Sunday, August 14, 2011

30 Days of Friendship

Lovely friends,

I thought you might enjoy one of my newest columns: this month's musings for Women's OutLook, Gulf Coast Florida edition, published by my effervescent friend, Diana Donlon. May you enjoy and savor the blessings of soul friendship!

30 Days of Friendship 

Deep friendship between two women is not something that happens quickly or easily. Our dearest friends are those with whom we have fully invested ourselves—body, mind, heart and soul. If we wish to experience true friendship, we need to expend time and energy to make this bond a trustworthy one—as well as one that will endure time and change.

Do you have a friendship that is in need of nurturing? You’d like to see it grow and flourish? Do you have a friendship that needs bolstering, in need of repair, even healing?

Consider dedicating an entire month to fostering your friendship! Here is a relationship-building activity, one for each day of the month; thirty sure-fire ways to grow the love. Some of them involve opening ourselves up to create trust. Others invite us to examine and stretch ourselves for the purpose of growth. And some of them are just plain fun!

1. Take a picture of the two of you together. Post it on your refrigerator, mirror, or desktop. (If you live far apart, take pictures of yourself and exchange them.

2. Share your history. Let her know what the most significant events of your life have been; who the most important people have been.

3. Make a date with each other, the same date every month, and keep it! (First Wednesday of the month for example.)

4. Determine the best way for the two of you to communicate regularly—and do it! (E-mail, phone, handwritten letters ...)

5. Ask her what she needs help with and lend a hand.

6. Share a meal. Go to breakfast, lunch, or dinner on a regular basis.

7. Simply be present to her. Be a listening, comforting presence.

8. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and cry if you need to.

9. Refrain from giving advice.

10. Expand yourself and your relationship by exploring new places together: museums, galleries, consignment stores, antique shops, nature walks, gardens, etc.

11. Give voice to a past hurt that has been bottled up inside you.

12. Do something together that is outside your comfort zone but one that she truly enjoys.

13. Refrain from gossiping or talking about her behind her back.

14. Throw a party for her—to celebrate a milestone, a birthday, a life change, a breakthrough.

15. Cook or bake together.

16. Watch a funny movie together and laugh a lot!

17. Get a makeover, indulge in a spa treatment, get a manicure or pedicure—together!

18. Help her clean out and organize something that she has been resisting, putting off, or thinks she can’t do alone.

19. Go on a pilgrimage together. Pick a “sacred site,” plan the trip and enjoy. (Think everything from Graceland to Machu Pichu!)

20. Once a month make each other dinner and deliver it to your homes.

21. Tell the truth when you have to, even if it feels uncomfortable, but do it with kindness.

22. Get to know your friend’s family or special loved ones. (If you can’t get to know them, be sure to ask about them in your conversations.)

23. Write her a real letter or postcard, sent via old-fashioned “snail mail,” at least once a week. (Put your correspondence in matching keepsake boxes.)

24. Have a sleepover or go away for just one night to a hotel, inn, or spa.

25. Create a new healthy habit together—mindful eating, walking, exercise.

26. Ask for help when you need it.

27. Read and discuss a book together.

29. Buy your friend flowers.

30. Tell her how much you appreciate and love her.

When you count your life blessings, be sure to count your friend twice!

© 2011, Janice Lynne Lundy

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