Despite life being a bit different than it was for me when I was younger, single, blonder, more naive, and sans children, there are just some things that I will find forever constant. For example sometimes all a gal needs is a perfect fitting black dress. Every time she opens her closet, it will be there every time. It makes her comfortable and confident. She can dress it up with heels and pearls, or dress it down with flats and little studs, or dress it flirty with red patten leather wedges and a big statement necklace. It works for any occasion. Whether she wore it last week or last year, it makes her look and feel good about herself.
Life changes for all of us as we age, and throughout that time friends seem to come and go. However, if we are lucky, we might have a few friends who serve as a constant for us throughout our lives. Just like that black dress, some friends will be there every time. These people will make you feel comfortable and confident. It doesn't matter if they are your formal work friends, your laid back friends, or your wild friends from your younger days. They are there for you no matter the occasion. It doesn't matter if you've talked to them last week or last year, they make you look and feel good about yourself.
Finding people like this is lucky, but maintaining these kinds of friendships over time takes special care. Just like the dress: dry clean only. Here are 8 Simple Rules of Lasting Friendship.
1. Show Respect for the Clock: Just like in high school when we had to respect each other's curfew if we ever wanted to see each other again, or in college when we had midterms, this rule doesn't change. As we all have gotten older, the phone calls are shorter and the visits are farther apart to accommodate careers, partners, families, but we all know to carve out a minute here or there when we can.
2. Give Each Other Some Space: Every one needs space once in awhile. Whether it be to grow and think, start a career, start a family, grieve, or just get some work done. True friends are not offended when someone needs space, and they are welcomed back with open arms when the time is right.
3. Always Forgive: Good friends forgive. My best girlfriends forgive me not only for the little things (like the times I forgot to call them back because I was on the phone with a boy I liked), but they have also forgiven me for some bigger mistakes made over time too ( like ditching on plans due to staying up all night with sick kids).
4. Don't Judge: I have participated in some bad fashion trends in my day like hemp necklaces, oversized sweaters, and pretty much every grunge-like thing the 90's threw my way. My true friends didn't judge me. I have also been sobbing on the couch unshowered in an incredibly messy house and my gal pals just brought me ice cream, movies, and sat with me til it was over.
5. Be There When it Counts: Life gets in the of way wanting to spend and share every moment with our friends. When you're young, you think that there is never going to be a time when you don't call your best friend every day, but then she is studying for board exams you have three kids. POOF! However, there are moments in life that you absolutely need your friends and need to be there for them too. I call these moments part of The Big 5 and they are: 1.) birth, 2.) death, 3.) love, 4.) loss, and 5.) work. When there is a birth, a death, someone falls in love, when someone breaks up, or when you get a new job, promotion or lose your job, you must be there for the call. True friends are there for you in those moments, even if you haven't talked to each other in awhile, in those time the only thing that matters is that you are even if it is to listen for a moment.
6. Dream Together: The best part of having close friends is having fans. I can remember the first time I wrote anything of any importance, I was 22 and fresh out of college. I emailed it to my best friend, and she supported me. Friends are always there to support each other's aspirations and dreams and keep cheering them forward.
7. Laugh: There is no sense in having friends with whom you cannot laugh. Like the good hard laughs that make your stomach hurt and tears run (down your leg).
8. Remember the Past: Sometimes when you think it has been too long since you have talked to your friend, all you need to remember is why you are friends in the first place. Remembering a time you shared, or reminiscing about the old days will help you to see what a good person he/she is and why you have been there for each other through thick and thin.
So just like that little black dress which holds a special place in your closet. Your true friends hold a special place in your heart.
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