♥ Amitié Mon Amour ♥

I am not a romantic person, not in the least. Reading a romance novel would quite simply be hell on Earth for me .

It’s not that I don’t believe in Love. I believe passionately in Love.

I just don’t feel that the love we consider romantic is any more interesting, important or fulfilling than the love I have found in friendship.

My most prized possession, secret love weapon, spiritual vitamin, most effective anti-depressant, security blanket, guardian of my mental health: Friendship, my Great, my True Love.

Every friendship I have ever had has started off with a “spark”, a unique chemistry of sorts.

It then becomes a “courtship”; a thrilling discovery of all that you share in common, and how your differences may propel you forward into new adventures.

As the connection and understanding hoped for takes shape, the excitement of the new transforms into the comfort of the known, and we find we are as one of my most cherished friends has put it, “two pieces of a puzzle that just fit”.

Yet none of my friendships has just come along and been perfect. Friendship like all relationships requires time, engagement, and effort.

As I was running off to meet a friend recently, worried that I might be late and thinking I should call her to let her know, she called me to let me know that she would be late, and as I laughed at the coincidence, it occurred to me that I really could not say if she or I tended to the “late” one. I just “don’t keep score”. This realization had me thinking on the common elements of most my friendships, what make them so sustaining and ever so precious.

A few of those Hallmarks:

Taking a risk. You will never know if that person who seems so interesting really is if you don’t give it a shot. Going out of our comfort zone is never easy but it is always worth it to smile, say hello, start up a conversation with someone who we would like to get to know. What is the worst thing that can happen? An Irish saying come to mind; “If it’s for you, it won’t pass you by”. If someone does not respond immediately in the manner you would have liked, they may just need a little time, and even if a friendship doesn’t blossom over time, you may have just made someone’s day who needed a lift.

Not keeping score. It is so easy to add up the “goods and bads” of others, but it rarely really tells us anything about the meaning or value of a relationship. Trust is key here. In most cases, I really can’t say which one of my friends is late more often, who called who last or who was the last one to initiate getting together. I just know they love me and have my best interest at heart and that is all that “counts”.

Seeing the big picture. Overtime many of the stages we will go through won’t be at the same time as some of our friends. Dealing with a young family, an ill family member, going back to school, changing work, the end of a relationship, or experiencing an illness ourselves can really take us “off course” it seems from some of our friends. We may only know a fraction of what someone has been dealing with, and remembering good times shared in the past can help us be patient and understanding of each other. I will never forget when a dear friend of mine lost a parent after a long illness, and told me that now that she knew how very painful this could be, that she wished she would have understood more when I had lost a parent a few years before. My reply was that I was glad she did not “join this club” any earlier, and that I wished no one had to sign up for this one.

Not putting all your eggs in one basket. No one person can be everything to us. We can benefit greatly from having a variety of friends, not a crew but at least a few. Expectations that one friend must always be there can lead to pressure and disappointments. We won’t share the same interests with all our friends and exploring our interests with new people can help us grow and come back to other relationships with new experiences and insight to share.

Assuming the other has the best of intentions ALWAYS. Do this and find that you are right. Usually this assumption is correct. People do things that annoy us, but rarely to annoy us. More often than not what seems insensitive is a reflection of another’s state of mind and not how much they value or care for us. When we become irritated or angry by a friend’s behavior towards us, it may be that we are making assumptions that we don’t matter and that is often a reflection of our own insecurities more than a just portrait of the other’s intent.

Giving 50 % (+1). The ebb and flow of life and our relationships means that sometime we do have to give a little more. It is rarely satisfying if we are always giving that 1% more, but sometimes we need to reach out when we feel someone is having a hard time and just let them know that we are still here. Sometimes a friends just needs to talk, and while we may want to give advice or tell them what to do so they can get back on track and be the person we expect, having that little bit of extra patience will come back to us tenfold, if we can offer them a safe harbor.

Celebrating the Seasons. Friends do sometimes come into our lives for a time and we may lose touch, but that won’t mean that what we shared wasn’t important. One of the loveliest things anyone ever told me was when a friend I had attended graduate school said to me that she realized that we lived in different countries and that although we would try to stay connected that if we did lose touch, that I would always be in her heart, and her good friend from that time in our lives. Although we have not spoken in more than a decade, I think of her often with fondness.

Forgetting your troubles, come on get happy. It is such a relief to be able to share our struggles with someone who knows and “gets” us, but it can also be equally nourishing to “step out” of our difficulties and have some fun. On more than one occasion in my life, I have made a conscious decision to not talk about and focus on “tough stuff” that I had been dealing with and just go out and “play with a friend”.

In the words of Marilyn Vos Savant:

~At first, I only laughed at myself. Then I noticed that life itself is amusing. I’ve been in a generally good mood ever since.~

Tagged as .

Posted in Coping, Friendship, change, happiness.

Posted on 11 Feb 2013, by Linda Lee Ross

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2 comments to ♥ Amitié Mon Amour ♥

  1. Shiri Freiwald
    On Feb 14th 2013 at 14:43

    I love your insight and the adorable pictures!

    • Linda Lee Ross
      On Feb 14th 2013 at 15:33

      ~ ♥ ~ Thanks Shiri ~ ♥ ~