a rain-soaked realization: are you living in YOUR moment?
a letter to my older self

26 reasons to celebrate friendship

 



Don't walk behind me...I may not lead.
Don't walk in front of me...I may not follow.
Just walk beside me and be my friend.


Albert Camus

 

About a year ago, I met someone who, like me, was in a pretty rough place in her life. We were both struggling, sad, unsure of where we would go next in our lives. The road ahead of us looked long and daunting and, at least for me, every day that passed seemed like the longest one. The time dragged on and on and on. My new friend and I sat together and we sulked. We watched sad movies and exchanged sad songs. Looking back at the people we were back then, I feel an ache in my heart. How sad we were! How sorry for ourselves we felt! And then I turn my attention back to now and only one word comes to mind: WOW. What a difference a year has made for both of us. We're still journeying down that same road, still struggling at times, but when I look at us now I see so much strength, so much confidence, so much happiness.

Over the past twelve months, we've been through a lot together -- ups and downs, breakups and makeups, silly times and serious times -- and we've come a long, long way from where we were last August. Through all of my recent changes (and, yes, there have been many!), she's stuck by my side, supporting me and encouraging me no matter what (even during the times I know she disagreed with my decisions). I've made a lot of changes over the past year and, as a new friend, that might not have been all that easy to handle, but she took my changes in stride. Like any relationship, a friendship is a journey. It's a road two people travel down together. It can long or short, wide or narrow, winding or straight. No matter what the road is like, a good friend will hold your hand, will cheer you along, and will pick your ass up and drag you when you just don't feel like walking any more.

The more I think about it today -- on this special day, her birthday -- the more I realize how important her friendship has been for me. It has had a terrific impact on my life and though I've known her for only awhile, it feels, sometimes, like a lifetime. Friendships can be like this. They are so important, so meaningful, and yet they often get cast aside in favor of more tantalizing topics like love and sex. Friendship is, in fact, one of the most important aspects of my life and today I've come up with a mere 26 reasons why friendship is important, necessary, and, well, flat-out awesome (I chose 26 because that's the age my great friend is turning today and the age I'll be turning tomorrow). Today I'm celebrating my friend's birthday, but I'm also celebrating her friendship. Happy birthday, Abbey, and thanks for reminding me how important -- and worth celebrating -- friendship is. Here are 26 reasons why friends are fabulous and -- lucky me! -- my friend is all of these things and so much more...

 

  1. Friends tell you the truth -- even when it hurts.

  2. Friends often know you better than you know yourself.

  3. Friends meet you for lunch when your heart is broken.

  4. Friends listen to sad songs and cry right along with you.

  5. Friends teach you the importance of a well-timed hug.

  6. Friends support you (even when you're so wrong).

  7. Friends understand and laugh at your inside jokes.

  8. Friends share the best music with you when you need it most.

  9. Friends listen to you complain about your day.

  10. Friends want you to succeed and encourage you all the time.

  11. Friends look for the best in you when you don't want to.

  12. Friends push you to do the right thing when it seems so hard.

  13. Friends believe you should be happy and help you to believe that too.

  14. Friends refrain from judging you when you share your secrets.

  15. Friends answer the phone late at night when you're feeling down.

  16. Friends ask you how you're doing and actually listen when you reply.

  17. Friends know when you're not yourself and try to cheer you up.

  18. Friends open up to you so you can really get to know them.

  19. Friends smile like they mean it (just like The Killers tell us to!) .

  20. Friends keep their questions to themselves until you're ready to talk.

  21. Friends know your quirks (and want to hang out with you anyway).

  22. Friends are there for you, no matter what, no matter when.

  23. Friends give you advice but don't get angry when you choose to ignore it.

  24. Friends celebrate the special moments in your life with gusto.

  25. Friends don't say a word when you're looking (and feeling) your absolute worst.

  26. Friends put constant effort into being the best friends they can be.

 

Friendship is so many things to so many people and can be different for everyone and in every relationship. As we get older, good friendships are harder to find, but, for this reason, I think it is even more important to cherish and celebrate them. I'm fortunate to have many great friends -- both old and new -- and they are all 26 of these things and so much more to me. With every hardship I've had to face in life, I've been fortunate enough to have friends by my side, journeying with me down the winding, curving roads of life's highs and lows. The past year has been filled with change and transformation for me and I couldn't be more grateful for those who have been beside me, supporting me -- for those who have been my friends. As you can tell, I really believe friendships are so important and I'd love to hear what they mean to you.


What does friendship mean to you?
How do YOU celebrate your friendships?

Comments

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Hi Dani .. congratulations to you both .. lovely to have the weekend to relax, celebrate your life, celebrate your achievements, congratulations on all you've done: not many 25 year olds would have the courage - or to change from negativity to positivity.

I applaud you have a great birthday. Friends are essential to life, especially those that support you through thick and thin.

Enjoy the weekend .. all the very best -
Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Dani,
Friendship is so important. For me, friendship is someone who will always stick with you, no matter what - someone you can show your more vulnerable side without fear, someone who cares. And someone who celebrates with you, knows you. The bad and the good. It's all of it. And like the quote you have above says, someone that walks beside you...

Happy Birthday to Abbey today...and Dani - may tomorrow be a wonderful, wonderful birthday celebration for YOU!

Happy birthday to your friend! What a lovely post. I especially liked what you said about friends crying right along with us. When I was 25, my world shattered in a way I never expected. I was devastated, and remember calling my best friend to tell her about it. Before I even got the whole story out, she started sobbing on the phone because she felt my sadness --- not just a little sadness, either. She was right in the trenches with me. Unbelievable! I've never forgotten that, and always thought it was one of the marks of a true friend. They feel our feelings right along with us.

To me, friendship is about being there for one another, through the good times and the bad. It's about trust. It's about being able to open up to someone and knowing that they'll never sell you out.

Great post, Dani and help me wish your friend, Abbey, Happy Birthday.

She's lucky to have a friend like you =)

Hi Dani! Happy Early Birthday to you, and Happy Birthday to Abbey!

For me, friendship is more important than any other kind of relationship, I put my friends first (and I count my family as my friends, after all, they've put up with me the most!). A friend is someone who will know how to cheer you up, how to have fun with you, and be there for you through it all. I celebrate my friendships by making the effort to visit! Most of my friends live ways away, and so I do my best to save up and visit every now and again.

Hey Dani,

This is a really great post and very creative way to leverage the timing. Happy early birthday. Sounds like you have had quite a year and quite an adventure with your friend.

Hilary - Yes, it's wonderful to have a shared birthday weekend of fun and relaxation. I'm very lucky to have such a great friend and to able to celebrate with her on our birthdays. Thanks for your support and encouragement. It's been a crazy year for me and I've made so many changes but I really do believe that I've changed my life for the better. I couldn't have done it without friends like Abbey and readers like you so thank you!

Lance - Friendship is one of the most important things there is! I agree that true friendship is sticking by someone's side, no matter what, no matter how hard it is. In addition, it's important to have people who know you and love you anyway. Sounds cliche, but it's so true. I've always loved the quote I used today and I felt it was so fitting for my relationship with Abbey, someone who has been walking down a road with me for over a year, who has been by my side through some pretty tough and pretty awesome times. I'm sure Abbey will appreciate the bday wishes -- and I do too! :)

Megan - Thank you for sharing your story about your friend. That is a great example of friendship and how important it is for friends to be able to relate to us on a deep, knowing level. It sounds like your friend is a great one and you were lucky to have her while you were going through a tough time. I'm so fortunate for my friends and I just don't know what I would do without them!

Yee - Exactly! Friendship -- any good relationship really -- is about taking the good AND the bad. It's not always easy to do, but a true friend will stick by you and support you even during the most difficult times. I'll pass along your b-day wishes for Abbey! We're lucky to have each other as friends. :)

Ia - Thank you! I'm with you on what you say about friendship. Friendships are some of the most important relationships you can have and you can have them with all sorts of people (parents, siblings, spouses, etc.). That's great that you celebrate your friendships with visits. Spending quality time with a friend is priceless and is one of the best ways to keep a friendship going strong.

Srinivas - Thank you! I appreciate your compliment on the post and the birthday wishes. It's definitely been a heck of a year for both Abbey and I and it's so great to look back and see how we've both grown and how our friendship has grown. Thanks for commenting!

Dani, happy birthday tomorrow :-)

To me true friends are the ones who stick with you when others don't because they know the true you - as much as anyone can know anyone else anyway. I like to put it that way rather than saying "no matter what" because I don't agree with that. Sometimes something happens which requires one to end those ties, and knowing when to do that is just as important as knowing when to stay.

Social connections of which friendships are a critical part, are part of what makes us human. Those are the things you will think about at the end of your life and not how many homes and cars you collected.

I admit that I'm not very sociable but I do have a few great friends. THis is a great post.

-meream

This brought me to tears... Thank you so much for being an amazing friend. This past year has taught me so much about myself and so much about relationships. I truly could not have survived some of what happened without you by my side. When I look at you, I see someone that I want to be in my life forever and feel so lucky to get to share so many moments with you. Happy-day-before Birthday to you, my dear friend Dani. From our brief stint in the hospital to our ever-lasting journey through our 20's and beyond - I thank you. You are one hell of a friend.

Stephen - Thank you! :) Great point about the "no matter what" concept. Friends know you, love you, and accept you, but there are limits to when/where/why you should be friends with someone. Sometimes friendships end and, in that case, "no matter what" doesn't quite work out. Social connections are very important but they're not something we should sacrifice ourselves for; they are important but not everything. Great comment! Thanks!

Meream - I'm not all that social either so I completely understand. Because of that, I'm choosy with my friends and I'm so happy when I find a really great one.

Abbey - Awww, I'm so happy you liked the post! I want to have you as a friend forever too and I think being born a day apart in the same hospital was a sign that we were meant to be friends. It may have taken us 25 years to find each other, but I think we're stuck with each other from now on! :) Can't wait to celebrate tonight. WOOHOO!

Lovely post! Reminds me of that poem about friends for a reason vs. season. I wish I had more of a group of friends, but usually I have one good friend at a time. I celebrate friendship by trying to be there for that person in the best way I know how.

Happy bday! To you and your friend.

I agree with everything you wrote. My best friend is my family and I love her unconditionally. Her brother is dying right now and her pain is my pain and we are going through this together. As her friend I wish I could take her pain away but I cant. All I can do is be there for her. Thanks for the post

Lynn - Thank you! Interesting concept -- friends for a reason vs. a season. I think it's great to have lots of friends, but personally I prefer to have a few close friends. In my opinion, it's hard to be a really great friend to everyone if you have a million friends.

Shannanigans - Thank you! :) Great point about friends being family. It's amazing how much we can bond with people who aren't related to us, isn't it? It sounds like you're being a great friend by being there for her. She's lucky to have you.

I thought I commented here...Oh well, Happy birthday Abbey and Dani! You both sound like two amazing friends, and you`re lucky to have each other. I applaud you Dani, for realizing how great it is. This was a beautiful post :) Hope you had fun!

> 7. Friends understand and laugh at your inside jokes.
Not just my lucky number, but one of the best features of an experienced friend.

Rosa - Sorry if your comment didn't go through for some reason! Typepad can be finicky at times. Abbey and I are definitely lucky to have one another and we had a great celebratory weekend together.

J.D. - I agree with you on that one. There's nothing quite like having an inside joke with a friend and sharing a great laugh. :)

This is so friggin cool and Happy Birthday to someone special who lights up the blogosphere!

Hi Dani! First time I read your blog and I enjoyed it so much it brought tears to my eyes. Maybe because I wish I had someone to have those feelings for and vise versa. I lost touch with my friends years ago because at the time all of my attention went to my boyfriend...what a mistake! Not only did my relationship with that boyfriend did not workout but I lost my good friends. I tried to rekindle those lost friendships but then it seemed that I had nothing in common with my friends anymore, they're all married with children and I'm not. Friendships from work I have not been able to form because I've always worked in a small office, 3 people maximum. You are so lucky to have a friend like Abbey because I really wish I did.

Tess - Thank you! :) I appreciate the compliment and the birthday wishes. You made me smile!

Mary - I've been in your shoes, losing friends because I devoted all of my attention to my boyfriends. It's terribly sad when that happens, but the fact that you no longer feel you have anything in common with those people probably shows that they are not the friends you should have anyway. A true friendship withstands all of the differences and life changes. For example, one of my very best friends has a baby and a husband and couldn't live a life more different from mine, but last night she came over and we had the best time just chatting and hanging out. You should do what you can to join clubs or groups (visit The Happiness Project to see if there's a group in your area) and keep your eyes open. The possibilities for friendship are everywhere. I know it's tough to feel as if you don't have a close friendship (I've definitely been there), but I know you will find one if you just keep an open mind and an open heart.

Dani, I really appreciate you listening and replying to my comment, it means a lot! I followed you advice and joined a couple of clubs through meetups.com. I have yet to meetup with any them but I'm definitely looking forward to meeting them. I will keep an open heart and open mind...I know somewhere in this world there's a person who needs my friendship. Thanks a lot!

Mary - That's great! I hope that it's a good experience for you. I'm sure it will be if you have an open heart and mind. :)

Dani, great stuff on friendship. I have a few very close friends. And I feel fortunate to have them. I know that they have my best interests at heart. That is a comfort.

Syd - Thanks! I'm also lucky to have a few close friends and am SO lucky to have them in my life. Great point about friendship -- a good friend always has your best interests at heart.

Hey Dani...what you've tried to convey is the very truth of life that all of us know deep inside ourselves...but sometimes we just tend to forget how important it is to mention to these special people how much they mean to us...and i think it happens with all of us as we have our own ups and downs to go through. I too have a close friend who has been there and always understood, inspite of all the twists n turns that kept cuming her way. I can only say that i'd never be able to repay for that smile that she brought to my life without expecting anything in return, and i'll always cherish her presence in my life..

Neha - Thanks for your comment! I agree that we often forget how important these people are in our lives and it's so important to tell them how much they mean to us. Even a small "thank you" can mean so much.

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