Lessons learned from 25 years of friendship

photoToday I was able to spend time with a good friend. Because she lives in Orange County, CA and I live in Denver, CO we don’t get to see each other as much as we’d like. We’ve now been friends for over half of our lives. We met on a Sunday morning as we were both being initiated into the 9th grade at Mission Hills Church. It was my first Sunday and by her initiation gift I knew quickly it was not hers.

Trisha was given a youth group phone book with all of the guys phone numbers highlighted in it. I can’t remember what was said, I just remember thinking that this girl was someone I wanted to know. Maybe I just wanted to get the guys’ numbers from her? Who knows… I was given a hanger and Jim, our youth pastor, said, “I hope you hang around.” We’ve been good friends ever since.

Today she pulled out a clear box filled with keepsakes from our high school years. Together we riffled through the contents of the box. We laughed at our hair styles and the clothes we wore. We laughed at my changing hair color and we laughed at memories filled with such good.

Trisha, our friend Kim and I have years of memories under our belts. It is a gift.

Today, as I reflect on my time with Trish and the relationship we’ve had for nearly 25 years I’m so thankful. I’ve learned a lot about friendship through the years of relationship with her. I thought I’d take some time to share a few thoughts on friendship that I’ve learned through my relationship with her.

1. It’s important to show up. Even when there is hurt or neglect, when a friend who is dear to you is hurting you show up. And showing up, changes things.

2. Sometimes your friend needs hours of talking time. Sometimes you do. Let it be what it is. Equality is a life long process not a moment by moment interaction.

3. Laughter is crucial.

4. Honesty is paramount. When there is hurt, talk about it. When there is jealously, confess it. When there is good, shout it. When there is mourning, mourn. When one longs and the other receives, long and rejoice alongside.

5. When you need a certain response from your friend, tell her what you need before you share. It helps. I tend to challenge and invite people to step into the difficult and look for good. One time, Trisha was sharing something painful in life and told me before she even started to share her story that she simply needed me to listen and to feel with her. This completely changed my response and I was so grateful I could give her what she needed, because I knew what she needed.

6. When it counts, always show up, call back and respond.

7. It’s okay to not call or text back or Facebook, or Voxer, or …. sometimes our friends just need to be remembered and it’s okay to just remember them without expectation of hearing anything in return.

8. Hair styles are an important topic of conversation.

9. As are the Grammy’s, the Oscars, the latest hit song, the best and worst dressed and the most recent Youtube sensation. Conversations do not have to be profound, to actually be profound.

10. Give permission to cry, be emotionally messy and sensitive for long periods of time. The arch of one’s life is much bigger than the 6 months or a year of difficulty one might be facing.

11. Never tire of hearing the unmet longings of your friend AND Never let your friend wallow for too long. Listen and invite.

12. Sharpen each other. Don’t be afraid to speak honestly. When your friend asks for your opinion… give it to them honestly, without filters. Speak the truth of the heart.

13. Celebrating is important. Remembering your friend’s spouse and children is a form of remembering and celebrating your friend.

14. Believe in your friend. Believe with your friend. Believe in your friendship.

15. Trust is crucial. Assume the best of your friends. She may forget things or not show up, or not respond how you’d like… extend grace, seek to understand and trust that she loves you.

16. Don’t share the nitty gritty on your blog about your friend… some memories are meant to be shared simply between the two of you.

There it is. A short list of things I’ve learned about friendship from 25 years of friendship with Trisha Lee. As I type, memories and lessons play through my mind as if I were watching a slideshow. Each scene a memory. Each memory a gift. Each gift a lesson. Friends really do add to the palette of life’s color. There are many others I could write this about, but today I am particularly thankful for the color Trish has added to mine.

OH and one more:

17. Never stop being grateful for the gift of relationship with another. No matter how short or long the relationship lasts, it shapes, colors and adds to you. When lives touch, lives change.

As you finish reading this list, who is one person in your life who has added color to your life? What have you learned through your relationship with him or her? Take the time right now, to reach out. Send a card, text, Facebook post, blog, email, skywriting or pigeon carrier and say thank you for the lessons learned. And, take time to share in the comments one thing you’ve learned about friendship through your friends.

One thought on “Lessons learned from 25 years of friendship

  1. Thank you cari, this post really left an impression in my heart, and encourages me to let those that have added color to my life to be reminded. Specifically friendships that have gone by the wayside. You write beautifully!!

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