“The only way to have a friend is to be one.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Yes, it is true we have actually been friends for over forty-one years now. The decision was made long ago to become deeply obligated to each other in the most meaningful way. Friendships are indeed a gift. If you accept this gift you must be willing to accept another’s trust with the appreciation and trustworthiness that such an awesome gift deserves. Friendship requires the commitment to devote time, energy, and thought to the other person’s needs and desires as well as to our own. The rewards of a relationship are rich and satisfying. They can last a lifetime. There are steps you have to take in order to maintain long term friends. We would like to share the secret sauce on how we have been able to accomplish this for so many years.
- Be Dependable – Do not say you will do something knowing you can’t or do not say you will be somewhere knowing you won’t. Be careful what you promise and commit yourself to. Then, if you do make that promise, have your plan for how it is going to happen. Have a backup plan in case something goes wrong or falls through, because we all know it can. A few times will not damage the relationships trust, but regularly committing to things and not following through is going to make you unreliable.
- Keep in contact – A good friend should never allow for a lot of time to slip away without connecting. Long conversations are often turned into quick texts, fly-by ‘hellos’, or e-mail and social media check-ins. Friends should be woven into the fabric of our lives in a regular way. A friend wants to know about our life and wants to have opportunities to share it when possible.
Our friendship has survived long distance while one of us was in Spain and the other in Michigan. These were the days before cell phones, e-mail, and social media. You had to write letters or keep in touch through family members, because the long distance calling was not as available as it is today. Yes, there are some friends who lose touch for decades and pick up right where they left off. In the meantime, they lost all those years of one another’s company and opportunities to deepen the relationship. Don’t let that happen to your friendship.
- Don’t Become Too Needy – Our friendship would never have made it for this long if we were two clingy individuals. We have our own separate identities. We enjoy spending quality time together; however, we have our own lives. We have always been considerate of the other person’s space and time. We have both worked, raised kids, had husbands and other family responsibilities. If the friendship had been overwhelming us who would we turn to? Even though we are both single at this time in our lives we still enjoy having that balance in life. We usually talk at least once a day, but we don’t have to be under each other constantly to enjoy the friendship. Sometimes we fly solo and actually enjoy lunch, shopping or the movies by ourselves.
- Be Trustworthy.Friendships require trust. If there is no trust, there is no friendship. Your friendship is supposed to be a safe place to confide and share. Friends don’t talk about each other in a negative way with others. They stand up for each other and watch each other’s back. A friend is someone with whom you can safely share your fragile dreams, expose your fears, unveil your failures, and discuss your struggles – big and small. Others may laugh at your dreams, belittle your fears, or openly talk about your struggles. A friend would not think of doing that; you are safe with them. Our friendship code consists of being keepers in confidence.
- Stretch Each Other – Be surrounded by friends that are interested in bringing out the best in you. Friends can either take you up or bring you down. We should choose our friends carefully. Even though we have been friends for a while, last year our friendship turned the page to stretch each into two entirely different people. We challenged one another to get out of our comfort zones and start writing and working on our business, we pray together more often, and we changed our mindsets to believe that we can achieve our dreams. This challenge is far from over.
- Have a heart to serve – A friend should always show an interest in you and what you represent. Most friendships are one-sided, where someone is constantly taking and wanting for the person to cater to their needs. A true friendship is when both parties are willing to give their time and be in their friend’s corner. Service will involve going out of your way for them and expecting nothing in return. We serve one another by sometimes carpooling together at a moments notice. We are aware of when the other person needs a girl’s night out to just have some fun. Sometime we even give ‘just thinking of you’ gifts. Journals were the latest thoughtful items exchanged without any prior knowledge.
All of this takes thought, time, and work. Although we can have hundreds of friends on various social media platforms, most of us can only be truly committed to a few special friends. These are the people who we share life’s journey with and add to our lives in a special way. The reward of friendship continues to be as delightful and interesting as it was when we were two giggling girls in pigtails, running around the church.
Trina & Valerie – Even Better Together