KEEPING YOUR FRIENDS
“Good friendships are fragile things and require as much care as any other fragile and precious thing.”
--Randolph S. Bourne
Some people know a ton of other people. They have huge Christmas cards, mailing lists, phone contact files, and address books. Sometimes we envy them for all their friends. But sometimes those friends only remain in the phonebook, memories, or photos. People who have "friendship overload" find it hard to hold onto those friends, to keep them as friends, even if they want to. Yet, there are ways to keep the friendships alive, whether your friends are near or faraway. Like a garden, friendships need tending, need time and care.
Stay in touch with your friends as often as you can. For long-distance friendships, you can always call on the phone and talk together. Or you could take advantage of email. If there is an event, like birthdays or Christmas, or even if you just want to say "hi," a card works just fine. Online cards are always available on the net. For those friends who are just across town or at school, keep in touch with them by mailing actual cards, letters, and notes. These are some of the best ways to communicate -- and don't forget that handwritten messages tend to be more appreciated because they're more personal.
After you've gotten in touch with them, some may respond and you may get the opportunity to see them personally. Try to spend your time with your friends in a special, meaningful, interesting way, especially for those friends you haven't seen for a long time. Taking a long walk, strolling through a park, or watching a movie are easy ways to have fun. Find a quiet, special place for quiet conversation and catching up. Listening to each other's problems is a way to keep your friendships meaningful, and to reassure each other in both good and bad times. But beware: sometimes spending time with your friends becomes boring when you end up talking about each other's problems all day. And remember not to call on your friends for their attention only when you have a big problem or want something from them. That's not the only time you should see or contact your friends. Remember, friendship is a two-way street. If you want them to listen to you, it is reasonable for you to listen to them. Maybe that way you can help a friend over a difficult patch in their lives.
Friendship also means responsibility. They are not friends just because you need them during difficult times, or just to have more gifts or cards arrive at Christmas time; they are friends because you like, you love and you appreciate them. If you are a true friend, you will always make yourself available, especially during their hardest, most difficult times.
Friends play an important role in a person's life. Some say friends are an extension of your family; although you are not blood-related, you share a deep relationship and common interests with each other.
It pays us to treat our friends well -- they're worth more than wealth or property.