Marion Witte

October 12, 2018

Friends for a Lifetime!

Filed under: Thoughts — Marion Witte @ 1:09 am

I recently attended an inspirational/motivational seminar, with the intention of being to ascertain if there were any new techniques or tools being offered for self-improvement.  I was not sure what to expect. This course turned out to be a combination of many of the ideas offered in the early 2000s, including Tony Robbins, the law of attraction, Jungian psychology and soul work.  There was even an interesting new topic included in the agenda – becoming a medium!

My current area of interest is exploring where philosophy, spirituality and quantum physics intersect, so when I looked at the class agenda upon arrival, I thought this might be a waste of my time.  Yet I stayed and I listened, and was glad I did, as I heard some words of wisdom that resonated with me.  I do not know if they were new ideas to me, or if they were concepts I heard years ago and was not ready to process at that time.

A particularly intriguing idea about friendships was offered by one of the presenters. She suggested that we clear out any friends who no longer serve our purpose, so that there is a space for new people to arrive.  That concept resonated with me, although it would have been more useful when I was younger.  Her suggestion was that we should rank our friends on a scale of 1 to 10, and if they were rated an 8 or less, we should eliminate them from our life.  This approach seemed a little harsh to me, as I could imagine myself getting rid of most of my friends or acquaintances!  She offered no technique for such a ranking, which makes sense, as it seems that would be a very personal and subjective concept.

I pondered her idea upon returning home, and I decided to experiment with the idea of long-term friendships, using a process that made sense to me.  My intention did not include removing people from my life.  Instead, I wanted to examine these staunch friendships to determine why they had sustained themselves for several decades – up to 60 years.  I based my inquiry on the question of “What was the common denominator that got us through our individual difficulties, the times when we were out of touch with each other, or when we had a disagreement or misunderstanding?”

I also thought that perhaps the results of this exercise, from an old lady’s perspective, might be thought-provoking to younger folks.

After reflecting on my long-term friendships, I concluded that the length of time since our friendship began, until today, did not determine our connection. Conversely, it was the depth of our friendship that had created its longevity.

For me, the common denominator of these friendships includes three core issues.  These criteria would, of course, be different for anyone doing their own evaluation:

  1. We have a mutually supportive relationship. I know I can count on them to be there for me if I need help, and they know the same is true of me.  We provide support to each other, on a reciprocal basis, so our friendship never becomes one of taking advantage of each other.
  2. We have an honest and open relationship. My true-blue friends have the courage to let me know when they disagree with me, and to suggest that I look at a situation in a different way, in an effort to give me options that I could not see for some reason. I do the same for them.
  3. We work towards maintaining an authentic relationship. We have a deep understanding that we are each on a personal journey and we support each other as we walk those separate paths. Neither of us are interested in bullshit.

True-blue friends fall into a special category, and those friendships need to be honored.  These friends enrich our lives.  They make the good times more enjoyable and the tough times more bearable.  Being a faithful friend is not always easy and it does not happen overnight.  Instead, it requires constant attention and nurturing.

On the other hand, not everyone will fall into category of a life-long friend, yet those individuals provide valuable lessons, companionship and socialization.  They are often referred to as “friends for a reason” or “friends for a season.”

To anyone who is interested in developing a life-long friendship, I suggest you make it a priority.  We often expend more energy into buying a house or looking for a job than we do in finding staunch friends.  Decide what qualities in a friend are the most important to you, so that you attract that sort of person into your life.  If you currently have any “toxic” relationships in your life, consider removing them to make room for healthier people.

As an added benefit of this exercise, I was reminded that I have a 10+ friend in my life – my beautiful daughter Angela.  She is there at the “drop of a hat,” and she is the most honest person in my life!

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