13 July 2011

The one with some thoughts on friendship.

thoughts on friendship

Last month my friend Ashley and I went to a small jazz concert in Georgetown. We had just recently seen Midnight in Paris and were totally in the mood to enjoy some Cole Porter. 

The night was so hot, and we didn't think to bring drinks or chairs. Ashley is such a good friend, though - never one complaint. We spread out my pashmina on the grass and ended up having a wonderful evening.

Dumbarton House

jazz in the park

During the month of June my happiness project focus was friendships. Truthfully, this has been a weird year for friendships. Earlier, my closest friendship of 4 years abruptly ended. I was by no means innocent, but I did try to salvage the relationship, while she wanted nothing to do with it. Now, looking back, I can see it was for the best. I once read a quote - "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." (- Jim Rohn) I'm happy to remove negative energy from my life, and make room for the kind of people I want to be more like.

I also left a firm filled with many friends to work at a small company made up of older men and women. Friendships have suddenly stopped being convenient. They take intention. It means taking up precious hours in our day to plan and coordinate meetings, but I think we could all agree that communion with friends is always worth the effort.

During June, I had 3 friendships suddenly rekindle. In each of the friendships, we had drifted apart for different reasons (travel, jobs, marriage). As each relationship was restored, it surprised me how effortless it was (Becks, if you read this, I'm totally talking about you!). And here is something that got me thinking - While I do agree that friendships take work, I think there needs to be an organic quality to them. I don't like forced friendships. Just because I have a lot of common interests with someone doesn't mean we will be bosom buddies. (Points for Anne of Green Gables reference!)

While June was a huge success, I did totally strike out once. I met a girl at a party and thought she was so interesting. We seemed to hit it off so I gave her my email. Still haven't heard from her. Maybe she's just super busy, or maybe it's not meant to be. I'll have to wait and see.

So I think I've written enough. Let me turn it over to some other people - On Monday night, I asked Twitter, "If you could give one piece of advice for starting or maintaining friendships what would it be?" I was blown away by the response...

(Click the photo for the author's twitter or blog)

that simple


be intentional



Twitter Wisdom:
  • Brandy: they require effort. Just like romantic relationships- friendships need effort and time put in by both sides to be successful.
  • Kate: put in what you hope to get out.
  • Kara: be honest! Honest friends are the most cherished kind in my book.
  • Lisa: as with many -ships, open and honest communication.
  • Elisabethnever say anything about your friends behind their back that you wouldn't be willing to say to their face; don't gossip.
  • Ashleyput yourself out there and initiate things with someone you'd like to know better. It's scary, but worth it.
  • Caitlin: make time for your friends just as you do for a new romance. Communicate and offer love, support, and constructive criticism.
  • Amy: i would say: Don't keep score (i.e. if you want to be friends, don't worry about who called who, etc.) & reciprocate! If someone shares something with you, share back. If someone initiates plans, try & do the same. Be open. :)
  • Ashlee: friendship isn't effortless. It takes effort. Constant effort.
  • Mariastay honest. and treat your friend how you want to be treated.
  • Cesarnever hesitate a tiny message, it can go a long way.
  • Serena: be willing to argue it out.
  • Daniellesay what my best friend just said to me "I am never going to judge you, whatever you choose. I stand by your side. I'll help you with whatever you need help with and give you my opinion, but I will never judge you." Also...call often and let them know how much you love and appreciate them. When you spend time with your friends, really listen...pay attention to their accomplishments and challenges.
Wow...I think I follow some pretty smart people on Twitter. :) 

What friendship advice do you have?

That is all.

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  1. i was also in a similar situation as you back in the spring. i tried talking to my friend, but i kept getting no answer. when it all first happened, i felt bad for just letting the relationship go, but now reading the Jim Rohn quote, i think it was almost for the better. there was a lot of negative energy coming from that relationship, and honestly, it's been freeing to get away from that. i really enjoyed this post - thanks for sharing! you are awesome :)

  2. I've been in similar situations with the abrupt loss of a close friendship. Part of my issue in the past has been that I have sought out people I could "fix" if that makes sense, and often as a result the friendship ended up being really intense and ending quicker than I would've liked. Now that I'm out of college I'm slowly starting to form other friendships, some with people I've never met in person, that I think are much healthier.

    Thanks for asking this question and for making me think. I love the quote. I like to think about what the average of my husband and dog are. :) <3

  3. i'm so sorry about your long time friendship ending. my best friend (and maid of honor!) and I had a hard time shortly after I got married. I don't know if it was the jealousy, or the inconvenience for her, but I saw a lot of things I was blind to. Marriage and growing up forces you to have a perspective you didn't know was there. It was hard, heartbreaking, and i still cry when i think of it or bring it up with people. However, I also rejoice in the happiness I've still found and the friendships I've been blessed with.

    The best thing you can do to yourself is surround yourself with people that love you.

  4. Yay! Thanks for the quote Ashley. Between you and Katie's blog redesign I may be qualifying as quasi-famous :)

    In all seriousness though, all of your points (and those in the comments / twitter) are excellent pieces of advice!

  5. I understand where you are coming from, Ashley. Friendships are hard! But I suppose anything worth anything requires work. One of my tips is show up. Show up on the phone when a friend calls, show up to her party, show up to that coffee date. I work very hard not to cancel on friends. I agree that friendships can happen organically, but I also think that sometimes people need a little push. I have sometimes found that with some of my friends, I am glad I pushed a little because they did not have the courage to seek me out. So, I am glad I sent that email or Tweet or whatever because now I have so many great and supportive friends. We should have a blog meet up sometimes because I think we would be great friends. :)

  6. I'm sorry to hear about your broken friendship Ashley. I have also endured a friendship breakup over the last year and it was SO hard for me to accept the fact that we basically weren't meant to be friends anymore. However, that experience truly opened my eyes to what friendship means to me personally, which has been a good thing. I have moved on to better, stronger, healthier friendships and I thank God every day for that! You have been such a good online friend to me, and I can only imagine that your friends are very lucky to have you in their lives!

  7. Oops. Sorry, hit "post" too fast... I have something more to say ;)

    I definitely think friendship requires mutual effort, but also the willingness to reach out. Again and again. Friendships have ups and downs, like life itself, but if you're true friends, you know you can always call one another.

  8. My husband and I moved 1000 miles away from our home just over a year ago. My husband's very good at making strong friendships quickly, but I've never been good at that - and because where we live now is completely different from where we come from, it's even more difficult to meet people who have similar interests (especially when you have two very young kids so you can't really be very spontaneous).

    I think the ability to communicate with each other is obviously really important, but the strongest friendships I've had in the past were ones where we were also comfortable being silent together - playing video games, going for walks and just observing everything around us, creating things together. That's the kind of friendship I long for again. Forcing conversation with people I don't have much in common with, about things I don't much care about gets exhausting...

  9. Surround yourself with the people who make you smile. :)

  10. first - i'm also from northern virginia! yay for that! my parents moved down to c'ville when i was in college, but yay for virginia no matter where in the state you might be. secondly, my best friend, who i didn't think was my cup of tea in the frist year of grad school, randomly reached out to me during our summer internships because we were both in nyc and she was lonely and didn't want to spend the fourth together. i thought it was random but of course was like - sure, come hang out! and thus began our long and wonderful friendship, and i will be a bridesmaid for her in march. she is such a dear, dear friend to me, and it all started from one piece of advice her mom gave her - "to have a friend, you have to be a friend." when she was debating reaching out to me her mom said this to get her to realize that taking the first step would cause me to take the second step and so forth, and, had she not said this we may not be friends today. so i always think of that when i think "oh that person needs to call me" or "i wish i saw her more often". be the friend, rather than waiting for them, and eventually they will always follow.

  11. *didn't want to spend the fourth alone, i mean.

  12. I agree that friendship needs mutual effort, and it's not easy to keep up for many time. It's sad too lose a friendship, but sometimes it just come back to your life. You just need time to be ready for it and meanwhile enjoy what you have with others. Thanks for sharing the quote!


  13. Love this post! I feel like I'm learning new things about friendship all the time and I keep thinking, "Shouldn't I have figured this out in elementary school?" But I guess it's always a learning process.

  14. Oh, how I love this. Friendships have been a struggle for me this past year or so. I think it's important not to settle. I found myself hanging out with people just because it was something to do, but they didn't make me feel good about myself. Some people will never mature or grow out of their catty, competitive tendencies.. sadly. And I'm such a "nice" person I just took it for a long time. Now, I've learned to tell people "no." I don't go out as often, but I'm so much happier.

    I also hung around a lot of girls who were dating/married to some of my husband's friends and ultimately cut some of them out, too. It was hard trying to make my husband understand that it wasn't that I didn't want to be friends with them, I just didn't want to spend much time with them anymore. I never asked my husband to stop hanging out with them, but I had to for my own good.

    So, my advice is to focus on those who uplift and support you. A good friend should never make you feel insecure.

    I'm sorry your friendship didn't work out, but you know what they say about when a door closes. :) And I'm so glad to know that other people go through this, too.

  15. Thank you for this post. My best friend of two years and I just "broke up", for lack of better words. It was weird how it ended-- and I've been really hurting by it. I REALLY like that first quote though. PS I'm following you on Twitter now!

  16. What an amazing post. I was in a similar situation a few years ago. My best friend and I were inseperable and even went to college together. While there, I decided to join a sorority and she thought I was trying to make new friends that would take her place. I tried so many times to salvage what was left, but she wanted nothing to do with me. This was 7 years ago and I still have days where I think about it and how seperate our lives are. I'm glad you wrote about this because it makes me feel better to know that things like this just happen and that it's okay.

  17. Love this! Friendships are so important, and too often, not given the attention and thought that they deserve. I had a fight with my best friend earlier this year, and for awhile it seemed that we would both just let the friendship fade, but instead, we worked through it and fought for the friendship. Now we are stronger than ever! And it feels so great to know that we both valued each other enough to work things out.

    I am glad that you have new friendships blossoming. : )



  18. I love this post! All of these quotes are spot on!

    I can relate with falling out of close friendships as time goes on. After high school, I started weeding out negative people in my life, and it's unfortunate that a few of them were some of the closest friends I've ever had. It's important to have close friends but it's more important that these friendships are healthy :)

  19. Excellent advice. Friendships aside from your family and significant other are extremely important, and should never be take for granted - not even for a second! I started missing my girlfriends, especially my best friend when I realized I had stopped making time for them and becoming too wrapped up in my personal (love) life. The relationships I have with my girl friends are like none other and I really need them. Friendships are one of the most valuable possessions in life!

  20. I loved midnight in paris! I saw it for my birthday :)


  21. I maintain that female friendships in your 20's and 30's are incredible difficult. I agree with you about needing that "spark" but it's lovely when you work on friendships and are blessed by the results.

    Lovely post, lovely girl.

  22. Such a rad post and what i needed to read tonight. I am probably not the best at keeping friends. I am an introvert and VERY independent and talking on the phone is my least favorite thing ever, but it hit me this week that if I want to keep my friends I have to step out of my comfort zone and call them and let them know I care! I posted a link to this post on my twitter! I hope that is okay!

  23. This post couldn't have come at a better time because I feel like I'm in your position (with regards to the 4yr friendship ending). I've been friends with someone since 10th grade and I honestly thought we'd be best friends forever but now I'm not so sure. We barely talk, we don't hang out unless it's with a group and honestly I'm not sure I want to try and salvage it given the circumstances. It sucks because sometimes things just run their course. Removing toxic people from your life is absolutely necessary if you want piece of mind.

    hah sorry for the rambling! this just hit a personal nerve ;)

  24. I loved this post so much! You wrote it so artfully. It can be absolutely awful when you realize that certain friends don't really have a part to play in your life anymore. Simply put, outgrowing each other sucks! But I've learned that some of the best friendships are the ones that have really been tested and stood strong through difficult times.

    Hooray for good friends, IRL and bloggies! <3

  25. Thanks for this post. I've been thinking about writing a blog post on this topic for a while now, but wasn't sure how to go about it. This post has inspired me to do so- so thanks!

  26. Ashley, i really get so much out of your posts; whether it's fashion insp, photographic splendor or insightful treasures like this. your writing is really so harmonious and i've enjoyed reading your experiences and takes on friendship....plus the other peeps who contributed. what a melting pot of lessons that i just want to take and stir into my cells till they plump with insightful infusions.

    i agree with you on that awesome quote and along those lines my folks always said "you are who you surround yourself with". i took it to heart and have worked on maintaining the stars and letting the black holes drift far-far away. good for you on developing your own deal breakers, as we get older (and wiser, or more in tune with who we want to align with) i think it really gets easier to not become too sucked in by facades.

    thanks for this! ♥


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