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What do you value in a friend and are those traits held by them or do you put up with them because they kill time?

I think that above all else, I value kindness, openmindedness and an ability to appreciate the absurd. Most of my friends have all three.

To answer the second part of the question, I’m generally very busy (and even so, almost always have some evil scheme or side project waiting in the wings), so if I don’t want to hang around with someone, I generally won’t—I have other matters to attend to.

What do you look for in people in general and friends in particular?

I’ll preface this answer with a few definitions on the intellectual process, at least from my point of view:

Data are discrete "facts" such as the air temperature at a given time. (Note that other non-explicitly factual data exist, for instance, Jean Sibelius’ Valse Triste; data are merely building blocks of greater things.)

Information is data that has been synthesised into a useful form, such as a table of air temperature, time and relative humidity.

Knowledge is information that has been synthesised into general rules, for example, that air temperature tends to vary from the mean according to relative humidity and/or time of day.

Education is the impartment of a formalised system of organising knowledge, whether in a formal setting or not.

Intelligence is the ability to appreciate subtlety, or being able to accept data and information that do not neatly fit general rules.

Creativity is the ability to synthesise new data, information or knowledge.

Wisdom is the ability to apply all of the above in practical circumstances.

Sadly, I don’t feel that today’s society and education system adequately addresses these qualities. Humour is reduced to a Pavlovian procedure, laughter the reward for sitting through inane drivel, triggered when the laugh track plays. Compassion is, at best, an incitement to guilt; at worst, it is an undesirable behaviour, counter to self-interest. Education is often a rigid exercise in indoctrination, rather than one to equip a person with the capacity for independent thought. In this environment, intelligence, creativity and wisdom are unnecessary, as independent thought can be replaced wholly by dogma.

This can make finding friends difficult at times.

That out of the way, I truly appreciate intelligence, creativity and wisdom. Education is nice, too, but it needn’t have been gained in a formal environment; some of my closest relationships have been with people with little actual schooling.

Combine these with compassion and a sense of humour, and you’ve pretty much got my ideal friend.

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