Things feel a bit quiet this morning. After spending the week with us, my friend, Sue, headed back home to Colorado. She visits us at our lake home in Alaska every summer, and it is always a pleasure to host her. We have been friends for over 30 years, and our annual reconnections feel effortless.

Sue and I value the same things in life: friendships, our relationships to our spouses, our homes, our health, and overall happiness. We are also different in some ways. While Sue has spent the last 30 years in the medical field, I have spent a similar amount of time in holistic health.

Sue and I enjoying a moment of friendship

Sue has taught me many things about friendship. In the mid-eighties, during one of her visits, she taught me the valuable lesson of being present rather than focusing so much on what to serve for dinner, or making my house perfectly presentable. She was the friend that taught me the importance of just being available to spend time together and to connect authentically.

Sue is the kind of person that sees the good in everyone, and examines all sides of every situation without judgement. This is always a good lesson, and a healthy reminder for me. I know that Sue will always be honest with me and will never judge or hurt me. I always feel safe and my feeling go uncensored when I am with her.

Just like any relationship, friendships require work, with regular bouts of communication and connection. Sue often checks in with me by texting, “available for a chat?” No matter how busy life gets, we make a point to find the time to connect. Sue’s interest in what I am doing, what I am thinking, and how I got from point A to point C never fail to inspire me.

Sue loves to laugh and have a good time. When I am around her, we burst into awesome moments of laughter and giggles. Friendships are good for our health. Because of Sue I laugh harder, I cry less, and I smile a lot more.

Sue likes to keep things simple. I tend to complicate things. She is a good reminder that it is not about perfection.

Webster’s defines a Friend as:

  1. One attached to another by affection or esteem: “She’s my best friend.”
  2. One that is not hostile: “Is he a friend of an enemy?”
  3. A favored companion

We can have all kinds of friendships– toxic, jealous, casual, best or one-sided. I have been blessed to have experienced them all. Each of these friendships have taught me valuable lessons, both painful and loving.  I have had regrets for how some friendships have ended, but I realize that not everybody is meant to be in your life forever. As I have grown older, fortunately, as some friends come and go, I have been blessed with finding many amazing, emotionally healthy, loving, supportive, and fulfilling friendships to take their place.

When was the last time you made special time for a friend? When was the last time you really were present and listened to them, when you were attentive and showed how much you cared about their life?

To have a friend you must be a friend. Reach out and make a phone-date, send that text, and let your dear friends know you are thinking of them. If you are local to each other make plans for a coffee date, tale a walk, or plan a special night out. Remember, what’s important isn’t the details—it’s the connection!