I don’t know about you, but I sometimes think I have no friends. I tell my kids, “When I die, I don’t want a funeral. Who would come?” I suggest they save the expense and take a vacation.
Having close friends involves a variety of pros and cons. Friends take time, and like most people, I don’t have an excess of time. Sometimes it hurts to have friends.
They can hurt my feelings, and I too can say or do something they don’t like. Sometimes, they don’t have my back and deliberately cause chaos. A friend once said, “I get tired of always making contact to see someone. Why don’t they call me? It’s like I’m the only one who cares.” It takes an effort to have friends.
I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with various friends in the last couple of weeks. For example, I met a dear friend in Denver for dinner. I enjoyed lunch and a late movie with a new friend. I attended a backyard wedding of my husband’s work colleague and helped a young friend celebrate her 50th birthday. I met a professional friend for a three-hour lunch, another one for pie and hot tea, and enjoyed a two-hour phone conversation with someone I haven’t seen in 12 years.
I initiated a few of the encounters, two were specific invites, and some happened because others reached out. None of the events happened without effort and planning from each person and myself. Most importantly, I had a blast. Reconnecting, laughing, and building memories certainly enhanced my mental wellness.
Friends do involve a variety of pros and cons, but whether you have one friend or forty, each is important. We all define quality friendship differently. For example, I value authentic, open- minded, fun, kind, low maintenance, communicative, and honest. I don’t need perfection. In return, I hope I give back what they value.
I might not always be in the same location as my friends, contributing to my friendless feelings, but I am fully aware of and forever grateful for the genuine women and men throughout my life I call, “My friend.”
I don’t know who said this, but she/he was wise, “The only way to have a friend is to be one.”
Until the next time: Live while you live.
Jennifer Goble, Ph.D., LPC, is the author of “My Clients…My Teachers,” and the blogger and writer of Rural Women Stories: www.ruralwomenstories.com.
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