even to the point that I find 10 is not enough. There are 12 saints that I would like to share through this project. All of those 12 are friends that I know personally, the people around me who have touched my life in a special and unique way.

If you don’t like the word “saint”, you can think of them as your X-Men. I like watching X-Men, partly because I’m excited with the variety of talents and skills that each individual has, but somehow they can work together to complete their mission. Similarly, these 12 saints, 12 real friends in my life will share with you their unique talents, their 12 ways how you can become a special friend to someone. So… let’s get started!

1. Yoseph Ade Setiawan, the patron saint of affirmation. He might be the best friend I have right now. He believes in my dream, he encouraged me to go for my dream and not to give up. He praises me for many single steps that I have taken. He listened to my struggle but he does not focus on that, he reminded me on my potential, strength and attitude. That really makes me consider him as a very great friend.

2. Kong Sien Diin, the patron saint of critique. He scolds me a lot. Once, he scolded me so bad that I could not work and I had to take a medical leave the next day. His critique often wakes me up from my old habits. But what makes me still consider him a great friend, he always comes back after the critique session. Either via SMS, email or phone call the next day. He took time to explain the reason behind the critique, the purpose and what he expected from me. He asked feedback on how he scold me, he wanted to improve himself as well, and he said sorry for any hurts. That’s taking another mile that not every critic will take.

3. Lisa Hismanto, the patron saint of attention. There are two things I need to be careful of while having her around. First is not to daydream, and second, I must talk. Seriously, she is very attentive. She is someone who will check with you once you feel a bit lost or not engaged in the conversation. She is the most frequent person that asked me, “Robert, why are you so quiet?” She is also the one that asks me a lot “How are you doing?” Don’t get me wrong, it’s not exclusive for me, she always be the first one to notice when someone is left behind, or missed out. That is what I believe her strength as a great friend.

4. Ferry Irawan Tantono, a.k.a “koala“, the patron saint of question. A very smart person, a scholar for his undergraduate in Singapore, as well as his postgraduate study in Europe right now. You can see his blog for his travel journey. I considered him as a best friend while he was here in Singapore. I shared a lot about my struggle and story to him. Yet his response is unique, he always questions me back. It’s not a normal yada-yada question, it’s a question that is able to turn your opinion upside-down. He influenced me a lot with his question. He pointed a very different perspective than mine, and that is one way of becoming a great friend, someone who helps you to see your blind spot, helps you to see things from different perspective.

5. Tracy Chong, a.k.a “TC“, the patron saint of sharing. If you know her for the first time, you may think that she is very cool and does not talk very much. She is a strong girl, and I don’t think she is a kind of person who loves to share about herself to others. That is the reason why we -her friends- will find it special when she is sharing something with us. Often she messages us with good morning message, or encouraging quote. But recently she shared a lot about her struggle as well, the trust that she gave really makes me considering her as a great friend. She is willing to share her life and she trusted me that I can keep her secret. That’s really encouraging.

6. Veronika Siswojo, the patron saint of celebration. She is a great listener, but more than that she celebrates with you. She laughs when you laugh, she smile to your dry jokes. And the best one, she is as happy as you are when you made some success. That’s why it is so enjoyable when I shared my story with her. I will always get a positive response, either encouragement or celebration. John C. Maxwell shared one of his principle in *Winning with People, “The true test of relationships is not only how loyal we are when friends fail, but how thrilled we are when they succeed”. That’s what I learn from Veron and her great way of celebrating with others.

7. Adrie Michael Naftali, the patron saint of hospitality. He helps others wholeheartedly and he enjoyed spending time with his friends. He is one of my flatmate, and often we have our guests staying over. It happens over and over, he is always the one who gets very close to the people staying over at our place, whether it’s our parents, relatives or friends. He is very helpful and he often has a long and enjoyable conversation with our guests. That’s what I’m really amazed by him. He just loved helping people, he put a lot of his time and energy to be with his friends. And I can see that many of his friends really consider him as a great and very caring friend.

8. Victor Effendi, the patron saint of teaching. He is a theology student, a preacher at only my age. He has got a gift in teaching and he is very knowledgeable, especially in theology. His understanding is very deep and I do see that it changes his life as well. He works a lot in pursuing his vision and calling in life; and now, he is able to help and teach others that are struggling to find their purpose. I really enjoy my conversation with him, I can ask any question to him and I will learn a lot from him. We both have similar interest and that makes us close.

9. Lydia Isnanto, the patron saint of excitement. We always have a lot of fun having her around. She is an extrovert, full of energy and excitement; she makes us laugh and have enjoyable time. More than that, she is a strong leader, and you will easily see that she is dominant in her conversation with others. I believe we all know some people who is quite dominant in our conversation. Most that I know will normally talk a lot about themselves. Amazingly, Lydia is different. She used her dominance not to blabber about herself more, but to make the situation fun by bringing us all together, sometimes even by making fool of herself =). She will try to involve everyone in the conversation, sometimes even taking a deeper conversation with some people. She is able to make a dull situation into a very excited environment, and she always focus on others during the conversation. That is what makes her a special and great friend to many.

10. Yohana Sherly, the patron saint of gift. She is one great friend I have back in my home country, Indonesia. She is the one that I still keep in touch the most. We met every time I return to my own country. Most of the time I bring her something, it’s not always something special, mostly it’s just some chocolate/snacks. On the other hand, what she gave me is always special. Not in terms of price or value, but the concern behind the gift. She has concern over my life here, with how I made lots of changes last year, with my spiritual life, my life purpose, or even the fact that I haven’t found a girlfriend =). Her gifts are book and CD that help me a lot in the area I’m struggling withs. And I really have to thank her for that!

11. Alvin Jayadi, the patron saint of prayer. “Do not underestimate prayer” That is the profound remarks I got from him. It’s true, do not underestimate praying for your friend. It’s beyond your action that is visible or remarkable.. It’s the prayer for the wish of well-being of your friend, even behind closed door. Even to the point that you will not get any return from the friend, isn’t that an outstanding step you can take as a friend?

12. Eddy Susanto, the patron saint of brotherhood. We were having a small bible group during our study here in Singapore. It was only the leader and 3 of us as the disciples. Because of the nature of our study group, we consider our leader as father and each other as brothers. We went through a lot in the group. Instead of similarities, I remember more of the debates and disagreements that I had with him. He has returned back to Indonesia, working on his business there. We seldom chat and contact each other, but one thing is enough to make me consider him a great friend. That is the way he called me ‘brother’. That might be especially special because I don’t have any siblings, but that’s somehow enough for me to consider him as a great friend. We are each walking on our own path. We do meet up whenever one is visiting another’s country, but maybe that’s the friendship beyond things to do and say. That’s brotherhood!

The Reason for Smile: Friends

Do you know that the name of this blog is taken from the following quote?

When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile.

How I started this blog? It was depression, it was in the year 2006, my first and only post (titled Smile!!!) before I continue blogging again on the next year. If you see in the list, you will have one of the trigger of the depression, it is the separated friends. Yup, around that month, a number of my best friends are blessed with a great opportunity oversea, while some are blessed with great boy/girlfriends. At that point of time, I considered them as lost friends. But now, I feel very much blessed with more friends! While taking the chance to write down the 10 saints meme, I am amazed on how wonderful each of my friends are. Each of them are different, each of them has strength and limitation. I have lots of things to learn from them, learn to appreciate their limitation and be thankful of their strength.

Now, it is your turn!

project-r4s-friends2.jpgInstead of tagging some other bloggers for the meme, I’d like to turn this meme into a group writing project. It’s called Project Reason-4-Smile: Our Friends. I have to say that it is inspired by the “What I Learn From…” Project series from Robert Hruzek. Similarly, I am going to have a series of Project Reason-4-Smile on the various things that you can be thankful for. For the current project, let’s stick with the following rules:

  1. Mention at least 7 of your friends, either those you know online or offline. 7 is the minimum, and you can put as many as you like.
  2. Give each of them a unique title. It can be a saint, a hero or whatever; be creative about that.
  3. Accompany each of them with short description why they have meant something in your life.
  4. Link to this article, you can copy the project image on the right, and please let me know that you participate through the comments.
  5. Please make the article G-rated. Readable by anyone.
  6. And last but not least, tell your friends that you are writing about them and you really appreciate them.

The Prize

Two winners for the challenge,

The first prize: 125×125 ad for 1 month and 300pts EntreCard credit.
The first prize winner will be based on the creativity, the judges are some of the 12 friends I mentioned above.

The second prize: 125×125 ad for 1 month.
The second prize winner will be selected randomly.

The Deadline

You can join the project anytime, I’ll keep on updating the list for you. However, the prize will be eligible only for those articles submitted before 20th of May ends in any part of the world.

Find your friends now. I smile through the process, hope you will also. Smile because you’ve got lots of good friends around you!

Keep on smilin’

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  1. Robert, you have good friends! I wonder if I could even come up with 12 people today?? Maybe I will enter your contest, it’s a great idea and I know will be fun for anyone who does it.

    Yohana Sherly reminds me to just go for it when I want to gift someone with a book or CD when I think it will help them. I love this post, thank you.

    Cheryl’s last blog post..Profiles In Volunteering – Ponheary Ly Foundation

  2. Robert A.

    Hi Cheryl, thanks a lot for your message. Yeah, they’re really great friends. Try it out, try to stretch as many as possible, you will find more than what you have expected initially. Thanks for your interest in joining the contest. You’ve been a great friend over the web as well. Thanks a lot for that!

  3. That quote is really lovely. Sometimes you need a little reminder like that! πŸ™‚

    You seem like a really nice friend Robert. Someone to really trust.

    Alex Kay’s last blog post..Do Women find Blogging Sexy?

  4. Robert A.

    Hi Alex, thanks! I didn’t realize that before I’m writing on it. Do give it a try and let me know, sure you’ve got a lot more!

  5. What a great idea Robert.

    Karen (Karooch from Scraps of Mind)’s last blog post..Scrapbooking Layouts are a lot like Sandwiches

  6. Robert A.

    Thanks Karen, looking forward to your contribution.
    Keep on smilin’

  7. Hi robert,

    Great topics. Probably I can list down some of my friends. I would like to participate here. But I have never participated in this kind of event before… please let me know how to do those….


  8. Hi robert,

    I guess, am way before the deadline.
    Here is my post for your group writing project.



    romes last blog post..My Patron saints & villians !

  9. Hi Robert,

    I don’t know how to design one… 125×125… could you do the same.. am new to entrecard nuances… πŸ™‚
    If possible design me any good ad banner and just give my link to the same. That would be great ..

    Thanks once again….

    romes last blog post..The agony of Reservation

  10. Saldy

    Hi Robert! – Two decades ago, I met a nice young men by the name of Victor Effendi Silaban in one of our regional tax trainings (that was in Penang, Malaysia).Β  There might be a chance that he is the one you referred to here as one of your friends.Β  Hence, I would appreciate if you can confirm this assumption….Thanks! Saldy

  11. Hi Saldy, I guess it’s not the same person, unless you met him when he was 7 years old. He’s still in his 20s and his name doesn’t have Silaban there.
    Anyway, thanks for visiting this blog and asking!


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