Friendship Is…

You will find very few people over the age of 7 who love their birthday as much as I do.


Every year, without fail, I make a big deal out of my birthday and likewise expect the people around me to do that same. I tell strangers I’ve never met before that it’s my birthday, and will probably never send an invitation that says “don’t bring presents.” I love the presents, and if this is the one time of year I’m going to get them, then who am I to tell people no? I shamelessly throw parties, go out to dinner, and use my birthday as a reason to celebrate for days. Daaaaays.


After all, dinner with friends is one of my love languages. And when it’s my special day, I can think of no better way to celebrate than surrounded by people, parties, laughter and sugar.



But what about when there isn’t something to celebrate? When it’s not my birthday…things aren’t going well…and I don’t have any reason to bust out a sparkly dress or make cupcakes or even invite people over?


Because I’m messy. And I’ve been ugly crying for days.


I’m afraid if someone gets too close, they will regret it. Because sadness is obviously a disease and I don’t want all the happy people to catch it.


And the best I can do is send an email to a few of my closest friends that starts out with “I. Am. Struggling.” I told them that I didn’t know what to do with the broken pieces of this season of my life, but that I’m trying. That their friendship means a lot to me, and that I simply wanted to be honest in my messiness.



They hear about my good times until everyone is over it {even though they politely tell me they’re not tired of hearing about my wedding} so why not the not-so-great stuff, too?



And do you know what they did? They threw me a dinner party.



I’m not kidding…a table full of every person I emailed within an hour and a half radius gathered around a dinner table on a Wednesday night just to say…we love you and we’re here.



No birthday cake. No reason for celebration. No hidden agenda. No hesitation, even.





I’m still trying to let my heart embrace it all. That people want to be around me even when I don’t want to be around myself. That the friends I have aren’t theoretical; they’re living, breathing, caring, loving, selfless friends. Friends who would drop what they’re doing to laugh together over burgers and tacos, just because they know it’s what you need.



Not that it was a time full of fixing and solutions, but instead a time of connecting and being there.



They make friendship something they do, not just something they talk about doing…and that’s really the root of friendship, I think. 



Thoughts turned into actions. The simplicity of companionship. Learning to put the needs of others above our own.



And it’s easier said than done.





I’m taking the stage tonight with my friend Craig to talk to a group of college students about how to have healthy friendships. We believe that we all desire and crave to know and be known–that it’s central to our core. That good friendships are absolutely crucial, and worth investing in. That in order to have a good friend, you first have to learn how to be a good friend.



I read an article that said 25% of Americans feel that they don’t have a single person they can talk to or trust. 1 in 4. Not a family member or a spouse or a sibling or a friend. No one.


That, to me, is shocking. And yes, I’m an extrovert who sometimes appears to have more friends than I really do. But I honestly can’t imagine not being able to talk to one single person in my life. I think that means we’re missing something about friendship. And not that it’s up to every else around else to change, but that there’s something WE should be doing differently.



Are you the 1 in 4?



Even if you’re not, how can we change that statistic?



It’s about creating safe places for honesty, trust and truthfulness. It’s about investing time in others to grow deep, meaningful relationships. It’s about owning whatever we can possibly own to make the people in our life feel heard, cared for and respected.





Have you been hurt by a friend before and you are determined to close yourself off to anyone that could potentially hurt you again?


Are you willing to learn what it takes to put aside your own needs, desires, and demands to pursue others?



Friendship is selfless. And it’s hard.



Friendship is kind. And it doesn’t always have to be right.



Friendship listens and asks questions. It doesn’t always have a story to share or an opinion to speak.



Friendship forgives. Even when there isn’t an apology. Especially when it isn’t deserved.



Friendship respects boundaries and has a healthy sense of independence.



Friendship is as friendship does.




One response to “Friendship Is…

  1. Kala… this is really wonderful! I am so glad you have such wonderful friends o band together with you in the tough times as well as the ones that are celebration worthy! And Why not celebrate the other times and just celebrate being blessed to be alive to celebrate! 😀 If more people in this world… were happy just for the sake of being happy… It would be a better place! Keep on writing from the heart! I thoroughly enjoy them!

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