Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King have been best friends since their early 20s. In the years they have been friends, their lives have changed greatly. There have been men, fame, kids, and all the typical life events you'd expect, each with the potential to wreak havoc on a friendship. Yet their bond is still strong.
Here are a few things we can all learn from Oprah and Gayle when it comes to friendship.
Take Time for Communication
No one is busier than Oprah these days, with a hit talk show, magazine, and even a new television network. Yet she says she makes time to speak with Gayle over the phone nearly every single day. Some friends have a hard time even returning email! Not only is the phone call necessarily to keep these two in touch with the goings on in their life, Oprah credits it with keeping her out of therapy. She's said, "The therapy I didn't have and don't need is because of my thousands and thousands of hours on the phone with Gayle."
Bring Your Friends Up With You
When Oprah's success grew, she wasn't about to leave Gayle behind. Oprah included Gayle in segments for her show, and even gave her a job for her magazine, O. Including friends in your success helps show them that you are still the same person on the inside and that you appreciate the friends you have.
While few people have the level of achievement Oprah does, there are friends who seem to drop their pals the minute they get a new boyfriend, meet other friends, or get a new job. While you may not be able to offer your friend a job, you should continue to include them in the next phase of your life, whatever that may be. If you have a new job, for example, make time to meet your friend out for dinner and catch up. If you're in a new relationship, take the time to email and call and see how your friend is doing.
Have Respect for Each Other
In a January 2011 interview with Piers Morgan from CNN, Oprah revealed that there are only a handful of people she really trusts. When you're famous, finding someone who appreciates you for who you are is difficult. What's more, finding people you can trust (and who won't sell you out or spill secrets) is almost impossible. Gayle is included in the people she trusts most.
While the average person won't have a friend sell them out with the tabloids (at least, we hope not!), there are plenty of opportunities for friends to betray you. Gossip, making fun of you behind your back, or secretly delighting in your misery are just a few things people do to break the trust in a friendship. True friends respect each other, plain and simple.
Appreciate the Differences in Your Life
Friendships can take a hit when one person gets married or has children while the other doesn't. In Oprah's case, she remained single, but in a committed relationship with Stedman Graham, while Gayle married and had children. These are changes that could have thrown a wrench into their relationship. Instead, they are still best friends.
There's no doubt that sometimes friendships change. Perhaps you won't spend as much time with your friend once she marries, or get to hang out like you used to once she has children. However, if you nurture your friendship it should still thrive even though you are both in different places in your life. Don't let the fact that your friend's life has changed end your friendship.
Be Happy For Your Friend!
Gayle could be really jealous of Oprah's success. Can you imagine having a best friend that rises to fame like Oprah has? Sometimes friendships fall victim to frenemy behavior, where one pal secretly hopes for the downfall of the other. The more success one friend has, the worse the other friend thinks of her.
This is also true if the successful friend becomes arrogant over her success. Maybe she puts down her friend in an effort to build her ego. These types of situations destroy friendships.
Follow Oprah and Gayle's example. Be happy for your friend when she has success! Celebrate her victories and she will do the same for you. Your lives will never be totally equal, but that's OK. Life isn't a competition.