“Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. It’s not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.” Muhammad Ali

Do you have life long friends? Recently a friend posted this question on facebook, “How many of ya’ll have friends from 20 years ago?”  The responses varied but several people stated that they didn’t have any childhood friends and didn’t know how to make friends as adults. So I began to wonder, how is it that some people don’t have long OR short term friendSHIPS? How could that be? If you’ve gone to school and worked, it seems strange that friendSHIPS. weren’t forged. If you don’t have any friends, have you done any introspection? Is it because you are selfish? Is it because you knowingly and unknowingly block people from entering your life? Are you reliable, dependable? Can you be trusted? Are you a good listener? Can you guard a secret? Are you a gossip?  Are you friendly? True FriendSHIPS can’t form, thrive or grow if you possess ANY of those characteristics because, in order to have a friend, you must first be willing to be a friend.

FriendSHIP goes beyond just spending time together, it’s a much deeper connection. With trust being its foundation, friendSHIPS are a combination of affection, loyalty, love, honesty, and respect.  Even though I’d like to think that everyone has a good friend, that’s simply not true. The sad truth is that many people don’t. But, why? Is it because they aren’t friendly? Do they know what it takes to be a friend? FriendSHIPS take a lot of work. It takes trust, letting down your guards and being vulnerable. FriendSHIPS, to be authentic MUST share these qualities-honesty, acceptance, low maintenance, non-judgemental, loyal, respectful, and trustworthy just to name a few. Genuine and authentic friendSHIPS are a beautiful and organic thing that life GIFTS us.

True friendSHIP is when someone knows you almost better than you know yourself and I can honestly say that I’ve been blessed with TRUE friendSHIPS that date back over 20 years. They started in elementary school and continue to this day.  I grew up knowing their parents, siblings, cousins and now know their children, (and for some grandchildren). Throughout the years, we’ve shared laughs and cries, marriages, break-ups, divorces, death of parents, and births just as effortlessly as when we shared hopscotch, tetherball, girl scouts, and Jr. High school dances.  I feel blessed to have maintained friendSHIPS with people from every station of my life- elementary, jr. high, high school, college, church, clubs, and former jobs.  I’ve been blessed to have friends who have become family.

FriendSHIPS are vitally important in our lives because they humanize our earthly existence, They increase our sense of belonging, help us cope through life’s crises and traumas, they improve our confidence, reduce stress, and boost our happiness. The privilege of just hanging with folk who knew you before you knew yourself, is a wonderful thing. FriendSHIPS frees us from responsibility because it is that non-judgemental space where we are free to be ourselves So if you don’t have friendSHIPS, it’s not too late. If you’ve lived and maneuvered in life this long, you’ve made some connections. You’ve had neighbors, school mates, church friends, and co-workers. Start there. Find them, reminisce about shared memories and good times, laugh, and start to rekindle the friendSHIP. Just know that you are likable and keep planting those friendly seeds. Be friendly and friendSHIPS are bound to blossom!!!!

SHIP TALK: What’s your longest friendSHIP? Are there benefits in friendSHIP? What are they? Has a friend ever disappointed you? How did you handle it?

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