Who are your friends?Oct 04, 2022
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Most of us have been touched by someone with breast cancer. Studies show that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their life. If you would like to support the fight against breast cancer, look for an event in your community to participate in or find other opportunities to help contribute.
Who are your friends? Are they all really still friends of yours? The length of time you’ve known someone is not more important than whether they are around for you now.
I have a couple of old friends that I may be in touch with on a yearly basis that feels like we’ve never been apart. But we have been apart and missed out on many personal milestones – challenges and celebrations. We can talk for hours, but then go our separate ways again. We can talk about deeper things knowing that we don’t have much time but are comfortable cutting to the chase with deep topics. No judgment.
And I have old friends that may “like” one of my posts on FB, just a nudge saying – they remember when. That’s not a whole lot of involvement, but a nod of acknowledgment.
I do have an old friend from high school that I am in touch with periodically, but don’t share much personal stuff with. We grew apart in different directions. I’m not sure how I would become a part of that “other” life of hers.
When I was growing up, my family moved geographically a few times so I don’t have friends from grade school on up like some of you may. I also moved away from my family to get married and later realized how much I missed out on my siblings starting families and milestones in their kids’ lives.
Now I’m in a position to have long-distance friends with people back in Illinois and me in North Carolina. We email, text, call, and meet on zoom classes. These were the friends I was involved with for the longest portion of my life.
I notice that all three types of friends have their own friends and tribes that I’m not a part of. There’s nothing unusual about that except knowing life goes on without you in that part of their lives.
Have you ever taken the time to evaluate the types of friends you do or do not have? I don’t mean that in a bad way, but sometimes when you feel something lacking, it may be the friend you need now. So what’s this reminiscing all about?
Finding a new friend takes time and effort. Who wants to hear that? It also means stepping out of your comfort zone to reach out to someone you don’t know. I’ve read that it takes spending 200 hours with someone to establish a firm friendship. That’s 200 hundred day-to-day hours in good times and not-so-good times. That’s sometimes agreeing with each other hours and sometimes disagreeing hours. That’s hours you are available to spend with each other - now, currently, with life as it is today.
What friends can you call on to be available for you when you need them to be? Who do you feel like you will be available for if they call on you? Do you have a friend or a tribe for you now? Who is involved with your daily life/activities?
Even though making new friends seems hard sometimes, that doesn’t mean you are friends with just anyone who comes your way. Right? You’ve met people that you don’t feel good about or comfortable with. Or that it would take way too much effort to get along with.
What do you look for in a friend/tribe? These would be my “go to” characteristics realizing that friends are human too and may not fit all the “requirements” all the time.
- Listens well
- Sense of humor
Where can you find friends?
Believe it or not, there are many finding friend apps. Just ask Oprah.
You need to start by interacting with people around you wherever you are. Reach out, ask a question, or make a suggestion. Notice who’s around you at work, in your neighborhood, or at the grocery store.
Join a class, a gym, or an organization. Get suggestions from people you do know. One of my neighbors down here joined a woman’s Meetup group, started playing pickleball, and took a crochet class. She volunteers at a food bank. I’ve talked to people while walking the dog in the neighborhood, joined the local chapter of a national organization, joined a gym, and made plans to go places with my neighbor. With Covid we established many online relationships, adding back new in-person friends is different.
All this reaching out isn’t easy.
When you find someone you’d like to get to know better – keep reaching out. Do you want to go shopping? For a hike? To the Y? Cook out hotdogs? Coffee?
Then ask yourself - what kind of friend am I?
Check out my book, Women Supporting Women – Redefining Friendship, Tribe, and Community, for more ideas about who your friends are and where to find new ones.
Here's my blog on friends as community.
#friends #tribe #community #health #breath
You are amazing! Who do you know that is friendship material?
All my best,
Please share this blog with someone you care about.
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About Nancy Whitman
Nancy Whitman is a certified yoga therapist (C-IAYT), yoga teacher, and author. She specializes in empowering you to improve your well-being. Nancy is registered with the Yoga Alliance as ERYT-500 and is certified through ACE as a personal trainer, health coach, and fitness instructor. She has a Master's degree in Education, MaEd.
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