Last weekend, my best friend and I spent the weekend together. It was exactly what I needed. We have been best friends since we were in high school together and the friendship has always been that – exactly what I needed. Reflection on the weekend and how fulfilling it was got me thinking about friendships, relationships, and partnerships in general. I personally have accumulated friends as if they were souvenirs from an experience, job or period in life. We share memories and those memories seem to validate those experiences – as if those memories would not exist if it weren’t shared with someone who was there. Of course there are a lot of people that I used to talk to and associate with that I no longer do and yet the memory is still there. But depth of the friendships and relationships that did survive has changed to stay relevant to our ever-changing lives. But what happens when the relationship doesn’t change? What happens if it turns sour or stagnant? Or worse, hurtful and problematic?
We need friends for so many reasons but the ones that I feel are worth keeping in the long run are those who are your own personal form of ‘soul food’. They make your belly hurt from laughing so hard, they listen to you with a kind and empathetic heart, they call you on your sh*t when are you ready to hear it.
“My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.” – Henry Ford
There is a big difference between fertilizer and bullsh*t.
Fertilizer meaning the people who help you grow, thrive and lend to stronger roots. They replenish the soil of our soul when we feel stripped and barren. They feed us with the soul food that enriches our lives.
Bullsh*t meaning the people who knock us down to seem bigger themselves, who are self-interested and have ulterior motives other than the well-being of another, who cause and create drama, conflict and turbulence. Their advice is unsolicited, their intentions questionable, their compassion limited.
“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand.” – Henri Nouwen
We have no need for bullsh*t as life can give us plenty. Surround yourself with those who build you up, who help you grow and are happy for your successes.
Remember that friendship is a two-way street and we need to also evaluate our own intentions, actions and words towards those we befriend.
**Dedicated to my best friend, Jill**