I think we can all agree that friends came and went while we were growing up. Sometimes it was easy to make friends and sometimes it was hard. Friendship is a tricky thing, isn’t it? Sometimes I wish that everyone would just look at each other and go, “this is hard, right?! There is so much pressure to have friends, to keep friends and to be a good friend. At the same time, we’re expected to live up to the expectations of our roles as a mom, a wife and an employee. It is overwhelming! But it is not a reason to give up because having good friends can honestly save you. I am so lucky to have wonderful friends and I have been truly blessed with the best. I am here to tell you why friendship matters.
Growing up I was terrified of my own shadow. I was always thinking one step ahead and worrying about how I should act and what other people would think. I got in the way of myself a lot and didn’t have a ton of friends. As I got older, I realized that real friends will like me because I’m me. Let me say that again…REAL friends will just like YOU. You don’t have to act a certain way or have certain things or wear certain clothes because a real friend will just love who you are. When you finally find friends that feel that way about you it is a giant relief – you don’t have to try so hard anymore and you can just be yourself.
I have the best friends in the world and nothing will test a friendship like a traumatic event. At the age of 31 as a mom of 3 little kids, I found myself diagnosed with cancer. I told my best friends and I told them my biggest fear was that I couldn’t be a good friend or that they wouldn’t want to be around the person with cancer. (That’s another sign of a good friendship by the way…being able to tell your friends the truth) They laughed and told me that I couldn’t get rid of them. And I couldn’t. In the absolute best way in the world, my friends all showed up for me. And they kept showing up for me. They sat with me while I cried. They helped my husband and my kids. They made meals for me. They brought toys over for my kids. They shaved my head. They told me that I still looked good bald. They let me panic text whenever I needed to. They took pictures of me and my cute doctor. They were my friends and showed me why friendship matters.
I feel bad a lot lately because I will never be able to thank them enough for what they’ve done for me. But I am beginning to realize that I would do the same for them and wouldn’t expect anything in return. And I think that might just be the secret to friendship. Friendship is caring and loving someone else for the special human being they are without exceptions. Great friends go to extra lengths to show their special people how much they care and expect nothing in return. When you find friends like these you have to hold on to them. It should not take a traumatic event for you to realize how lucky you are to have friends that matter. Friends are amazing because they help you feel sane and loved and cared for and like you belong in this crazy world.
We are at the age with my kids where I have been working so hard to teach them about how to be a good friend and how to have a good friend. My hope is that someday they will find as great of friends as I have found. Friends that love them for who they are and let them just be themselves. I also have been finding it important to teach them that not everyone will be their best friend forever and that is okay too!! Sometimes friends come and go but it doesn’t mean they aren’t an important part of our lives at that time.
So, on this international day of friendship I have something I am going to do and I think you should do too. If you have friends like mine, tell them how much they mean to you. Real friends are just so important and special and we need to tell them how much they mean to us as often as we can. Friendship really matters and I have been so lucky to have the best of the best…and I bet you have too!