Painting by Belynda Wilson Thomas
Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything. Muhammad Ali
Dinner out with friends the other night was a lot of fun. We need to keep our friendships even when we are almost too busy for friends. Friends are good for our health; they prevent isolation and loneliness and increase our self-confidence and self-worth. They help us through times of trauma.
We can’t choose our family, but we can choose our friends. We might meet friends at classes we take, or groups we belong to. We might remain close with childhood friends or people we’ve worked with. If we can make new friends throughout our lives we will enjoy a better life.
People come and go in our lives and we have to be okay with that. We may see people a couple of times a year or even less, but these interactions even if infrequent are making deposits into our emotional bank account. When we are kind and grateful we make deposits into our emotional bank account. If we are critical and negative we are making withdrawals. Too many withdrawals without many deposits can leave us emotionally overdrawn and may leave us eventually emotionally bankrupt.
To have a good friend we must be good friends. We need to be good listeners and we need to accept people how they are, and where they are, even if we are encouraging them in the changes they want to make in their lives. We have different levels of closeness with friends than acquaintances, but acquaintances can become close friends. Being a part of friendly inclusive groups adds to our well-being even if we don’t see the members outside of the group.
The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart. Elisabeth Foley
We can make new friends and reconnect with old friends throughout our lives. It does take effort to maintain and build friendships, but the more comfortable we get meeting new people the easier it becomes. One of the places I meet new people is through Toastmasters. The gym is also a place to meet people but only if I take the classes. Lifting weights and using the cardio machines doesn’t lead to any interactions, but the classes lead to chats at the beginning and end of classes, and meeting every week can lead to friendships.
When we join a faith community we can make friends or we can interact with very few people depending on whether we get involved in special activities and events. If we keep to ourselves people will leave us alone, but if we seem friendly they will reciprocate. We have to be approachable and we need to approach others to build friendships.
Even if we have a wide circle of friends we have different degrees of friendship with each of them. As we go through life our circumstances change and so will some of our friendships. Some friendships are short and some might last a lifetime but all are important and bring something special to our lives.
Are we treasuring our friendships, nurturing, maintaining them, and building new friendships as we go through life?
Ultimately the bond of all companionship, whether in marriage or in friendship, is conversation. Oscar Wilde
Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you; spend time with them, and it will change your life. Amy Poehler
True friends aren’t the ones who make your problems disappear. They are the ones who won’t disappear when you’re facing problems. Unknown
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