Friendships that have stood the test of time. I am super excited to be traveling back home next week, not only to attend a very special friend’s wedding, but also to visit and catch up with family and friends who I haven’t seen in a year.
The truth, well for me at least, about immigrating, is that there is a sense of loss. A period of “mourning” (for lack of a better word). Knowing that you are missing very special moments and milestones in the lives of family and friends. Longing to be present for certain celebrations. Yearning for the regular, familiar, rhythms of life as you once knew it… all these things add to your sense of loss – and this made all the more real to me now that I’m busy packing my bags to go home for a few days.
So, as I reflect on all this, today I want to share with you what friendship truly means to me. I have so many special people in my life, but today I’m going to focus on these 4 amazing ladies you see pictured above! There is over 30 years of friendship right here.
We have known each other since we were impressionable little girls… There are so many happy memories of girls’ club initiations, (I had to roll down a hill with a dirty sock in my mouth! What twisted mind conjured up that idea?), endless days on the beach trying to learn how to surf, eating chip-rolls with pink sauce (A carbo-load of epic proportions, created by loading a hot-dog roll with french fries and smothering it in 1000 island sauce), innocent – and not so innocent – get together’s while we danced to the latest hits with neon lights. Playing spin the bottle :) … Having what we called “moon picnics” out in the garden at night, little pebbles hitting bedroom windows to sneak out – (my mom did catch us on this one:), and many, many more. We had an awesome group of friends! And we had a great childhood, despite all the nonsense we got up too, and all the other struggles we endured.
It wasn’t always easy… there have been times when we got so busy with life that we went quiet. There have been disagreements, and disappointments, even real proper fights. But there has always been a beautiful bond between us. Forged in the fire of growing up together. And in recent years that bond has allowed us to grown into a “family” of friends.
What have I learnt about friendship from these girls?
- Always show appreciation – sometimes we take friendships for granted. Don’t! We should always reciprocate, and show our gratitude for all the things our friends do for us… A simple thank you card, or a text message that says: “By the way, thanks!” helps us to affirm our friends in what they mean to us – and it helps us remember how important it is to not take them for granted.
- Be mature when arguing – the reality is; real friends will argue, fight, and disagree at some point. We are uniquely and beautifully different – and only real friends care enough about our unique beauty and differences to have it end up in arguments. It’s important to always do this respectfully, try and see the other’s point of view (even when you disagree with it), agree to disagree, and ALWAYS apologize if you have done wrong.
- Always be there – this has been a huge learning curve for me this year. Because I am not physically there, I’m now thousands of miles away, so I have had to find other ways to “be there”. If we know a friend is struggling, we do what we can to help. Whether it be a message, phone call, flowers, etc. Letting them know that you are there for them shows that you are invested in this relationship and that you truly value them – not for what they do (as in #1 above), but for who they are.
- Maintain contact – always, and I do mean always, keep in touch. Real friendship should be natural (sure, it takes hard work to build and maintain real friendships), but we should always be able to simply pick up wherever we left off. And the only way to do that is to stay in touch… Even just an xoxo via text message lets them know you are thinking about them.
- Never let jealousy or envy get in the way – Sometimes a friend will succeed and achieve in ways that confront us with some of our own failings. Sure, that may result in us feeling a little ashamed or even disappointed, but never let that take root and lead to jealousy. Real friends celebrate each others’ successes and victories in a way that is authentic – their success is our success!
- Friendships are two-sided – show interest in their lives, just as they show interest in yours. Be a good listener.
- Choose trust over gossip – A way to show trust is to never share a friend’s secret, or gossip about them, no matter how you are feeling.
- Always take their side – even if you disagree. Once you are alone, in private, you can talk to them about the fact that you may disagree or think they were wrong. But in public friends defend each other, protect each other, and support each other. Then, when you get home, you’ve earned the right to tell them what a plonker they’ve been.
- Be their Cheer-leading team – Always root for them, when times are tough and mistakes have been made, and when achievements have been accomplished. Shout as loud as you can! Be the crazy fan that tattoo’s her favourite player’s name on her ass (not literally, of course).
- Never be too scared or hard-headed to forgive. Saying sorry is one thing, allowing others to say sorry – and welcoming their apology – is a whole different thing. When a friend says sorry and really means it, and it really leads to changed behavior, accept their apology. Love them, forgive them.
I have been SO incredibly humbled by these amazing ladies. I’m emotional just writing this! We have fought, cried, laughed and disagreed with each other. We have felt loss and grief together. Been irritated with one another. We have experienced illness, and overcome it too! We have acted like clowns together. Experienced the birth of our children together. Shared the hurt of it taking longer than it should. We know secrets about one another (which we use for blackmail). But mostly we have loved each other fiercely.
And for that I am beyond thankful. I really cannot wait to see these girls. I’m going to smother them in kisses and cuddles. Like big smoochie ones. With red lipstick and all that :)
So send that friend of yours a message today. Or if you are fortunate enough to see them, give them a cuddle!