People are often surprised to hear that 3 of my closest friends (shout out Vicki, Nina
When I started writing The Mommy Diaries, there was no doubt in my mind that I needed to include a chapter on friendship. There are lessons that I learned about friendship pretty late in my life that I wished I had learned earlier. And it seems to me when I talk to fellow moms, women that are younger than me and even women a couple of life stages ahead of me, that friendship remains a deep need and often times a huge challenge for kids and grown
So here is what I discovered. As far as I can tell there are five things we did, and we keep doing that have helped these relationships survive and thrive. Five things that are reciprocal (meaning both friends do them, not just one), five things we grew into and now consistently do. They are:
We SUPPORT each other:
Support means taking an interest in people’s lives, goals, projects, relationships, career and being there for them through life’s ups and downs. Support means sticking around, even when it’s inconvenient, even when it’s not about you; actually, especially then. Support means getting on board with stuff, listening in order to understand more than for the sake of responding. Support means setting aside
We SERVE each other:
Yes, I am talking about actually doing things for people. Service means showing up! Service requires sacrifice, and if Jesus’ example is anything to go by, that is the definition of love – and that is what Jesus calls us to (John 15 v 17) A lot of people only manage superficial friendships because loving people requires too much of us. People are a lot of work – I know I am. I love (and also don’t love) the way Anne Voskamp puts it –
To love is to be inconvenienced.Anne Voskamp
Most often, service is sacrificial, it “costs” you something. Most often, service is a declaration much more than words
We CELEBRATE (with) each other:
When it comes to friendship, you should consider
We SUFFER together:
As in we share in one another’s suffering. Because suffering cements friendships. Being there for people when they go through something hard or sad or bad will bring you closer together and it builds trust. Now, let’s be honest, friendship becomes very one-sided when one person is suffering. Sticking around when there is little in it for you and when it actually requires something of you is a declaration of your love for that person. Sometimes its showing up (ideally with food, oh and wine, not advice), and sometimes it’s just about sitting supportively and prayerfully on the riverbed of someone else’s pain. And reciprocally, letting someone sit with you in your suffering. Sometimes we lack the courage to be vulnerable with our friends, but when we are brave enough to open up about what we are going through, the relationship is by and large deeper and more meaningful because of it.
We give each other SPACE:
Because it’s good to let things breathe. Just because you are besties with someone doesn’t mean you have to talk all the time, be together all the time, or do everything together or have a
It should be clear from this list that all of these things have some element of action to them, that these things take time and effort. Also, considering our busy lives, these things are really hard to “fit in”. They do not come easily, and they do not happen by themselves. And they are all “other focused”.
One of the reasons I wrote a chapter on friendship for my kids in my book is because we often approach friendship with the wrong expectations (i.e this is about my needs), inevitably setting ourselves up for hurt and disappointment. But when we understand that friendship is not singularly about us, our feelings and our needs, but that it has a higher purpose that could bring precious wealth and depth to our journey through this life, then we also approach it differently. King Solomon, the wisest person who ever lived, gave this sage advice about making friends: If you want to have friends, you must be a friend. If you sign up for the effort you will be rewarded not just with a friendship that will grow and thrive beyond your expectations, but you yourself will grow and thrive.
What is the state of your friendships