When Friendship Works

In each decade of my life I have looked back and been able to see that while I worked on many things broadly, there was usually one thing that got my fullest attention. In my first decade it was academic learning. In my teens it was my family. In my twenties I was ALL about my career. And my thirties was my marriage and children. 3 years into my forties I am realizing that this decade is about meaningful connection with other adults. Don’t get me wrong, my children, my marriage, and my work all remain things that I work hard on daily, but right now, my curiosity is drawn more and more towards what high quality friendship looks like. My primary goal has been to figure out if I am leaning into good, kind, and healthy friendships that fill me up. You know those friends? The ones you are certain want the best for you. The ones who are always there when the chips are down. The ones who remind you to be optimistic even in the face of big challenges. The ones that make you laugh. The ones who sit with you as the tears fall. Those are the good ones.

I also love humans who are welcoming to others. Have you recently walked into a room or event and found people standing in small circles having intimate conversations? If so, then you know what it feels like to be “outside the circle”. Glennon Doyle, a writer and speaker who awakened me to so much goodness, says that we as people are called to stand in horseshoes. That means there is always an open space for a new person to join the conversation. This idea of holding tight to meaningful friendships, but also being brave enough to share friends with others, and make space in your heart for new friends is one that I can firmly stand behind.

I have written about scarcity versus abundance here before. The scarcity factor can come into play when we think about sharing friends. Will my cherished friend have enough love to give me and others I might introduce him or her to? I really understand that mentality, but I work on fighting it every day. Self love is the answer. You have to value yourself, and love yourself enough to trust that you are important to the people around you and their love for you is unconditional and abundant. Love is free and infinite people. There will always be enough to go around.

And I have also been challenging myself to ask the hard question – am I being a good friend to those around me that I love? Do I send that text the day I know a friend has a relative headed into surgery? Am I gossiping about people, which (even when masked in lightheartedness and made to sound like teasing) is a crappy thing to do to friends. When we gossip, it can also make the person on the other end of the conversation feel complicit in your sentiments. And sometimes they agree or join in because they feel it is “part” of being in friendship with you. It’s just not cool. It also very regularly gets back to the person you are poking fun at. And it’s something I am guilty of. I want the words I speak to be affirming and life-giving words – not words that break down good energy. This is tough stuff to speak of, but it is important because I am absolutely certain that good friendships are what will keep us afloat when life gets rocky. As we age and are faced with bigger kid problems, marriage trials and tribulations, and aging parents, we will need each other more than ever. So I think it’s time we commit to doing it better.

So here is my challenge to you. Pay attention to your tribe. If your intuition is telling you that someone doesn’t have your best intentions at heart, then make a change. Stay a bit further away from that particular dynamic. And don’t ever think that if one person or group fails you, that it’s too late to find the friends your heart craves and needs. Over the last decade I have been praying for good friends to come into my life. IT HAS HAPPENED. You know who you are, and I am so grateful for the energy each one of you brings into my life. And for those who have been my friends and held me up with good solid friendship throughout my life, I consider each and every one of you to be a gift. Thank you. 

Lastly, in line with all I have written, if you feel a nudge to reach out to someone whose day you might be able to brighten with your light, then do it! Sometimes we have to be the change we want to see in the world around us. Carpe diem! I have never regretted the text I sent, email I wrote, or phone call I made when my intention was love and inclusion. Just show up. Right now when fear, confusion, and uncertainty are at all time highs in many parts of the world, it’s a good time to be grateful for the friends you have. I know right now my prayers are full of thanks for the many blessings I have been given. Check on each other, hold each other up, and keep your circle open. You never know when a new friend might be on their way and in need of your love and friendship.

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  1. Selina Strong says:

    As always, your words are true, necessary and kind. I am touched by this lovely piece of writing! Thank you for giving me something to consider besides fear and anxiety – and a fresh direction. I bought myself a bunch of tulips yesterday. Love you very much.

  2. Ashley Bruynes says:

    Lindley; your insight, wisdom, and kindness once again inspires us all. Thank you for sharing your light and love. Can’t wait for you to write a book some day 😘❤️

  3. You have a beautiful mind and heart Lin…you inspire me!! xoxoxoxo

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