If there's one thing you need to embrace with friendship it's that it changes constantly. It evolves, and that's true whether you're ready for it or not. Most of the time, this change is good. Change of any sort moves us out of our limited viewpoints into something bigger, more encompassing. You and your friend change and as a result your friendship changes as well.
One of the questions I get a lot is "How can I make our friendship go back?" Some folks want to go back "to normal," or just to "before we each got married" or "before we had kids." But you can't make your friendship be exactly as it was before. That will never happen. You can only embrace whatever it is going now.
I got a question recently from someone whose friend was going through a divorce. She wondered how they could just "go back" to where they were in the their friendship before the divorce happened. Here's my advice on that.
Okay, she didn't remember doing this, but Kim Richards from the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills did something that left a lasting impact on Facts of Life star Lisa Welchel. Welchel was on Watch What Happens Live along with Richards when it was revealed that she had lost all her Facts of Life money and had kids and needed to rent a house, and Richards' husband owned a house and Richards vouched for her and as a result she got to rent the house and put a roof over her kid's heads.
Even if Richards didn't remember doing it, the fact is, Welchel did remember. It left an impact.
While this is Hollywood and a world away from most of us, the thing I took away from it was that it was a simple enough act (to vouch for someone having a hard time) that should inspire us to look for ways we can help out someone we might know (even an acquaintance) going through a hard time. It might be a simple enough gesture that we may not even remember it years later, but the person who needed a little kindness will remember it.
A reader wrote in recently with a question about Christmas gifts:
I recently got married to a woman that has 4 kids. I have 3 of my own.
My parents are uncertain about gift buying for the kids. Do they buy the same amount for all of them equally or less for the "step" grandchildren? With their finances, they would have to skimp on the grandkids in order to be equal with the step-grandkids.
I asked our Etiquette Expert Debby Mayne for her opinion on this. Here's what she said:
"Since children need to learn that no one deserves a gift merely by the fact that they exist, it's fine for the grandparents to purchase what they normally would for their 3 grandchildren.
If I were the grandparents, I would also get something small for the step-grandkids just because it's the nice thing to do, although it isn't necessary. Most children over the age of 5 will understand. If the children are younger, a coloring book or other small toy can be fun to unwrap.
As the relationships between the children and their step-grandparents develop, they might want to do more, but it's completely up to them. It's also a nice gesture to have the step-grandchildren give your parents a little something, plus it helps teach them the value of giving."
Here's more tips from Debby that you might find helpful this time of year:
This question was sent in from the friendship advice form.
Mean girls exist everywhere, from the middle school playground to the coffee shop. They're around when we're kids and even when we grow up and become adults. Mean girl behavior never stops, but you can change the way you respond to it. I've got some tips here.
In the meantime, I'm curious about your experience. Have you ever dealt with a mean girl?
Okay, allow me to pause here and be shocked that it's December already. December? Can that be? How did November go so fast?
Small talk becomes even more important as we get closer to the holidays. Here are some news items that may help you make interesting chit chat with friends.
Mick Jagger is going to be a great grandfather. Allow that to blow your mind a little.
I love these series of illustrations that a wife drew for her hubby in the hospital.
Mario Batali cracks me up. He just bought 200 orange Crocs.
This is so cute! This couple got married 75 years after their first kiss.
I hear from a lot of you that one frustrating thing about dealing with other people (even your friends) is that plans change or people change their minds, but they don't tell you about it. You have to find out because they posted on Facebook or just left you to assume, perhaps because they felt uncomfortable telling you and ended up telling everyone else instead.
It isn't the change of plans or having friends change their minds on what they do that is irritating (and sometimes hurtful), it's the fact that instead of just telling you, they acted weird or stupid or childish and made something that wasn't really a problem into something that became a huge problem.
Then, they got mad because Read More...
Looking for friendship advice? Well of course, we've got lots of it here. To find your way around the friendship site, look to the top where you see the words "Friendship" along with a little house next to it. That's how you can always get back to our home page. The tabs that follow ("making friends" "getting along" and "everyday life") offer a list of articles specific to those areas. Each tab has a list of topics and the articles that more about them.
You can also find things from under categories. You'll find these under the "Browse Topic" area on the left side of the page. They start with "Where to Find Friends" and end with "In Love With a Friend." Click through the categories and you'll see how things are organized.
Some of the hot topics you'll find on the friendship change weekly. They are listed in the upper right under "Must Reads," in the top center (which is currently the article "Websites to Help You Meet Friends") and on the left below the category list.
If so, you might want to check out FriendMatchup.com. The owner, Alexandra Wenzke, moved ten times in eleven years. She knows how hard it is to make friends in a new city, which is why she founded the site. The site is for men and women of any age. They're also growing, so if you're located outside Chicago, you can still sign up. The first 25 people who sign up in a new city get their membership fees waived.
A few years ago we got these turkey plates from Pottery Barn. Aren't they fun? They're silly and always manage to start a conversation when we use them. Plates like this are good if you're having a Friendsgiving where people are trying to get to know one another.
As we celebrate here in the states, I want to wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving. You enrich my life in so many ways. I appreciate your heartfelt messages, questions, and comments, and hope you enjoy your day.
Tomorrow? Take some time to be with your friends, too.
One of my favorite songs ever is "Drops of Jupiter" by Train. I was listening the other day and a line really stayed with me:
"Your best friend always sticking up for you, even when I know you're wrong"
I can really relate to this line, can't you? When a friend gets picked on I feel the need to explain things on their behalf. It isn't always right, but I feel like we forgive little things about our close friends that other people might not forgive simply because we know them better. We get where they are coming from, so behavior that looks "wrong" to other people doesn't seem so bad to us.
Like I said, it isn't always right, but friendship isn't perfect. We can stick up for friends because we just desperately don't want them to be picked on.
Not familiar with the song? Take a listen.
Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net