My sweet friend Ashley over at Domestic Fashionista, has launched a weekly series on gratitude and I’m linking up because personally, I think practicing gratitude is a bit like exercise. I know it’s good for me, plus-- I always feel so much better after I do it. And it’s not my imagination.
Did you know that research has confirmed that practicing gratitude on a regular basis actually activates positive emotion centers in the brain? Yes, this means taking time to appreciate the little (and big) things in our lives actually creates positive feelings that weren’t there before. Isn’t that nice to know?
So here it goes. Today I’m thankful to have two amazing friends in my life, who recently gave me a wonderful birthday gift.
They took me to a Spa, where we each got luxurious facials and afterwards, we went out to lunch and we talked for hours…about Life. About small stuff and bigger things. Aging and kids and colleges and relationships. We tossed around our impressions and shared topics that made us shake our heads..and keep talking.
And afterwards, I examined just what it was, that I valued about these friendships. And I came up with…
Four signs of a true friend.
1. Real friends are there, in good times and bad.
I’m grateful to have dear friends whom I could call at the drop of a hat, for help. Over the years, one of us has become the official Halloween bartender, another one is the catering guru and one of us is the party planner (geez, can you guess who I am?). These are the good times.
When bad things happen, you’re just there.
2. Real friends shun perfection
It’s not that we don’t love to look at those gorgeous images on the cover of fashion magazines; or plow through the latest Traditional Home magazine and all those tastefully decorated rooms. It’s dreamy stuff, only we know it’s not real life. Because in real life, there’s stretch marks and dirty dishes left in the sink by your teenager. And school schedules and work stress and high cholesterol and aging parents, and husbands who need us, and the continual juggling act between all of our roles…
This is the stuff that exposes the deeper facets of our personalities, our quirky flaws, our soft hearts.
The problem with women who brag incessantly about their perfect kids, their latest achievements, and ONLY share the glossy details of their wonderful lives
is that it’s fatally uninteresting. And unreal.
And while I listen and smile politely…
I’m mentally checking them off my posse list. Not that they’d want to be included, after all, I’m more of a Meryl or Diane kind-of-gal. Give me an interesting-wonderfully neurotic girlfriend who shows her flaws--agonizes and laughs over them---and I’ll show you my shiny new friend…
via anais nin
3. Real friends are like mermaids (I love this one)
Depth is not a scary thing with real friends. That’s because there aren’t any pretenses or smiley facades to keep up, so you can show the other person the tender side of your story. You know, the part you don’t want everyone to know. Real friends can empty out their private thoughts over a cup of coffee, and know whatever comes tumbling out will not be judged. Because in the mermaid-world, there’s only one thing worse than being judged, and it’s being shallow.
4. Real friends listen as much as they share
Have you ever met someone who talked about herself the entire time without ever asking you about yourself, your kids, or your life? I admit, I’m always mystified by someone like this. And I think it gets worse in high school, come SAT scores and college time. But this kind of self- absorption is one thing that never happens when you’re with a true friend, because no matter what’s happening in her own life, a real friend remembers your stuff. She already knows about your crazy boss, and your husband’s new job, and your daughter’s struggles. And she remembers to ask.
She just does.
Today, I’m grateful to have such kindness in my life.
Did you relate to any of this?
I’d love to hear.
also linking up at: