We want our lovers, our parents, our co-workers and even our adult children to be our friends. No, not everyone we meet will be a friend and that is okay. But how dreary it would be to have a relationship, business or personal with someone we saw on a daily basis that was not also a friend.

What Makes Friendship The Most Satisfying  Relationship?

I love my Wednesday morning book group. We read all sorts of nonfiction books that make us think: Nothing to Envy about life in North Korea by Barbara Demick, My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor, Behind the Beautiful Forevers about life in India by Katherine Boo, and The Gift of Years by Joan Chittister to name a few. We meet every week. No, we don’t all agree and we don’t all like every book we read but we grow and learn together a shared experience.

  • We show up just as we are.
  • We share the experience of reading together.
  • We respect each other’s opinions.
  • We see the best in each other with caring and compassion.
  • We share our hopes and dreams and pain and laughter.

1. With Friends, We Can Be Ourselves

With friends these is no pretense, no games, no trying to be something we are not. In the presence of true friends, we fit in. We have found our tribe.
Friendship is the delightful balance of both listening to the other and being heard, each treating the other with respect and compassion.

2. Friends Share Activities

Facebook friends are nice but shared interests and shared activities build friendships. Do you love to hike or read or watch movies going to sporting events or vintage car shows? How wonderful to share the activity with friends and nothing beats food and laughter to solidify a friendship.

I love being able to Skype with my friends who are far away. Our shared face to face conversations maintain friendships over the miles.

3. Friendships are a 50-50 proposition.

In the best of friendships, there are no gives and no takers. Friendships are mutual. We neither feel that we are taking advantage of the other person or that they are taking care of us.

Yes, friendship is a 50 – 50 proposition but in the long haul, not in the moment. Sometimes we need a helping hand; sometimes we give a helping hand. We can count on our friends and our friends can count on us.

4. Laughter Is Best Shared With Friends.

Years ago, I thought the best way to connect with friends was through shared misery. I’ll share my victim story about why life is so tough and you share yours. Friendships often come from shared unfortunate experiences: breast cancer, divorce, and loss of a job or death of a spouse. Support groups can be wonderful. Yet the friendships blossom not from staying stuck in those low spots of our life but in shared resilience as together we triumph over difficult situations.

As friends, we support each other in personal growth. We move from tears to laughter. I can’t think of a better way to spend Friday night or almost any night for that matter that dinner and laughter with friends.

5. Our Friends Bring Out The Best In Us.

Our true friends know us warts and all. They know our faults. Yet they also, maybe even better than we do, know our strengths. They know our dreams and they hold our dreams in their hearts and we hold their dreams in ours. When we are seen and heard and accepted just as we are, we can believe that we have worth and value, that we are okay, maybe at times even magnificent.

For all my friends, I thank you for both allowing me to be your friend and for your willingness to my friend. Friendship truly is the most satisfying of all relationships.

Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
Albert Camus

Read more:  Deep Loving Connection: Midlife Manifesto Principle #1

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