I feel like I’m not alone in saying that friendships can be more tricky than a husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. With your spouse, you expect to deal with real stuff, and you’re sort of braced for the hard times, when they come. There could be illness, infertility, deaths in the family, pregnancies, difficult children, job loss, and a whole myriad of other potential trials that your marriage is expected to withstand. And, you’ve promised to stick with each other through all of these things. But the hard times are different for a friend. They didn’t stand before God and all your friends and family and promise to be with you through it all. But, every now and then, you get a friend in life who does just that, even still. Those are the rare friendships that you can’t take for granted. You’re blessed if you have one. I’ve learned a few lessons about friendships as I’ve gotten older. Here are just some of the things I’ve learned.
1. The real, gritty, bitter stuff in life is what will bring you closer. Don’t hide your real feelings, fears, failures, and weaknesses from your friend. She may be struggling in a similar (or completely different) way, but, most likely, she’ll be glad you feel comfortable enough to open up to her about the tough things you’re going through.
2. Let them know that you want to be around them. It’s easy to let life get in the way, and, before you know it, weeks have gone by, and you haven’t spent any time together. Tell them you want to spend time together, even if you’re sitting on an unswept floor with a baby crawling all over you while you talk.
3. Overlook her flaws, sometimes. Nobody’s perfect, but if you can accept your friend, imperfections and all, your friendship will benefit from the feeling of acceptance.
4. Share commom interests. Aside from blogging and thrifty fashion, Candace and I share common interests in church, event planning, fantasy, and television shows and movies. We have interests that don’t overlap, for sure, but we try to play into each others’ interests to keep our friendship strong.
5. It doesn’t always have to be some grand experience. In the past, I’ve missed out on spending time with friends, because I thought there needed to be some great, entertaining experience to hold their interest. The truth is, creating experiences is fun, but a real friend will want to be with you, even when all you can offer is you… Just plain ‘ol you, with dirty hair and unpolished nails.
6. Just be there. She doesn’t necessarily need you to fix her problems, or figure out her life for her. Sometimes, just being there, with a glass of wine and an ear to listen, is just what she needs.