20 October 2010

Gifts of Character::Friendliness

"I don't need a certain number of friends, just a number of friends I can be certain of." ~ Alice Walker

When I chose this card this week, I thought... pshaw... I've got this one in the bag. But then I started reading the card. Reading between the lines. And I realized that it is not always easy to practice the virtue of friendliness.

You know that maxim... to have a friend you need to be one. It really is as simple as that. Simple in theory. Sometimes difficult in practice.

If you are of the 'take what you can grab' and 'it's all about me' persuasion, you might be inviting on the outside but your invitation comes with ulterior motives. Chances are that when you look around sometime you will see that you are all alone at that party of your own making.

But if you seek ways to connect with others on a truly genuine level, if you care about where they are and not how their position can aid you, and if you find ways to make that other person feel special, loved... you will always enjoy the quiet company of great friends.

From the virtue card: Friendliness

Friendliness is reaching out to others with warmth and caring.
It is the willingness to be an intimate companion.
Friendship is essential to our souls.
We value ourselves enough to know that we deserve true companionship.
We attract others by what we are willing to contribute.
What we give we get.
The presence of a friend can soothe us, unleash our laughter, amplify our joy and diminish our sorrow.
Friends are compassionate witnesses to one another's stories.
We share our time, our attention, our love and above all ourselves.
We look upon strangers as friends we haven't met yet.
Friendliness is the best cure for loneliness

We moved here when I was 10 and built a house on a channel off a small lake. I remember that first summer that I had all sorts of friends. Who only wanted to come over to my house so they could go swimming in the backyard. When I tired of that, and suggested other things, it was met with resistance. It was clear to me even back then that this was bogus. That unauthentic behavior haunted me all through school with some of these people and may even be the reason why today these same people regard me with a certain disdain. I didn't give them what they wanted then so they weren't interested in being my friend even today.

My friend Lynn(a) has been my best friend since we were 10. When I was the new kid at St Steve's she was the only one in a long line of someone's who really saw me for who I was. She accepted me and didn't try to see what she could get out of me. She was always real and genuine with me. I am grateful for her true companionship. I wasn't the most popular kid, and it would have been really easy for her to push me aside, but she never did. And our friendship has remained steady for over 3 decades.

I have a lot of acquaintances. People that I get along with, that I enjoy their company. But there are very few really good friends. The ones that I bare my soul to, that I can't wait to be with them and when we are together it is like we never left and we can pick right up where we left off.

I have been blessed, honored really, with finding several such souls through the blogdom. These someones are ones that I really need to meet in real life because I feel a sort of kindred spirit with them. I am curious about how it would be to sit in a room and talk to them and touch their hands, give them a hug and a real shoulder to lean on. These virtual friends I have a complete connection to are the ones that I never miss the opportunity to share with, to write to them almost daily, to peek into their minds and hearts on their blogs. I don't want anything from them except their love and respect. I hope they know who they are and know that I love them with my whole heart.

Yesterday, at the A.R.T.S. Night show Lynn(a) gave of her time to come and booth sit with me. She charmed my neighbor Jen Selwyn who makes pottery. We drank wine, we laughed.She helped me writing up slips and answered questions for customers. She was a great asset to me but more than that I realized that she is the only one that I would have trusted to be doing that for me. To represent me. She helped me to shine last night, not because of what it would do for her, but for what it would do for me.

But most importantly we strengthened the bond that has been ours for 32 years.

The Practice of Friendliness
  • I make others feel welcome.
  • I trust that I am worthy of companionship.
  • I have compassionate curiosity.
  • I take a genuine interest in others.
  • I share my laughter and my tears.
  • I invest my time and attention in friendship.
I am thankful for the gift of Friendliness. It makes me a true companion.

© Virtues Project International
To order your own set of Virtues Cards, visit Virtues Village LLC.

So what about you?
  • Do you believe that you deserve true companionship? What would true companionship mean to you?
  • Do you find it a joy to invest your time and attention in authentic friendship? Or is it a challenge for you?
  • Who is your best friend? Tell us what s/he means to you.
Do tell!

A special thank you to all of you who comment so regularly and so meaningfully on my blog. The greatest joy that I have comes from knowing that we can continue that conversation, that you feel comfortable enough to share so willingly of yourself, and that you are so supportive and enthusiastic when you come here. You may have started out a stranger here, but with each comment, each conversation, each baring of your soul, I hope you feel that you are leaving as a friend.

Speaking of friends... only one more day to bid on this necklace auction to raise money for my friend Andrew Thornton. Go to this post to read more and leave your bid... current high bid is $75... did I mention that I plan to match the donation?

Enjoy the day!


Rebecca said...

Erin, what a lovely post. You are very kind to offer to match whatever offer you get for your lovely necklace!! Clearly, you are a great friend. I am so of the mindset of that Alice Walker (and by the way, isn't she the most awesome writer?). I am lucky enough to have two very dear best friends - my partner and also my dear friend Rosamunde. We've been through thick and thin together for 12 years now, since I was 17! Good times and bad. Much as I am super excited at the thought of having the winning bid, I really want someone to up the ante for Andrew! Outbid me! (And then maybe I'll outbid you...!)

Pretty Things said...

I have several good friends, one who I talk to almost every day on the phone, and she keeps me centered and sane. I try to be the best friend I know how to be, and be interested in what others are doing. I care about hurt feelings. I care about what's going on around me.

True companionship means asking me first before assuming the worst.

Jenners said...

I love that Alice Walker quote!

And I love hearing about your friendship with Lynn(a) was wonderful. It is a true gift to have a friend for 30+ years.

I have one friend I've known for 20 some years and we can always pick up wherever we left off when we talk. I wish she lived closer though.

Off the Beadin' Path said...

A lovely subject and I have so much to say about it, but for now, want to say what a nice life experience you have with Lynn and that photo of the two of you is a keeper. Like the Bible says, a friend is one who sticks closer than a brother! We cherish those people!

Lance said...

What you and your friend Lynn have...it is very special. And what a gift that is!! Treasure it always.

And...being here, knowing you, feeling your soul shine through - I very much feel a bond, a friendship, an connection. And that is such a wonderful feeling!

Erin, keep shining your light...

My Life Under the Bus said...

It's all true!!! For a true friend I am there in a heart beat any time any place because I know they would do the same for me. True friends keep in touch and call you "just because". I've learned to sort the good friend from the aquaintence and I think it makes everybody happier.I don't adopt a dog then complain it doesn't act like a cat - people give what they are capable of - if you are expecting something different you'll be disappointed!

Alice said...

I have a friend that has been around since Jr. High. We live fairly close together and our kids grew up doing everything together. That change when she remarried, and now she is on to new things. Still, when we pass each other on the street it is as if nothing changed.

Funny how technology has helped us do things faster and more efficiently, yet we are busier than ever. I have found it is so much more difficult to make new friends because no one has time to invest in turning an aquaintance into a friend.

Lucky you to have a loyal friend like Lynn. What a treasure.

Riki Schumacher said...

What a lovely post Erin, I sure feel like we could be kindred spirits! Always love hearing from you and sharing our thoughts. I'm a very lucky person, still friends with my best friend from Jr. high, high school and college, all different people. There's nothing like friendship, it is a healthy thing to do. Kind of like, an investment in health! Hugs, Riki

Unknown said...

Ahhh such lovliness here! You learned so early what we see so often later on. Friendship their way..kids are selfish at times arent they?! I had a best friend named Peggy as a child and we played dolls etc and grew up. At age 13 her Mother blamed me for the antics that she was getting involved in and ended the friendship. That always hurt bc I really loved her. Of course there is no grudge we have reconnected but a friendship that was severed too early and I had always missed! Still today I feel the twinge. We are all grown up but deep inside are still the kids we once were!
Sine I have moved to Texas a few years ago I have a few friends I have made. Two a bit close, but she dosent do jewellery! I have two best friends I miss in Virginia and I miss them alot but I am here and we just go on..but we speak on the phone!
I have just seen my close friend from Scotland that I havent seen in over 20 years and its like we picked up from where we left off! It was grand.
I would like to have a close friend here...maybe one day! meanwhile I have my Daughter Jenny and we are close..
But you are my friend too! xoxoxo

Hopemore Studio said...

It's interesting these cards you keep pulling.

In the past I thought it was easy to make and keep friends. Now as I near 40 I have more passing acquaintances, they are very nice people but we only connect at a certain level. It is me keeping them at a distance. I'm at a place where I'm trying to fit in, hopefully this is just a stage of my life... the kids are young, my job is in flux, my artisitc life is one I hide locally because I feel it isn't understood. It is hard to make true friendships when you are not genuine, I admire those who can put it out there flaws and all.

Now it's not all doom and gloom, I have some fabulous friendships that have stood the test of time. One in particular had grown since second grade and although we now live 500 miles apart it is one of my greatest treasures.


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