Putting Your Friends Out

We live near an airport.

When our friends fly, our home transforms into a park-and-ride.

When our friends fly, our home can also transform into a bed-and-breakfast.

We offer this service.

We are trying to be good friends, not bad friends.

Some participate.

Some don’t.

We hear similar reasons from our friends who don’t.

“We don’t want to be a burden.”

“We don’t want to inconvenience you.”

“We don’t want to put you out.”

Putting your friends out.

The intention is noble.

But helping is not Putting Your Friends Out.

(Unless you are that one friend with a pickup truck and everyone expects you to help move, then we are totally tracking with you.)

Is it a little inconvenient to drive to the airport at weird, early, or late hours? Yep.

It it always the best time? Nope.

Then why do friends offer to help?

Because everyone’s lives are so busy, sometimes the only time we get to connect and see folks are on those small drives to and from the airport.

Connecting with those around us that we care about is hard.

Find the small moments to connect.

The trip to the airport.

The errands.

The grocery store.

Waiting in some line.

Dropping off their car for an oil change/repairs.

The ride to and from [soccer, dance, hockey, or whatever] lessons.

Remember you are not Putting Your Friends Out.

Maybe they are just trying to connect.

Some of my fondest memories are small moments doing the most routine things with my closest friends.

 

A Little Friendly Research Part 5

Part 5. Over the hump. In the home stretch. Some other cliché.

Just finding this today? Try the beginning or the reason behind this little experiment.

In order to learn more about friends and friendships, I asked some of the followers of this blog and the answers appear below.

But before we get to your answers, I just wanted to thank you all again. Thank you for hitting reply. You have given us a gift to share together and to learn together.

Question 5: What are YOUR best attributes as a friend?

I guess I’d say that when I develop a close friendship with someone, I consider that person to be like family (or even closer than family, depending on your family!) and I care about them so deeply that I’d do just about anything for them.

Humor.

I’m a good listener and the “fun” friend because more often than not, I’m being positive. But I can be there for my friends in any circumstance.

I try to be a good listener.

Honesty.

I’m also an honest friend in my feelings and my advice.

I try give my friends the space to be themselves.

Authenticity.

Will listen, provide guidance when asked, willing to take feedback and change if needed.

I try not to give advice that’s unasked for.

Honesty & vulnerability.

I forgive and forget quite easily. I’ve actually been told to my detriment, where other people who used to be friends took advantage of that trait.

Not Critical, provide comic relief and go with the flow.

Good questions.

Attention given to the things people enjoy and then do/give/support them.

Honesty, caring, loving and supportive.

I will be there, always. Unless, uh … I’ve gone dark because I’m afraid, as I just wrote two minutes ago. Oops.

On to the other questions.

For me, the comfort and connection gained by reading all of these replies over the past few days is like walking in a warm ocean and feeling the water and sand wash over your feet.

Keep reading. Keep friending. Keep connecting. Keep sharing.

Tell others: come on in, the water is great.

 

 

A Little Friendly Research Part 3

Part 3 of a series on friends and friendship. You can read part1, part 2 or the inspiration to ask them first, or jump right in.

In order to learn more about friends and friendships, I asked some of the followers of this blog and the answers appear below.

Question 3: What do you expect from a friend?

Honesty, understanding, trust, that they have your back.

See questions 1 and 2.

Fun, support, honesty in their advice and honesty when it comes to our relationship (if the other person is upset with me they will say it or if they need me to make more of an effort).

Basically what I outlined in question 1, with the understanding that they won’t always meet these “goals” and that they’ll *&#$ up sometimes (and I will too) because we’re human and not capable of perfect relationships. But you’ve gotta try … more often than not, you’ve gotta be trying if I’m trying.

I also expect that if I am failing as a friend, they will tell me.

See question #1.

(Author’s Note, ok, ok, I get it, question 3 was a similar question!)

I think one of the things that I expect the most is that my friends are FOR me, even when I am not around. I can trust that they think of me occasionally, pray for me, don’t talk negatively to others about me and pay attention to the things that make me smile.

Love and respect.

Truth. Truth in love. But truth.

I try to not have expectations of my friends, because I don’t think its fair to. I’d like to think that I’ve chosen wisely and surrounded myself with people that would make the choice to step up when they can – and haven’t felt alone or disappointed yet.

My love language is time and words of affirmation. So those are things that will most easily reach my heart.

On to question 4. The journey continues.

 

A Little Friendly Research Part 1

Friendships have been on my mind lately.

Who has them? How do they work? What makes a good one?

Instead of providing my viewpoint, I asked you a series of questions.

A big thank you to all who courageously hit reply.

Question 1: What are the best attributes of your good friends?

They are funny, encouraging, and engaging.

They listen to listen, not to reply.

They are always good listeners when I need it, comic relief, and supportive.

They laugh at themselves and at me.

They like to laugh and to play and are wickedly funny in a way that’s not always appropriate.

Integrity, safety/security (based on trust, understanding, compassion, and forgiveness), humor, honesty.

Being there for each other emotionally and spiritually and being a great ear and supporting.

They ask me how my soul is on regular basis.

They listen, ask questions, and show genuine interest/concern in others.

They ask good questions and are ok if I have to not respond for a while.

They’re willing to be real – authentic, vulnerable and open.

They are consistent.

They value friendship and are willing to work through distance, conflicts, etc.

They cheer me on to do the things that scare me most.

They are kind, encouraging, and they try to keep a positive outlook.

We can always “pick up where we left off” no matter how much time has passed since we’ve seen each other in person.

Will accept you for who you are but will call you out when you are being stupid.

They are ready to offer a shoulder to cry on or boot up my ass and aren’t afraid to ask me which one I need most.

We can shift conversations from the deep places to the hilarious and irreverent and back again and not lose our way.

I think all relationships exist on a continuum with the shallow/superficial at one end and the secret at the other. What makes a friendship close is the ability to go from one end to the other, sometimes in the same conversation. Between the two endpoints are additional points—the silly, the serious, the sacred, the sacredly silly. Note: I’m pretty sure the continuum isn’t just populated with words that begin with s.

Again thank you for being part of this experiment. You didn’t have to, but maybe there was a lesson in that simple act of replying.

There were 8 more questions. And the answers just keep getting better and better.

Swords Up

Arwen-LOTR

We watched epic movies together, and it felt like a journey and perhaps reminded us of our own Hero’s Journey.

During the years while the original movies were playing, this same group of close friends would chat via various messaging programs (texting wasn’t as cool back then) and it provided a way to connect. We would leave small words of encouragement, or check in when we knew one of the others were struggling.

But (yes it is a little goofy) we would also periodically change our picture or icon to represent one of the Lord of the Rings characters that resonated with us. When we knew that there were specific obstacles, resistance, or doubt one of us would type:

Swords Up!

And all the icons or pictures would change. They were the same characters, but this time wielding a sword.

Legolas

As I drove home from my meeting the other day when the Lord of the Rings soundtrack was playing, I remembered those two words: Swords Up.

eowyn

Those swords were a show of protection, defense, and willingness to fight alongside each other.

If Joseph Campbell is right, great stories are pretty much the same and give us a glimpse of the life we are capable of leading. And maybe, just maybe it is friends who are willing to put their Swords Up for and with you that make all the difference.

Thanks Friends, and for old times sake: Swords Up!

Sword

Go Live

While savoring both the conversation and the breakfast with a close friend, we discussed our lives as well as writing.

When, how, why, and what do we write?

How do ideas develop?

What makes something worth reading?

What do you do when ideas do not come?

How does that concept sit still for so long, then all at once it shouts at you to be put out into the universe?

I had a revelation and shared it with my friend.

“I realized recently that when I am getting writers block or feel stuck, it is the result of not really living life. Those times when I cannot seem to write are the exact moments when I am more closed off to others, not engaged, or distracted by the pressures of life.”

My friend’s advice?

Go Live.