Two girls sit at the end of a dock on a summer day, a group of women dance in the ocean waves. Friendship seems easy enough. Is it really that simple? Teenagers can blame broken friendships on boy drama, but what about us moms, the true adults carrying the world on their shoulders? Sometimes it comes down to disagreeing on whether or not we should co-sleep or breast feed in public. It made me realize, friendship isn’t what I thought it was, turns out it’s even better.
Growing up, friendship was having someone you would spend every waking minute with. You’d stay up all night and agree on literally everything. You could always tell them “anything” no matter how deep or hurtful it might seem. Then we become adults, with a bed time, a job and real life problems. Throughout this difficult journey of adulthood, I learned this vital truth: friendship is made up of appreciation, respect and understanding.
Appreciating qualities can draw you to a person and make you interested to become friends. Their personality intrigues you or maybe you just seem to get each other right off the bat. As time goes by and you really get to know each other, you might be surprised – sometimes the greatest things about them are the characteristics that are the complete opposite of yours. Sometimes we just shine with people who have a side of themselves that we never bring out, the side we wish we were more like. That’s what we appreciate; all the things that are nothing like we are, the things we would never say or do. It’s not about being exactly the same or agreeing on all the same things, that’s where respect comes in.
Respect can make a friendship last, and it has a place in every friendship. Friends respect each other’s boundaries. We all have things we keep inside in our homes and hearts. Maybe you don’t ask what the fighting you overheard between her and her husband was all about. You don’t get involved in personal decisions, rather you wait until she brings it up or feels like she needs to talk about it. You do ask if your friend is okay and let her know you have time whenever she is ready. Maybe you don’t give unsolicited advice. That means… wait to be asked. Your very best friend in the world WILL ask when they’re ready to take opinions and have an open heart to consider them.
Understanding can make such a difference. Everyone has to make tough choices and some you may not agree. But you do agree to support your friend’s choices if she feels that is best for their family. Sometimes we become so close to our friends we feel like we should know everything about them. The reality is we don’t see their day-to-day life or live with the consequences of their decisions. Our joy as true friends is to understand and support each other even when what they decide to do doesn’t exactly work out as they hoped. In turn, you will feel appreciated, respected and truly understood no matter what life brings.
Unconditional love, just like bringing a family together, can make a strong friendship. Care for them with appreciation for who they are, respect their choices and understand the things they do. You will have beautiful friendships for years to come.