Spring is here. Buds are forming on the trees. Everyone is out enjoying the beautiful weather. Since last fall we have battled illness after illness. There were two weeks of pink eye followed by two weeks of the flu in December. An ER trip, a bout of Fifth’s Disease and three weeks of bronchitis in January, oh and a cold. Our public appearances have been limited as each week a new victim is claimed. Either one of my kids is sick or one of my friend’s kids. With winter in full swing by the time February came we were all going stir crazy to get out and play. What I look forward to the most is walking with my friend Kate every morning. I also hope to finally have that playdate with Summer that has been on hold since last October as she and her family have been quarantined due to illnesses too.
This brings me to my resolution for March: Friendships. So far this year I have discovered more ways and reasons to laugh in January. February was filled with lots of hand written love notes and sweet gestures. Even though National Friendship Month is officially in August, during the month of March I hope to rekindle stale friendships.
Throughout my life I have had been fortunate to know many exquisite individuals. Those friendships (good and bad) have helped shape me into the person I am today. If I had my way we would all live on the same street together for the rest of our lives. Few are lucky enough to enjoy the cherished company of their best friends through the many stages of life. Unfortunately some friendships unintentionally drift apart leaving us with lasting memories we will always treasure.
The philosopher Aristotle said, “In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. They keep the young out of mischief; they comfort and aid the old in their weakness, and they incite those in the prime of life to noble deeds.”
Friendships are vital to our well being. Experts agree that if you have a vibrant circle of friends you will live a longer healthier life. Friends motivate and comfort us. Great friends challenge us to be better and applaud our accomplishments. When we learn how to be a good friend we become a better partner, mother, sister, employee and person as a whole.
In my thirties I have come to a new understanding of what a friend is. My friends are not limited to a couple close friends I do everything with and go every where together like back in college. For years after college I was depressed. I had started a new life elsewhere leaving my only bosom buddy miles away in another state. I struggled trying to find someone to connect with on the same level Elise and I had. Bosom buddies are extremely rare. There are few out there with whom we instantly click with. Someone we feel we have known all of our life; someone who understands us when no one else does. I had some really great friends at the time but I prevented them from getting too close because I was more interested in finding that soul sister. I decided that what I really needed was the circle of great friends I already had and to do so I had to be a better friend.
I have friends who I rarely see but the minute we hook up we pick up right where we left off. I have a couple of friends that are my rock. Just being around them gives me the confidence I need to take care of business. I have friends I can go to when I need an escape and friends who are treasures of wisdom. Lastly, there is my best friend who I was lucky enough to marry.
The Golden Rule in friendships is: Treat your friends as you wish to be treated.
Be a friend: Avoid complaining, gossiping, and criticizing. Listen intently to what the other person is saying not what you want to say. Avoid trying to solve problems. Offer your opinion only when asked. Be loyal do not talk about your friend behind their back. Babysit her kids, wash her floors or make her dinner. Be understanding. We all have busy lives.
Make time: Spend quality time with one another. Have a ladies night out, go on walks, host a playgroup, shop or work on a craft.
Follow up: Communicate by phone, email, letter or text.
Support: No one wants a friend who tells them they will fail or their dreams are lame. It is important to always support the dreams and goals of others even if they aren’t necessarily what you are interested in.
All relationships take time to develop and nurture. Being a busy mom I tend to put off calling a friend because I do not want to bother her. Ironically she is having the same inhibitions about calling me. This month my challenge is to override those thoughts and just call. Chances are she needs the phone call as much as I do.
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