February 9, 2014

How to Stay Friends Forever

Friends are such an important part of our lives, our first connection with the world outside our families. I've been blessed to have some wonderful friends come into my life through the years. Some have remained and others have drifted away. I haven't always been the best friend, but I've learned a lot of lessons and hopefully have gotten better over the years.

Everybody isn't meant to be best friends with everybody else, but when you do find those people you know were meant for you, it's so important to hold onto them.

I'm still learning so many things about what friendship means and how it can take many forms. Here are a few things I've come to realize about how to stay friends forever.

1) You gotta support them - This doesn't mean you support everything they do or every choice they make. But you have to make your friend understand that you support him or her as a person. That you appreciate them and what they stand for.

2) You have to love them and say it often. Remember when saying I Love You to someone besides your mom was a huge deal? We need to get over that. Love is not something to feel weird or awkward about.

3) Don't give up on them - We all go through phases where we are figuring things out. Sometimes we end up pushing away from those people we need the most. If your friend is pushing you away, just give him space. And don't give up.

4) Don't try to change them - Sometimes the things we love most about people also drive us a little crazy. This is normal. We all need our own unique flavor to add to the mix.

5) NO JUDGEMENT. Don't judge your friends - I was recently spending time with one of my best friends and she said something that she later felt bad about. She send me a text the next day saying that she was embarrassed by what she had said. I responded by saying "This is me you're talking to. I will never judge you for anything you say." And I mean it. I feel like I have the same thing in her and that's a gift.

6) Accept awkward moments and move on - Everything won't always be perfect. Life seldom is. But we can accept that awkward moments aren't the end of the world. There's still friendship on the other side. More often than not, it will be stronger afterward anyway.

7) Grow with them - A friendship is a living breathing thing. It won't always look the same or fall into the same patterns. If you really value your friend, let the relationship grow through all stages of life.

8) Laugh - The central theme of most of my dearest friendships is laughter. Being able to laugh together about ourselves is medicine for the soul.

9) Bare your soul - If you find a true friend, you're so fortunate. Be your authentic self around them and give them permission to do the same. Even if there are difficult things that come up. (see #6).

10) Be Grateful - So many people in the world are lonely. If you have a friend whose heart is connected to yours, be grateful for them and show them that gratitude.

When I stop and think about the people in my life I'm grateful for, the list gets really long really quickly. But I don't always do a great job of letting them know it.

Send a card or a text. Make time for a phone call or a lunch date. It'll be worth it in the end.