My NEW Definition of Friendship (& Why You Have More Friends Than You Think)

Pictured Above: The little treats and cards I’m delivering to people in my community who make my weeks happier.

The real reason I fear I might not be able to write a book:

My acknowledgements page would be empty, or at least very sparse.

Turn to the back of any book and you will find at least a page or two or sometimes three of all the generous people who encouraged the author to bring their story to life.

Beyond the support of their husband or wife or children, there is usually an intimidating-to-me list of people who stood by the writer. Neighbors who brought meals to their family when they were deep into another round of edits.

Friends who read and re-read the earliest drafts and offered their timely feedback.

There are therapists and mentors and guides who showed up at crucial points along their path to bring wisdom and perspective.

I’d be kidding myself if I said I wasn’t slightly jealous of the web of connections these authors have created for themselves, especially when they claim writing to be such a solitary process. It seems they are in the popular crowd and well-loved by everyone they meet.

They must be, I reason in my head, very social and outgoing and much better than me at finding and keeping friends.

But you know what?

I’m done with that belief.

When I look across the landscape of my life, I’m choosing to see nothing but loving relationships. I have an abundance of people around me who would make the “acknowledgements” page of my book one day.

I’ve decided to let go of culture’s confined description of friendship.

It feels like it only includes the people who you’ve known for decades, who bear your burdens with you and hold your deepest secrets close to their heart, who have seen you cry and care for you when you’re sick, or would put down everything on a Saturday to help you load the moving van. Friends can only be those you see and communicate with regularly, as in more than once a month.  

Imagine if we could expand the boundaries of friendship to include anyone who has made an impact on your life?

Now, the list becomes a little longer right?

The stunted paragraphs turn to filled pages, turn to chapters, turn to an entire book filled with just the names of those who have made us smile, brightened our days, and healed our hearts without even knowing it.

The acknowledgments are no longer a brief section in the back of a book, but an entire series, detailing the people and the parts they played during each of the seasons in your life.

If we really think about it… friendship is not something that we create, it’s something that happens to us as we open ourselves up to everyone around us.

The circle of meaningful relationships grows exponentially and doesn’t stop.

It includes everyone from the childhood friend you don’t talk to anymore, to the elementary school teacher who told you she loved your penmanship and your stories, to the pastor at the church who prayed for you (even though you’ve since left organized religion).

It encompasses old neighbors from the cul-de-sac in fifth grade, to your girlfriends on the highschool track team, to the coach who always believed in you, to the neighbor mom who made you feel welcome at her house, to your university roommates who all live in different states now.

The title of friendship belongs to the sweet woman who bags your groceries and asks how you’re doing, to the smiling faces at your local YMCA front desk, or the women you see every week in the locker room at the gym, to the man who sends a kind head nod in your direction as you bike by him in the morning on your way to school drop off.

I could keep going, but you get the picture.  

Friendship could be, if we let it, so much more.

Is it true…Do we not have enough friends? Do we lack genuine relationships?

You aren’t a bore, you don’t have to feel bad, if you have a beating heart, then you have an abundance of friendships!

It’s true. Do you believe it?

There are people all around you every day making your life better, making you smile, brightening your day, and healing your heart without even knowing it.

Who fills the pages of your friendship book now?

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“It’s not the intensity of positive experiences that really predict happiness, it’s the frequency of little positive moments sprinkled throughout the day at times when it would not otherwise be so good…

You’re commuting, you’re just walking down the sidewalk, reach out to someone, say hello, give someone a smile, help someone with something, reach out to a friend.”

as heard on, Why Talking to Strangers Will Make You Happier, Nicholas Epley, on Big Brains Podcast

Also be sure to listen to Mel Robbins Podcast, “3 Simple Ways to Get the Love You Want”

Or Guy Raz’s Wisdom From The Top podcast with Joe Keohane, “The Power of Strangers”

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