I’ve never been one of those girls with a million girlfriends. I am much more of a one-on-one kind of person, and usually have a very precious few super close friends and another somewhat larger group of friends and a much larger group of acquaintances.
I also don’t make new friends very easily. But, what I do really well is keep friends. I am like a bloodhound. Once I have your scent – I will track you down, make lunch plans, and catch up, even if it is only once every few years. I will often send you a birthday card, or call you out of the blue to check in, or I will ferret you out on Facebook and message you. I feel like letting a friend go is like letting a part of my life go – the part I shared with you. I am lucky to still have girlfriends in my life that I’ve been close to since 1st and 2nd grade.
This week brought some really exquisite girlfriend time, and I feel really blessed.
Every time I hang out with my really good girlfriends, I continue to learn how to be a better friend.
A few recent lessons – if your friend is sick, or just suffered a big loss, don’t say, “please let me know if I can do anything.” Just do something. No one ever asks for help – well, rarely. You just have to bring soup, or a bunch of flowers, or do the laundry. Don’t ask, just do. Secondly? It is good practice to shut up and just listen – really listen. I am trying to work on listening so I really, really hear. Not listening just so it’s my turn to talk, but listening with 100% intention of being present for someone else.
Here is a great take on friendship from one of my favorite philosophers, Jerry Seinfeld.
A nice NYTimes article on the topic of why it is so hard to make friends when we get older, which I find to be very true.
Another great NYT article, this one on how to be a friend to someone who is ill.
Here is a lifesaving take on regret. What we regret, graduation speech author George Saunders posits, are “failures of kindness.” Why? Because we think we are the most important thing, we think there’s an us and a them versus realizing we are all part of an us, and we don’t believe we are going to die. His advice? Be kinder and less selfish – soon.
This is a very moving, heartbreaking video about a man who wrote a song about his late wife of 70+ years. As you might expect, it’s beautiful.
What lessons about friendship have you learned?
I am sending out prayers for a miracle to end the fires ravaging Yosemite and the West. Thank you for reading. Tell me your stories.