I have been truly blessed during my 31 and a half years with some truly incredible friends. I have always had friends. Some seasons I had a lot and other seasons a couple of really strong friendships. I love making friends and having friends. I have had all kinds of friends. I’ve had good friends, life giving, seasonal, life changing, helpful, trustworthy, respectful, loving, giving, genuine, and equally yoked friends. Some of my friends are unordinary, unexpected, unique, unusual, unlikely, and unintentional. Hey! Some of them were even toxic for me and proved to be untrustworthy. One thing I can say though: each of my friends is or was a blessing to me. They taught/teach me. I learn(ed) a lot of life’s lessons from them. Everything I am about to share with you comes from three decades of experience.

Friends know that real love can mean hard love. Read that again! Sometimes, real love and true friendship can be hard. Sometimes, you have to say things that make you uncomfortable. You have to go to your friend and have the hard conversation instead of talking to someone else about it. When your friend loves you, they tell you the hard truth even when it is unpopular... even if it is hard for them. If you can not have the hard conversations, your friendship will deteriorate over time.

Friends add value to your life! I am not talking about monetary gifts or money. I am simply saying that they give as much as they take. They call. They text. They make plans. They check in when they don’t hear from you. They randomly do sweet little things for you! They watch your animals and water your plants when you are out of town without being asked. They organize meal trains when your child dies. They comfort you and listen to you. They celebrate you even when they do not feel successful. YOU do those things for them, too! It is a mutual participation relationship. It must be, or one person stops giving, and the relationship dies.

Friends have your back. They stand by you when you make the right choice especially if that choice is unpopular. They support you. A friend stands up for you when you are not around. Friends respect you at. all. times. Friends are not jealous. Friends do not steal joy. Friends do not take more than they give. Friends do not tell you what you want to hear.

I challenge you to take a friend inventory. Self reflect! Are the people surrounding you friends or company? Prioritize the friends over the company. Friends have access to your lives, your children’s lives, and your memories... make sure they ARE friends.

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