I've been thinking a lot about friendship lately. My friends - past and present, what makes someone a good friend, how I treat friends, etc. There are all types of friends, in my opinion - and all have their 'place' in our lives. There are the casual friends that you meet up with every few months for a cup of coffee, maybe you friend them on Facebook, you exchange holiday cards, etc. Then there are the life-long besties, the one you met your Freshman year in college, that you've witnessed give birth (and she you), that although your friendship at times has experienced some lulls (so busy with kids, husbands, jobs!), you still know that she will always be there for you and you for her. Secure. Then there are those in-betweens.
Its the in-betweens that can be challenging, at least for me. I lost my mom in November of 2009. It was fairly sudden and heartbreaking. We were very close and I still feel the hole in my heart every day. Let me tell you, these are the times that you find out who your friends are. I didn't expect those casual friends to do much more than send a message of condolence, and most of them did that with heartfelt sympathy and compassion. It was much appreciated. Likewise, my very best girlfriends in the world stepped up big time and I will always love them for it, they truly got me through it (along with my wonderful husband, son and families (in-laws too)). However, I would be lying if I said that there weren't a few of the in-betweens that really let me down and showed their true colors. I understand that it is hard to know what to say to a grieving individual and all situations are a bit unique ... but here is a tip ... if you care about the person AT ALL do not say NOTHING. Do not act like nothing happened the first time or two that you see them after the event ... you might as well kick them. Even if you say, "I am so sorry. I don't know what to say, but I that I care and I am here if you need a friend". That is enough ... in fact I have said that to others many times.
So, if you have a friend (on any level) that has lost someone, that is going through a divorce, that has a sick child/spouse/parent, that is ill them self, that is battling depression, that has lost their job/home/etc. - Step Up. It is important. Tell them that you care. Find 10 minutes to call them. Meet them for coffee and try not to drone on and on about your annoyance with the sprinkler guy. Get Over Yourself for 10 minutes ... because you never know when you'll need someone to reciprocate!
In honor of Oprah's Finale (gotta admit I was a boo-hooing yesterday) ... I like this quote from her:
“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.”
I would only add one thing, endeavor to lift others higher as well!