Sunday, September 11, 2016

     It seems I write often about friendship. This is normal when you move to another state, leaving behind all the cherished friends it took years to find and nurture. I miss them all, but I must find some to tide me over until I can see the “gold” ones again. So how do you do this? If you’re twenty something, you might go to a bar or meet someone in a  class or online. If you’re forty-something, you walk your dog or take your kids to a sports match. If you’re sixty-something, you join a bridge group. If you’re my age, you stand there staring into space thinking to yourself, “Ok, where do I start?” 

     Ask yourself how you met your favorite friends? How long have they been friends? If you left them and moved far away, where would you go to meet new ones? Tonight we will entertain a dear friend, whom we have known in a business relationship for five years but who has become a wonderful first true friend. She is our realtor. When you work closely searching for a new home, this person gets to know a lot about you quickly, and you about him or her. Our realtor, Beth, has a heart of gold, the patience of Job and the stamina of a boxing champion. She is “gold.” She will be our very first dinner guest.  We know when she walks into the house she sold us that she is very sensitive to the hard work we have put into making it “ours.” She will comment and compliment, even if it’s not 100% her taste. She will do this not just because she is polite and well-mannered, but because she knows what it feels like to be in our shoes, and she cares about us. 

      As we entertain and go out with new couples, we always ask ourselves when we get home if there was a “connection.” Sometimes we connect with one or the other of the couple and not the spouse. That’s normal, but then you have to decide if you want to pursue the friendship despite these feelings. So far, we have met three couples with whom we connect four-ways, at least so far. Why would we not connect? We don’t connect to people who posture, brag, one-up or interrupt. We don’t connect with people who are rude to each other. We don’t connect with people who are so busy talking about themselves, they never ask a question. The couples with whom we have connected are humble, kind, fun, interesting, and interested. We have stimulating conversations that make us laugh and think. We commiserate about things we can’t control at our stage in life, and we celebrate the gifts life has given us. Our friendships are rich and meaningful, and these become gifts in themselves.

     I am reminded about a blog I wrote a while ago bemoaning the fact that I didn’t think I had a “best friend.” I share a beautiful response I got from someone whom I respect greatly. He is a gift, and I’m so thankful he entered my life.

Did it not occur to you, dear,  that you are indeed your own BFF? All the great advice you quote, all the living to the limits you do with such verve, all your sensitive appreciations of everything in our natural and cultural world, and,  above all,  your deep, healthy, and self-protective wisdom in having a therapist--all those qualities speak to a person who is her own best friend and could not possibly find anyone else, including Mr Wonderful, to fill that crucial, life-sustaining  position better.