I have always been able to make friends. My first friend was this girl named Alicia, we met in pre-school and instantly became attached at the hip. Then there was Colleen, Noddie, Elvira, Lori, well, you get the gist. I have never been short on having friends. While these ladies were great and taught me something, most of them are now in the category of “People You May Know” on Facebook. Seeing the eyes of friendship through my nephew and goddaughters has me thinking, there’s levels to this friendship thing.
They say people come into your life for a reason, season, or a lifetime. Whenever a relationship (friendships included) begins to demise or grow some distance, I start to reflect on what role this person played in my life. I was speaking with my friend Melissa yesterday and we both concluded that relationships, in general, are tough. The ones that last are the ones a person decides to work on because both parties find the relationship to be valuable. This conversation caused me to reflect on how I know a friendship has value.
We communicate even when we don’t want to. Some of my best friends can get on my nerves so bad and I’m sure this goes vice versa. What makes my relationship with them different is that we always let each other know where we’re at. We ask clarifying questions, we apologize, we recognize when we have misunderstood or projected our stuff onto each other. We talk. We face issues head on, acknowledge our part, and release any ego-driven desire to be the victim.
We tell each other the truth. As much as I like to think of myself as the stable one in the group, I have a tendency to make some silly decisions (as we all do, lol). My friends are able to push pass my guard and speak to my heart. Valuable friends can see when we are faking it and they tell us what we need to hear, not what we want to hear. They don’t sugarcoat but they speak with love while acknowledging what we may already know.
We love each other through it all. Life can bring us so many ups and downs and this can make us question who we are as a person. Valuable friends love us when we are a hot mess and when we are making boss moves. They give us some grace in the moments that we mess up and support us when we stand up again. They understand that being a friend is not for when it is convenient, but for all of the moments.
We encourage one another. There are time when the self-talk is not so great. Friends can help you to see that and drop gems for you to reflect on. They send you random “you can do it” texts, they share podcasts or a motivating playlist. You want to do a 5k? They do it with you. They encourage you to be the best version of yourself that you can be. And in the moments when you may have a tinge of imposter syndrome, they remind you just how great you are. They remind you of the positive qualities you have and help you work on the not so good ones. They genuinely push you to be your most authentic self.
We give each other time. Whether you are separated by states or live next to each other, friends of value give each other time. Besides communication, making time is a major factor in any relationship. I may see some of my friends once a year but we make sure to call/text/email each other several times during the week. We make an effort to respond to messages quickly and pick up the phone for chats, schedule coffee dates, have a prayer group, go to concerts, watch a TV show or read a book together. Whatever it may be, we make ourselves available to each other and show that the relationship is a priority.
We show each other empathy. Valuable friends share your emotions, they laugh with you, cry with you, give you a shoulder (or couch) to lean on when you need time away. They extend grace, patience, and support. They offer kindness, peace, and share their joys. A valuable friend is one who accepts you as you are in the different eras of your life. They model what it means to love and reflect back to you the unconditional love you should have with yourself.
As the theme of the Girlfriends show goes: "My girlfriends, there through thick and thin. My girlfriends, there through anything. My girlfriends".
These friends are few and far between but they are there. They are necessary. They are what we need.
Thank you to my real friends who are in the pictures on this post. Love you!!
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