Thank God For Friends!
So, unlike TGIF, TGFF is used solely during quarantine. It’s for when you have Zoom calls with your friends until the wee hours of the morning. It’s for when you get texts just because. It’s for when you get letters in the mail addressed to you.
It’s for when your friends come through for you, like never before.
True, I haven’t spoken to all of my friends, but I’ve spoken to a good portion of them. And seeing or hearing every single one of them has truly made a difference.
So @ all my friends, you’re the best and I’ll see you again soon.
When you have something or someone that you love, you want to dote on them. Spoil them. Treat them right.
Like if you have kids, you want to make them happy. If you have a partner, you want to make him/her happy. Even if you have a dog, you want to make him/her happy.
So, you feed them. You buy them nice things. You spend time with them.
But you end up overfeeding them. Buying them too many things so you’re out of money. Spending too much time with them.
If you really loved them, you would want them to be healthy. And do what’s best for them.
And what’s best for them is not always what they want all the time. Sometimes, it’s more about what they need.
It can be tricky. It can hurt. And it can feel like you’re not loving them as much as you should.
But if you’re doing what’s best, you’re doing it right.
I grew up surrounded by books. I became an English major, and I’m even trying to write my own.
This weekend, I spent a whole night discussing books with a great friend. A whole night.
And it all comes down to one turning moment in my life: my parents read to me. I wrote my college essay on the beauty of my Dad coming up to my sister and me’s bedroom and bringing the book we picked together from the library only days before. Whether it was Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew, my Dad always read to us at least a little every night to give our mom a break. And when our eyes started to flutter close, he would check on us to see if we were still listening. And the next night, he would inevitably have to go back and reread parts that we had missed.
I can’t say anything about my math skills. Maybe if I had rehearsed my timetables at night, I would be better. But I can say I’m a good reader.
So, if you do anything for your kids, make sure you read to them. They won’t forget it, and neither will you.
This is your friendly reminder…to be friendly.
Yes, everyone out there is fighting a hard battle, and blah blah blah. But that’s not the most important reason to be nice to other people. Actually, why do you need a reason? This should be your default mode.
And you can come and tell me that you had a hard day, and life isn’t going the way you expect it to, and it was one time, but I’m going to reply: you had a choice. You always have a choice.
And don’t misunderstand me. When I say nice, I’m not referring to a doormat. I’m saying kind, generous, and friendly. Even when it’s hard to. Even when you’d rather not. Even when it’s not important.
Be a friend as often as possible. Because we all depend on each other.
I believe we live in an abundant universe. Where anything you need, you can have. As long as you work hard and ask for it. That’s right–You have to ask for it.
You can’t expect Miss Cleo to read your mind all of the time!
We do everything to ensure our place in life, except ask for it to be so. And really that’s the most important step. To set your intentions.
Because I didn’t have a great day yesterday, my friends showered me with love and emotions. I didn’t ask them to, but they did anyway. And I’m so appreciative of that.
But I would have had a better day almost immediately if I had just asked for help when I needed it. My friends are great spiritual guides who can sense a disturbance in my force. But they shouldn’t have to. I should ask them when I need something. Pride can be a hard beast to rein, but do it anyway.
The important thing isn’t to have a lot of friends. It’s to have ones that will be there when you ask them to. And yes, sometimes you won’t have to ask. But more times, you will and should. Everyone likes to be needed after all.
Tonight, one of my best friends met me for dinner. We have this thing where every few weeks we just meet up and run down the same tracks of conversation that we always do. And we go to the same place and we order the same drinks, and we catch up.
And there’s something beautifully comfortable about that. I can count on her to make me feel better, to listen. And I can count on her to fill me in on every detail of her life so that I feel closer to her even when I’m not.
So I’m not suprised when I start waxing philosophical (like really hard) about life and I’m going on and on about my views on the world, which should make me incredibly vulnerable and make me feel crazy, when she says in the most admiring tone; “I love you.” And we laugh because we get it. We get each other. And in the face of everything, we know that we could say anything to each other, and we know we’d meet again in a few weeks for dinner, to do it all over again.
And I wish that for all my readers, all my friends, and everyone I meet. Not that you have a friend to have dinner with, although that’s nice. But a friend who understands you on a truly deeper level. Who is fully prepared to hear your opinion on the world and love you not in spite of it, but because of it. Because you get it, and so do they.
Because a full heart is so much better than a full belly.
If you could be better than you are today, would you do it? Would you try to be a faster, stronger, and all around better person if giving the opportunity to transform?
Of course you would. Because that’s the human condition. We all want to be better than we are. Why else would we get up in the morning but to see what we could accomplish?
Now, what if I told you that to achieve this better self you had to give up something incredibly vital to you. Would you still do it?
Consider this, for example. You want to get healthy. Fine. So, you go to the gym a bunch of times during the week and you eat healthy and you feel great. But all that gym time cuts into your sleep so you’re staying in on weekends and not seeing your friends or grabbing dinner with them because they eat garbage. What do you do then? Stay the course, and leave your friends? Were they ever your friends if they let you just prioritize the gym over them? Or do you ditch the new you?
I don’t know the answer here. But my guess is that the thing you want most is your new priority. If that’s hanging out with your friends or the gym or whatever. Whatever you can’t live without should be your priority, even if that means you can’t be your best self.
Because, yes, you can pressure carbon into diamonds, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should.
Despite what the movies tell you, it truly sucks when you don’t “fit in” with a group of people. For whatever reason, you just don’t vibe or click, and it can make you wonder what’s wrong with you.
And to that I say: nothing. Nothing is wrong with you. You just haven’t found your tribe.
Because the people who you fit in with are dying to meet you.
Listen, I’m an expert on this one. It’s not that I’ve been bullied or anything like that; it’s only I’ve been a weirdo my whole life looking for other weirdos to weird out with. I have what I like to call Lady GaGa syndrome: even when I’m asked to do a “normal” task, I need to add my own spin. (Which turns into doing a full on smoky eye when showing up to a casual event or carrying around a black umbrella for a day at the beach.)
So, trust me when I say that there’s someone looking for your weirdness right now and who fits in perfectly with you.
And by the way, if you don’t fit in, it’s not always because you’re weird. Sometimes it’s just because you don’t go with the flow, or aren’t willing to adapt to the mainstream. Because a lot of people do that to fit in with people they probably wouldn’t get along with in the first place (I’m looking at you, entire population of people who bought a unicorn frap knowing full well it tasted awful.)
And that’s okay too. It’s okay to want to fit in. As long as you aren’t pretending to be someone you’re not.
At the end of the day, if you still can’t find anyone to fit in with no matter how hard you try, you should be just you. In fact, scratch that. Just be you all the time. And you’ll find your tribe eventually. Hang in there. Or come hang out with me.
I have an important announcement to make:
You don’t have to be friends with the people who are in the closest proximity to you.
(I know, I know. In other obvious news, your waitress doesn’t actually care how you’re doing today.)
But seriously. Just because you’re rubbing shoulders with your classmates, roommates, coworkers, or clients, all the time doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be friends. And you don’t have to be.
I mean, is it nice? Yeah, of course it is. It’s great to have a support system wherever you are. It’s so wonderful to have a “work wife” and a “bff” as your roommate. But some people aren’t going to check off every box for you, and that’s okay.
Take me, for example. I’m very, very blessed to have a loving and supportive and tight knit family. But I know people whose family doesn’t fill the love needs that they have and they need to go outside that unit. They need to go to their friend groups or their coworkers or what have you. Because sometimes, the people that you’re supposed to “be friends” with don’t always work out.
And while it’s a little less convenient to go out and throw all of your personality traits outside of your immediate area (sometimes literally) and see which of your acquaintances “sticks” (aka, “who sticks around”), these friendships will be more meaningful when you have more in common than that you share a house or a cubicle or a classroom with them.
Be unafraid to look past the obvious to find a true friend. You’ll be surprised at whose looking for you too.
As anyone who has done anything in life (including starting a blog) can tell you, everyone looks up to someone else who is doing something similar.
Basically, everyone has people in their lives to influence and inspire them. I, too, have many of these people. My family, my fiancée, and Shakira, to name a few.
But also, our family friend, Neil. He passed away unexpectedly a few years ago. He had a beautiful and lovely family. He was full of life, an absolute shooting star, who burned brightly in any gathering. Hilarious, insightful, and generous in every way.
But the best part?
He had a day job, like the best (and the rest) of us. And yet, somehow, he was able to dedicate time to his passion: music. He wrote his own and performed covers at local performance venues. In all of the hustle and bustle of normal life, he not only found time to do what he loved but he did it for others.
Today is his birthday. And this day of all days, I wanted to take the time to remind everyone that if you do what you love, then you are very, very lucky. But if you have to work a day job, you can still do what makes you happy. If you’re extremely determined and very special, like Neil, you can bring joy to others by bring joy to yourself.
Be the person you want to be, but be more like Neil. I know I want to be.