I really can't believe how quickly the weeks pass! ... Again today I'm linking up with Kate Motaung for Five Minute Friday.
Today's word prompt is FRIEND.
This morning I had a coffee date with a friend. We don't get together one-on-one all that often, actually, but when we do it's really meaningful. One reason is that we have quite a lot in common. We both have certain challenging situations in our lives that are similar -- and we both realize that the "solutions" to these situations aren't as simple or cut-and-dried as someone on the outside looking in might think.
On the outside looking in ... that's the difference, I think. It's one thing to observe a friend's situation from a distance and offer solutions or critique. It's another to be on the inside.
A real friend does her best to look at your situation from the inside: to go beyond observation to participation.
In my broader experience, though, problems can arise when you think you've been invited to be a participant -- an insider -- but you're really expected to be more of an audience member. So I think it's important to be candid with our friends about when we just want them to receive what we've said and give no response besides affirmation, and when we want real involvement, pushback, or advice.
This past month I became part of a book launch team for Lisa-Jo Baker's book Never Unfriended: The Secret to Finding and Keeping Lasting Friendships (due to be released on April 4). I've been reading the book and loving the author's honesty, humility, humour, and helpful encouragement. One of her guiding principles is expressed in the first chapter:
Instead of asking, “Who is my friend?”
this book will be asking, “How can I be a friend?”
Maybe one way is to be willing not just to remain on the outside looking in, but to share in the other person's life and feelings from the inside.