I've talked about this before. When you agree to sign up for something (anything), show up and do what you said you were going to do. This is being impeccable with your word (for those of you familiar with the Four Agreements) and also just something a good friend will do. Or, to put it more bluntly, something reasonable that you should do no matter who you agree to do it for (family, strangers, acquaintances, etc.)
I think we all agree to things at times when we're busy and we honestly think we want to do them but when the time comes for it to happen... we just skip it.
This behavior not only makes us look bad, it puts others in bad positions, too. You'll never know how, perhaps a year down the road, you will see or talk with someone that remembered you because you failed to show up when you said you were going to. Is that the way you want to start a friendship?
It's always interesting to me how rivals can become friends. I don't think it's unusual, especially when you have two rivals, or competitors, at the top of their game. They both share a passion for one specific thing, and even though they may be competing against each other, they have this shared interest that looms large between them.
Bill Gates and Steve Jobs certainly had that kind of rivalry, but they respected each other. Eventually that respect turned toward friendship. I think theirs is a good example of how different people can add a different element of friendship to your life.
Gates says of Jobs: "He and I, in a sense, grew up together." They were close in age and "kind of naively optimistic and built big companies."
They were very aware of each other, they competed in the business world, and were rivals. And yet, they obviously respected one another. Gates said "The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come. I will miss Steve immensely."
I love Twitter on Fridays because that's when the #FridayReads hashtag trends. I'm always on the lookout for new books that people love, which is one reason I ask you all to share your favorite books as well.
I like to alert you to books that can improve your friendships, too. Some of your favorites here are MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche, and Toxic Friends by Susan Shapiro Barash. Did you know that you can write reviews on those books here? Let others know what you think.
But you'd be surprised at how many books that aren't "how to's" or even nonfiction works can teach you about friendship. For instance, I recently talked about The Four Agreements, and how you can apply those concepts to friendship.
And is there anything better than hearing about how real people (even when they're famous) deal with, think of, and handle friends? To that end, I've also suggested five great memoirs with strong lessons on friendship.
Many of you prefer to just read for enjoyment, and as if there's a lesson in there somewhere? Great. Most of all, though, you just want a good story. Well how about these ten novels that showcase friendship stories?
Sometimes a subject not specifically about friendship can also help you be a better friend. For example, these five books on happiness can help you be more content in life in general, and as a result you might want to figure out how to make your friendships happier or how to meet a wide variety of new people.
Don't forget to share your choices on Twitter, also.
I don't think it's so much the end of a friendship that bothers us sometimes (because we realize there was a problem of some sort) but when a friendship ends and we just didn't see it coming. We ask ourselves all kinds of questions about what happened. Why? What did I do?
We might even wonder if we'll ever find another friend like them. And while sometimes friendships do end by surprise, I also think there are times when it's more common for friendships to end than others. Here are a few of those times.
I love when you guys respond to our calls for feedback or when you share your issues in our forum. This helps me write the types of articles you really want to read, and also helps each one of you. We all learn and grow from people sharing their frustrations and successes with friendship. It's something we're always trying to be better at and figure out.
Recently one comment from a reader really caught my attention. I think this is another lesson in the making, and wanted to share. On our article about having no friends, Roxane said:
"I feel like I do many of the things the author suggests: I say yes when I'm invited to lunch; I reach out to others. Last year, I was very intentional about reaching out to others to start friendships and it worked---if I was the one initiating events or if I was the one suggesting we get together. Otherwise, these people would never text or reach out to me. I finally gave up."
I agree it can be exhausting when you're always the one that has to make that initial phone call. I feel this myself with friends. Why am I always the one to see what they're up to? But it happens. There are probably friends who feel as if they're the ones that do this with you.
The point is, focus on the benefits you're getting from friendship, rather than on the fact that you're the one that had to make the call.
Another Monday and I'm feeling reflective. What can we do to be more connected with the people we have in our lives, like our coworkers, neighbors, and acquaintances? So often you ask me about meeting new friends, but I think there are probably a few folks around the parameter of your life who are just waiting for an invitation to get some coffee. Meet them somewhere for an hour and listen to their story. Will they be a good friendship fit? You might need to hang out with them again or might know right away.
While you're having coffee, don't forget to make small talk. Here are some news items I found of interest that may help you make conversation.
- A cure for grey hair?
- Eat bacon and live past 100? Well, it worked for this woman.
- Neil Patrick Harris will host the Tony awards.
- We all have bad days, but this river guide who was swallowed by a hippo had a really bad day. The thing is? He lived to tell about it.
- Here's some good news: two identical twins get identical honors. Love this story!
- You'll love reading about this pen pal friendship.
- The spire atop the new One World Trade Center.
You'll never know when you're going to meet a new friend, but wouldn't it be great if it happened while you were learning a new hobby? Friendships formed around hobbies can last for years as you both learn and grow in your new passion. What's more, the hobby gives you an immediate commonality that you can both share.
Think it can't happen? Susan Stratoti and Ellen Crawford first met in a class about quilting back in 1990. Their friendship has lasted 22 years! What's more they were able to showcase their beautiful quilts at the West Bridgewater Public Library. They talk more about why they enjoy the hobby of quilting here, so check it out.
Have you ever met a friend because of a new hobby? Tell us.
Fill in the blank! How would you finish the line "Friends are..."
You tell me!
You tell me!
Related: Quotes About Friendship
Have you ever loaned a friend money? Take our poll. (Check all that apply.)
I caught an interesting article about teens and driving that suggests that friends (and the peer pressure that comes with them) can be a big influence on teen driving safety. Namely, behaviors such as texting or using social media while driving.
The study said:
"When driving alone, 95 percent of the 2,065 young drivers interviewed admitted texting or e-mailing. That dropped to 32 percent with friends in the car and 7 percent in the company of parents."
Huge drop on dangerous behaviors when other friends were in the car. Perhaps this means teens are more aware of the dangers and don't want to be responsible for harming their friends, or perhaps it's just the nagging from a friend about being safe. Either way, it shows how much our friends can influence us in a positive way.
Now, this study does suggest that teens need to be better at protecting their own safety. Why do they feel comfortable texting and driving when alone in the car? Do they crave the conversation? Do they feel like it's okay because "no one can see them" doing it? This needs to be addressed, and we need to stress just how bad this is for teens.
However, let's also take some good from this research, that friendships are important to our safety in more than just the usual ways. (Here's some more surprising ways friends can help you.)