November 28     

Today's quotation:

Taking friendships for granted is one of the surest ways of ending them.  Unless nourished, they tend to wither and die.  Unless we earnestly desire its continuance we should never start a friendship any more than we would a love affair.

Alice H. Rice

Today's Meditation:

It's so easy to take friendships for granted, isn't it?  This is especially true of those friends who are always there for us, who do all they can for us without us ever asking-- we tend to take them for granted far more than we do our other friends.  But when we take our friends for granted and simply assume that they're going to be there for us all the time, we do the people and the friendship a huge disservice, and we run the risk of losing something that should be very special to us.

How do we nourish friendships, then?  How do we make sure that we don't allow them to die?  It actually doesn't take tons of work to make sure that they flourish-- a nice note now and again, a phone call just to say hi, checking in every now and then to see how our friends are doing, getting together for a simple cup of coffee from time to time-- little things that remind our friends that they mean something to us and that we're thinking about them can work wonders when we want to maintain our friendships actively instead of letting them perish.

Sometimes, of course, friendships aren't meant to be.  If I keep trying to maintain a friendship and the other person doesn't seem at all interested in doing so also, then I really need to take the hint and let it go, don't I?  I can spend an awful lot of time and effort to maintain something that really isn't what I thought it was.  But that's okay, too-- sometimes what we think are friendships are simply acquaintanceships, and they don't require nearly as much effort as a true friendship does.  We need to be able to tell the difference between the two.

I would do anything for my friends.  In a culture of hyper-independence, though, these days true friends aren't as willing to ask as much of their friends, so it usually doesn't happen that I give too much.  But I'm willing to be there for them, which as Mary says below is an extremely important aspect of a strong friendship.  We need to be willing to be there for them if we're to have the friendship flourish and thrive.  It's up to our friends, too, to help to maintain the relationship, but we can't deny that much of the responsibility is ours.

Questions to consider:

What are you willing to give your friends?

How do you decide how you're going to try to maintain a friendship?  What kinds of things do you do?

What is the quality of your best friendships?  How might that change, for better or worse?

For further thought:

It is not what you give your friends, but what you are willing to give them, that determines the quality of your friendship.

Mary Dixon Thayer

more thoughts and ideas on friendship

   

  

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