Nov 29, 2010

Nourishing Friendships

I want to talk about friends today. This topic has been on my mind for a few weeks now for several reasons. First, I lost a dear friend when she accidentally overdosed on pain medication. She was only 31 years old and had two young children. She'd just gotten engaged and, after ending an abusive marriage, was finally happy. It broke my heart to see her life end so tragically.

Second, I have a friend who I've known since we were in grade school. We used to be inseparable, did everything together. Played guitar, sang at weddings, went horse back riding, were each others maid of honor when we got married. Nothing could come between us. Or at least I thought.

Recently, she's made drastic changes to her lifestyle, one of which was to disown her 4 oldest children (she has 9). The oldest called me a few months back and told me what had happened and asked my advice so I gave it to her. I told her to give her mom time and to just love her. Since that time, the daughter and I have corresponded several times with similar topics of conversation, the last of which was to inform me that her mother had stopped going to church and was cutting all ties from family and friends. I wasn't surprised to get a letter this past Friday from my friend telling me she no longer wanted anything to do with me because I'd spoke to one of her children.

Although my heart is sad, there is little I can do. I wrote her back and told her I loved her and that I would always be here for her, but I know it will fall on deaf ears.

This all makes me think about how precious our relationships with friends can be, or SHOULD be. While I have  dozens of writing buddies I consider close friends--all of which live at least 3 hours away--I only have a couple women near where I live that I have a relationship with. Even then, I only have contact with them sporadically, most of the time only a brief wave as we pass each other on the road. I need to fix this. I know there are several neighbors and women at church that I would love being friends with, but I'm too lazy to invest the time and energy to nourish those friendships. How sad is that?

So, even though it's not the New Year and I seldom make resolutions anyway, I'm going to make it my goal for next year to find some friends. I'm also going to be a better friend to the ones I already have, whether they live far away or just around the corner. I think we all need someone we can count on being there for us and it enriches our lives to be there for others.

What do you do to nourish old friendships and how do you make new friends?


  1. Oh, how sad! I'm not that great at making new friends because I pretty much live in a bubble that orbits around family activities. I live a few hours from where I grew up, and a group of us makes a point of getting together when I come into town. Otherwise, I wouldn't hang out with any friends at all. The only person I go out with is my husband at least once a week. I should probably care more than I do, but by the time I'm done with kid/family stuff, I don't have time or energy to put into any kind of "local" meaningful friendship. Don't judge me... ;)

  2. That is so sad!

    Friendships tend to be under-rated, but they really are so important.

    I make a point of visiting with people who could be friends. If I don't feel the spark, I move on. If I do, I keep in contact with that person. So to me, maintaining friendships are about choosing well. If you can't make each other happy when you're together, there isn't a point to the relationship, is there?

    Then, I prioritize. Sometimes it's important to make time for friends. This past weekend, I skipped my studies to go to a friend's birthday and ended up staying the weekend. I'm glad I did, since all of her other friends bailed at the last minute.

    But yeah... that's pretty much how I make and keep friends.


    Good luck with your goal!

  3. It says so much about your character that you wrote back just to say that you still love her and are still there. Maybe someday she'll read that and understand. And maybe it will be the one thing that helps her realize what she really has.

    Though we're far apart, I hope you know you have a friend in me. *hugs*

  4. So sorry to hear about your friend who passed away. A close friend of mine passed away last summer. It's been tough.

    And never give up hope on your other friend. You did the right thing by writing her back and sharing your love for her despite her snarky behavior.

    You've inspired me. This will definitely be on my New Year's resolution list. Thanks!