FRIENDSHIP, THE KIND THAT LASTS A LIFETIME. / BEHIND THE BLOG
Throughout my twenties, I’ve learned so much about genuine love, and in that, realizing the importance of cultivating relationships and surrounding yourself with people who get you on a soul level. Over the last month or so, I’ve read a post or two from a couple of my favorite blogs on friendship and how to maintain those relationships in your 30s. Since reading those, I really started thinking about the subject of friendship in general and how much my definition of it has changed over the course of the last ten years. Obviously we all have people in our lives who come and go – seasonal friends, if you will. But, the older I get, the more thankful I am for those few, genuine women in my life who I never have to question. They just show up in every way – and it’s easy. As I’m rounding out my twenties, I’ve not only learned a lot, but I’ve been continually reminded that this is the age + stage of life where a lot of those life-long friendships are cultivated. With this stage comes so many highs and lows – marriage and separations, careers taking off and others changing, some with infertility struggles and others with growing families, house closings and big moves, family issues and even loss. It’s now more than ever that we really need our tribe.
I’ve always been more of a few ‘best’ friends rather than a lot of acquaintances kind of person and those relationships mean everything to me.
For me, I gravitate towards women who are strong because they’ve been broken. The ones that have a story to tell and truly know who they are because that story has shaped them. The ones who will literally run to you when you need them. Women who support me and J without question and genuinely want to best for us. The soft-hearted, but strong-minded. The ones who are the same person in a room of 2 as they are in a room of 200. The ones who will get down on their knees and pray on my behalf. The friend I can simply look at and she knows what I’m thinking. The ones who can go deeper. The ones who you know will defend you and you trust with your whole heart. The ones that understand what unconditional love truly means and prove it.
On that note, I asked four of my closest friends to write a short blurb about what friendship means to them at this stage of life.
ONE. / “Friendship to me is is someone believing the best in you at all times. Someone defending you when you can’t defend yourself. Someone standing in your corner ready to sacrifice on your behalf at any given time. It’s someone who pushes you to be the best version of yourself and is the first to stand and clap for you when you succeed. True friendship is God’s way of reaching down and hugging you at your best, and more importantly at your worst.”
TWO. / “A true friendship is easy. There are so many things in this world that demand stress and force heartache that someone you genuinely care about and want to spend time on should not be one of those things. I want to be the friend that is always there no matter what. Supportive, trustworthy, loyal, and always down for a good cocktail!”
THREE. / “Somewhere along the way there is a shift – from the ties of childhood and the memories of college to actual connection that goes beyond social commitment. Our extra time dwindles as our ability to smell the bullshit heightens, and that’s when we identify with those that will be with us for the long haul. We may not speak every day nor every week, but when conversation happens it matters and it lasts over several cocktails. Those that will drop everything when you call are now able to be listed on one hand and it’s no longer called friendship – it’s called family.”
FOUR. / “Friendship to me has a whole new meaning in this season of life. It’s your gift to pick and choose, build your team member by member knowing the value of the power and bond you share. A true friend loves the imperfect you, the confused you, the wrong you – because that is the real you. All at the same time they celebrate you, cheer for you and show up for you no questions asked. This may not be a big group, but a solid and genuine group that expects nothing more than your company in return.”
They’re pretty amazing, right? No wonder I love them so much. Lastly, as I thought about what I’ve learned about friendship over the last few years, I wanted to share a few of those things with you. __________________________________________________
ONE. / MAKE THE TIME.
We live in a world where information + life updates are at our fingertips, but don’t let the facade of social media be an excuse to not reach out. I’ve learned that a simple phone call or impromptu lunch date is so much more effective. For example, one of my best friends calls A LOT and when we first became friends, it really annoyed me. However, I quickly learned two things – one, that’s her way of showing love. She’s so invested and genuinely cares about what’s happening throughout my day. And two, it’s a lot easier to pick up the phone and have a 30 second conversation (because you’re so involved in each other’s life that’s all it takes) than it is to have a 45 minute conversation and catch a friend up on the last month of your life. The bottom line – making the effort to connect shows how much you care.
TWO. / LOVE WHO THEY LOVE.
When it comes to having a genuine relationship, it’s so important to love who your person loves. With each of my best friends, I love their spouse just as much as I love them. And if they have kids, I love those little ones like they are my own. It’s a package deal. I’ve learned firsthand that a friendship can only go so far if more is not always merrier. When it comes to those friends I’m so invested in, I want every part of them – from the good and the easy, to the messy and the imperfect. With that comes a fierce loyalty to love who they love. When it’s authentic, it’s easy. It strengthens your relationship in a completely new way and creates this beautiful, vulnerable extended family.
THREE. / NEVER LET INSECURITY GET IN THE WAY OF FRIENDSHIP.
While we’re being completely transparent, let’s call it for what it is – women can be difficult at times. And even that is an understatement. I’ve never been one that deals well with making things more complicated than they need to be, but I have learned that judgment, competition, jealously, and little mistruths have no place in friendship. Or any relationship, for that matter. However, what all of those things typically come down to – insecurity. When you genuinely want what’s best for someone, all of those toxic emotions are replaced with selfless love. You don’t even want them to have what you have, you want them to have more. Better, even. Judgement turns into understanding, competition completely dissolves, jealously turns into things you’re allowed to say out loud, and mistruths aren’t given a second thought. Of all people, your friends should support you in every way, big or small, and clap the loudest for you. Never let insecurity get in the way of that. Actions always speak louder than words.
FOUR. / DON’T FORCE IT.
I read a quote a while ago that said “I no longer force things. What flows, flows and what crashes, crashes. I only have the energy for things that we’re meant for me.” I love that for so many reasons, but when it comes to your friends and who you choose to spend your life with, you know without a doubt who your soul connects with. I’ve learned that just because you have a history, doesn’t mean you have a future. We are so responsible for whether or not we choose to pour into one another and at the end of the day, you make time for what you want to make time for. There are too many hardships in life as it is, don’t let your friendships be one of them. Know when to take a deep breath and let it go – sometimes the lesson to be learned is in the inevitable truth. Or, know when to fight like hell for someone who you can’t imagine doing life without.
FIVE. / BE PRESENT FOR THE IN-BETWEEN.
Most days, life is full of lunch dates and popping a bottle of champagne. Endless laughter and sweet conversation. Other days, I don’t know if I can function. I need the friends who will drop everything and run. Breathe for me and cry with me. They’re not only there for the big things, they’re there when I can’t get out of bed. When I need endless prayer. They love me at my best and at my worst. From the life changing days to the small, nameless moments. That type of connection creates a bond that is not easily broken.
Always remember, no harm can ever come from loving people well.
Thanks so much for stopping by, X.
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