Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Recipe for Lasting Friendships

To say I miss my friends is an obvious statement.  Missing my friends has been a state of being since college graduation.  That's because 2 weeks after graduation, I moved.  This moving has been my way of life ever since.  I always end up making new friends; and I always end up missing them.  Luckily, I hardly ever lose them.

It must be a testament to the greatness of my friendships.  We will never live in the same town for long, if at all.  Our kids won't graduate from the same schools.  Our husbands don't always play golf together on the weekends.  There are hardly ever nights out on the town to carouse and dance it up, except in my dreaming, wishing head.  Despite the distance, my friends and I always know what's happening in our little corners of the world.

What makes a friendship great?  Surely the ingredients for a great friendship must vary with each friend, right?  Wrong.  My friendships have lasted as long as they have (20 plus years for some) because they have the same recipe, each and every time.  My friends come from diverse backgrounds, but the recipe is consistent.

The first ingredient is unending respect.  Friends have to know that you would never do anything to hurt them.  In return, you receive the comfort in knowing that your heart won't be broken either.  Some very poor decisions in my past have made this the very first and most vital ingredient.  Without it, the recipe would fall apart.

The second ingredient is communication.  Facebook is a real gift here.  It gets pretty tiring listening to people bash this tool.  If it's used correctly, it keeps people in contact.  It isn't the only way to stay in touch though.  A random phone call or funny text can put you in a great mood for a week.  The best of  friends may not speak for a long time and as soon as they are communicating, it's as if a time machine takes you back to the last place you were hanging out.  Friends are perpetually young and fun!

A third is a strict, no drama policy.  Drama in a friendship is like a cup of vinegar in a batch of cookies.  Friends are completely honest with you when you're messing up.  They're also fully supportive when you get it right.  Friends like mine will laugh at you when you mess up, without letting go of your hand.  Real friends don't get jealous when you're having fun with a new friend.  They are happy when you are happy, though at the same time they are always wishing they were having fun in your zip code.

Fourth is the devotion.  My friends know that I have their back.  I am the "Goodbye Earl" type of friend who would jump on a plane to come and save them.  They are the same for me.  When someone messes with my friend, they mess with me.  You cheer for your friend.  The enthusiasm for your friend, equals their enthusiasm for you.

Fifth is choosing quality, not quantity.  I'm going to pat myself on the back here for knowing quality friends when I see them.  I'll stop short of saying, "my friends are more awesome than your friends," because friends are to each of us like reading a menu.  Someone may love sauerkraut, but to me that is pure torture.  What I choose from the friend menu is sweet, full of flavor, and always makes me smile.  Surely this is true of your friends too.  It's always important to take your time when ordering though because a bad choice from that menu could make you sick.

The sixth ingredient is having a good memory.  Good friends are always with you.  Funny things from deep down in your memory can spark a better mood and can inspire you to make a phone call or a FB shout out.  Memories knead the dough of your recipe with firm fists of nostalgia.  It is a positive place to visit every now and then.

The final ingredient is gratitude.  Let your friends know that they matter.  Always keep their heart close to yours and your ear open when they need you.  When you find quality, never let it go.  Be forever grateful that a friend has shared a piece of  your life.

Somehow this recipe has left me with a list of friends that will be forever adored.  We may not get to see each other often, outside of social media or FaceTime.  When the time to reunite blissfully arrives; it will be cherished.  Oh my loves, I can hardly wait.            
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