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Being a better friend

>I was inspired this week by a blog post I read that challenged women, in particular, to do a better job of understanding each other in each other’s different walks of life. It struck a chord with me because I have friends in various stages of life; single, dating, married, married with kids, single with kids, divorced, divorced with kids….

Every person has their own unique situation and their own life circumstances. No one has a full understanding of another person’s life circumstances and frankly, it seems sometimes that no one cares to try and figure it out. After reading that blog post I had to stop and ask myself, “Do I do a good job of being understanding of other people’s challenges? Do I reach out to my friends even when they don’t reach out to me?”

I was ashamed to answer NO to both questions…at least most of the time. It is so easy sometimes to just hang with the friends who are like me; in a relationship or married and kid free. How can I possibly understand what it is like to have children? How can I possibly understand what it is like to be a SINGLE parent? Well, I could certainly do a better job of offering friendship to my friends who are in that place in their life.

So what if they are busy? So what if I am busy? Does that exempt me from picking up the phone and giving them a call? Does that mean I cannot go to their house when they cannot go out for the evening?

Today I made the first step in a new resolution to be a better friend and to make an effort to understand what life is like outside of the bubble I live in. One of my friends who has children invited me to come watch her daughter’s soccer game. In the past I would have likely declined because my Saturdays are precious time to me. I either need that time to run errands, house clean or simply spend time to Derek if neither one of us is working.

However, I realized that the time requirement would only be about an hour, I loved playing soccer as a kid and I love my friends. I would have time to see Derek when I got home. She was making an effort to reach out to me, which she did not have to do. Was it so hard for me to meet her half way and come to the place she was already going to be? I could see how SHE spent HER Saturdays.

So I went. I am glad I did. It was nice to watch the kids run around, it was nice to see a friend I don’t see often and it was nice to take part in the lives of her children. We may not be as close as we once were, but I will always be there for her and I want her to know that. It isn’t likely that we will ever be walking step by step in life again. However, I don’t think that means that we can’t take a walk in this life together every once in a while.

There aren’t many friends that you can hang onto for a lifetime so when you find one, do everything in your power to understand them, to love them and to reach out to them. Time is precious, but friendship supersedes all time.

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