Saturday 30/March 2013

There should always be a day in the week when you will cherish and remember it with complete lucidity. And for the record, I measure a day as being ‘24 hours’.

To‘Day’ was so spectacular because I was surrounded by true friends. I cherish the friends whom I have met since moving to Melbourne five years ago. Some friends have come and gone but some have stood the test of time. That sounded too much like ‘Days of our lives’…sorry about that!

I think five years is a good length of time to get to know someone well. You learn about their likes, dislikes, fears, dreams and passions. The bonds become stronger as you get older because you learn that being a good friend isn’t about judging but it’s about accepting and loving people for who they are. If you didn’t accept them then you just wouldn’t hang out with them.

Having a child adds friendship to your world whether you’re open to it or not. I have made an effort with the parents of the kids my son hangs out with because I figure if he likes them then I will too. Fortunately my son has a sound beacon for people so I have connected with their parents & a whole new world has opened up for me.

Being open to new journeys, like new friendships, rejuvenates our existence. Meeting new people lifts the stagnation that may have set in without us really knowing it. We feel stifled and bored but we don’t know why, it’s like opening up the windows when a cool change comes through after a 42 degree (Celsius) day.

It’s refreshing to learn new ways of thinking about things. If we have a plethora of friends who can fulfill our every need from creativity, structure & reliability then we will be truly enriched.

I look for different values in my friends and through experience I have found that I cannot have just one friend that fulfills all these values hence the need to have a few good ones.

I also aim to be a good friend. I value reliability, confidence, trust and loyalty, so in turn I offer these values to my friends. I know that I also don’t tick every single box on their value list so I appreciate the need for them to have more than just me. This is fine for me because if I was someone’s only friend then the pressure to fully support them would result in me having a complete nervous breakdown.

I used to be a person who needed a lot of friends to feel like I had any value in this life – it was all about quantity. But now at 36 years old I realise that it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality. I know it sounds cliché but it’s what I have come to realise.  My value is dictated by what I can give to a friendship. If I have too many friends then how can I give them the quality of friendship that they deserve?

I came to this realisation a number of years ago.  At a time when I was just starting a new family, I placed a huge amount of credence of having 500 friends on Facebook but I really only ‘knew’ 30 or 40 of them. So, without sounding harsh and judgemental, I worked out a value system based on how much I gave and how much people took. If people took too much and gave too little, I ceased contact with them. I really don’t want to sound harsh but I had to do this for my own peace of mind and that of my new family.

So I turned 500 friends into 20 friends, overnight. The outcome has been 100% positive for all concerned. I have ample time for my family and my friends. We all give and take equally; we respect each other’s privacy and we accept that we have life commitments other than each other.

The most important thing we all have in common is that we don’t expect anything from each other. If we are invited somewhere and we can’t go then it’s all good – we respect it. We don’t make each other feel like pond scum because we can’t make it. Respect to the nth degree.

To‘Day’ I surrounded myself with people who wanted to be with me & I with them. They made me feel welcome in their home, cooked me dinner, served me wine, listened to my stories and respected my opinions. We laughed loudly; we had deep conversations about life & our kids; we almost cried talking about times passed; we patted each other on the knee and said, ‘It’s OK – you’re OK.” and at the end of the night we hugged, kissed and said goodbye. I cherish these moments I have with my friends and I will never forget them.

These experiences feed our souls and remind us what friendship is all about – they are deep soul entrenching connections that cannot be forgotten in a hurry. I still think back fondly at friendships I had at high school, at university and at previous workplaces – these connections have made me the friend I am today.

How about you? Are your value systems healthy? Or do they need a check-up?

Until tomorrow                 ~ Live life, love life


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