“I have learned that friendship isn’t about who you’ve known the longest, it’s about who came and never left your side.” – Yolanda Hadid
Sometimes I think that friendship is the most underrated gift we possess. When you really think about it … is there anything more precious than to be heard? To be wanted? To be loved?
Friendship is the shared relationship between two souls who have found comfort in one another’s presence in a singularly spectacular way. I often reflect on the beauty of the fact that every connection has its own thumbprint. Like a snowflake dancing its way down from heaven, there is not another correspondence that can rival the unique bond you have with a friend. I am in awe of this.
Aside from the innate alliance of shared memories, it is the peace of knowing that you’re never really alone in this life. True that time, circumstance, and distance will stretch and grow you both, sometimes molding and melding your relationship in new directions … but in my experience at least, if it’s something you want, it’s something you’ll work to keep. As a little girl, I remember my mom telling me that she and my “aunt” had been friends for over twenty-years. At my age, it seemed an unfathomable amount of time. And yet, here I am, in my mid-thirties and celebrating life with several friends I’ve known since middle school! Twenty plus years is a blink in retrospect, and I now recognize the wondrous value of maintaining relationships.
Ironically, it isn’t only the benefit of time, but of serendipity that has also led me to incredible human beings. I think God puts people in your way, and whether it’s a friendship that lasts the length of a plane ride, or a lifetime, we’d do well to pay attention to the opportunity of the individuals around us. At the base of our being, we are relational creatures … built to dream and imagine, tell stories and invite new characters into our shared tales.
So today, I honor friends of all backstories! Take some time to intentionally honor the people in your life who make it so very worth living. Delight in the person you can’t wait to call with any and every detail. Adore the smile and laugh that draw yours out. Below, I’ve made a list of ways to celebrate each other. Take your time checking off each item on the list my darlings … friendship, after all, is not a thing to be rushed, but rather a place to dwell.
1.Throw a mini-bash to honor the age that you met! Play music and watch movies released that year! Eat snacks and drinks that you loved at that age! If it was when you were thirteen, get candy! If it was thirty-five, order in gourmet pizza and laugh until your belly hurts!
2. Go explore a new place. There’s nothing better than an adventure to add to your list of epic memories! Get lost! Don’t take a map. Drive until neither of you know where you are and work your way back slowly with plenty of stops on the way!
3. Write a love letter. Take some time to wrap your friend in the comfort of adoring words. Use thick stationary and write in cursive. Tell your friend just why they are so important to you and your life, and why this world would simply never be the same without them. Thank the stars for the light this person brings to your life and seal it with a litany of x’s and o’s!
4. Get real. Carve out an hour (or five) to dish out the hard stuff. Discuss the things that no one but your closest friends could understand. Buy cute matching Kleenex boxes and snuggle in for the sake of sweet conversation. You may not be able to solve all the world’s problems … but together, you’ll feel lighter for having tried!
5. Celebrate the season. If it’s Summer, get poolside with beach towels, cute sunglasses and umbrella-adorned drinks! If it’s Winter, get your cocoa-cups on (with marshmallows of course!) and cozy up near a twig-snapping fire for a delicious chat. If it’s Fall, go on a leaf-hunt with cute boots crunching through the forest. If it’s Spring, have a race to create for one another a bouquet of the freshest wildflowers.
6. Visit a museum. Take a moment to take yourselves seriously as historians, scientists, and art critics! Drive to the city and get a dose of culture. Linger at the exhibits that speak to you. Ask one another’s opinions on displays you find controversial. Work through the emotions that arise in you and discuss the reasons why certain elements move you the way they
7. Discover a special spot. I believe that a place has a Find a new place that you unofficially dedicate to one another. Whether it is a particular shaded tree in a park that you meet under, or an independent corner in a coffee shop … pick a place and call it “yours!”
8. Start a snail-mail notebook! There’s nothing more precious than getting snail mail. Treat your friendship to a constant source of mailbox merriment! Start a journal together where you share your thoughts, make fun lists, or begin writing prompts to respond to! Every month send it back and forth with a treat, stickers, embellishments, or a new writing utensil!
9. Remember the lost ones. Take a walk or drive to the cemetery where your loved and lost are. Visit and reminisce together because sadness deserves company. If you’re not close enough, take out old photographs and share why those people were an important part of your story.
10. Have a pajama party. Slip into comfy clothes and become couch potatoes together. Read each other favorite parts of books. Watch movies you laugh and cry over. Eat popcorn mixed with M&M’s and talk until the sun comes up!
11. Set up a photoshoot! Sometimes we adults take ourselves much too seriously! More than likely, you became friends with this person because they had an element of “play” about them! Get some outfits and cool props and drive to a location where you can set up a mini- photo shoot. Share the pics or keep them to yourselves, but enjoy the vogue moment!
12. Go on a treasure hunt. Wake up early and head out to find that piece, part, item, or decoration that’s been eluding you. Drive near or far, to the outlet or antique shop and peruse the aisles together until both of you are satisfied with the purchases you didn’t need but had to have. The new items will have invariably become a memory in the process!
13. Try a new workout. Be one another’s accountability partners. It’s not always easy to find time to take care of yourself, but you’ll more than likely give your time away freely to a friend. So walk, roll, ride, jump, stretch, or run together. Go to a gym or just head outside. Feel fabulous in your workout and be sure to get celebration smoothies after your job well- done!
14. Be quiet. One of the greatest pleasures in some of my friendships has been the ability to be comfortable in silence together. As one of Jane Austen’s characters once said, “Surely you and I are beyond speaking when words are clearly not enough.” Because sometimes … they aren’t. Sometimes silence is the only thing big enough to swallow the emotion of what you’re carrying; but with a friend, you needn’t carry it alone.
15. Start a collaboration project. Do something that has a lasting impact. Volunteer Coordinate a building project. Go on a mission trip. Start a non-profit. Clean up a park or visit another friend who might need your cheer. Write a book together. Create a painting. Scrapbook your memories. Write poetry. There are endless ways to make the world feel the joy of who you are as a package deal!
Elle Harris is a believer of impossible things. She is a lover of words, wonder, and the whimsical delights of everyday living. Caught in the creative place between reality and imagination is her favorite place to be. Please join Elle in pursuing life with intention, and grand conversation on her blog thisquotablelife.wordpress.com. Find Elle on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @ElleHarris82.