1. Validation. If I indicate that something is of a certain importance, you accept that it is that important. If I say that something is not okay, you accept that it is not okay and that just living with it is not an option. I never have to worry that you're going to push me to suck it up, stick it out, get over it, grow up, or accept a situation that I have made it clear is not okay for me.
When something really major happens (like Colby), we should be able to refer to it as something horrible and possibly have inside jokes and quotes about it. Basically, we will always refer to it that way, and there will never be any pressure to refer to it in a normal way, as if nothing happened there. Because that's like saying, as Eli would say, "The torture chamber serves really good coffee!"
One way I can really tell that someone takes an issue seriously is that their validation goes beyond just how they treat me. I notice them acting a little differently with everyone because of their new awareness of the issue I've told them about.
2. Non-pressuring. I am looking to be with someone who will not pressure me to do something I don't want to do, even if they think that thing will be good for me. The only kind of encouragement that I consider positive is encouragement to do something that I really want to do, so it's more like support. If you pressure me to do something positive that I have said I don't want to do, that is not okay at all, regardless of how good the thing is.
3. High tolerance for weirdness. I need to be with someone who doesn't buy into a lot of set standards about what's normal and what isn't, someone who doesn't have a hard time meeting someone who is very different than anyone they've met before. Validation and non-pressuring both involve accepting someone's personal choices, what matters to them, and what is okay and not okay. The high tolerance for weirdness means that it is fairly easy to accept these things when they are very different from your own. I don't want to be with someone who just tries to be polite when I'm very upset about something, when inside they're thinking that it's not a big deal. I want to be with someone who honestly does not have a hard time accepting that something can be a big deal to someone else even if it isn't a big deal to them. I want to be with someone who doesn't flinch when I say that all I care about is getting constant cuddles, or that I'm living like a kid again and playing with my toys. Someone who doesn't tell me it's a "bad reason" to quit college because I can't get a single room, or quit my job because I want to live closer to my friends. Someone who is not just being polite about it, but who honestly does not have a hard time accepting these things.
I have other things that matter to me, but these are the top essential qualities, and I cannot date someone or be very close friends with someone who does not have these qualities. All of my close friends right now do have these qualities, and they are awesome!