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Friendship - The Hands That Hold You

The Tenets of Friendship

"My joy is non-negotiable" - Kathy Lee Gifford

Recently, I spent a week with my Chi Omega sorority friends in Sun Valley, Idaho on a ski vacation.  We have known each other for 40 years which is astounding and warms the heart.  We laughed, chatted, skied, snowshoed for miles, walked, talked, went out for dinners and celebrated a birthday.  My girlfriends home was beautiful and the perfect size for the group.  We enjoyed putting on our makeup together in the kitchen, pouring over the latest clothing item on the Internet, exercising to videos, eating popcorn, candy, cookies, watching Mary Poppins Returns (2018) and an episode of Marie Kondo (Netflix)- making us think about getting rid of apparel.   Of course, there was a good bit of wine poured too.  The vibe was happy, content and filled with fun.  As always, a  few moments ensued which is quite normal for a group of women sequestered together for six days.  Yet, this trip reminded me of the essence of a true friendship. What is friendship? What makes people feel loved, wanted and liked?  What brings people together and binds them for life? What soothes the soul and also breaks the heart?  

Additionally, I have been reading "I've Been Thinking" by Maria Shriver.  This book is a must read filled with essays contemplating issues plaguing us in life.  There is one essay that claims her women friends as faith keepers.  We all need faith keepers.  These are the ones who hold your hand through the thick and thin of life.  For me I will call my true friends - Faith Hearts- who embody our secrets, hold our hands and provides peace and comfort.  

Now before I immerse myself in writing about the tenets of friendship, I must make something perfectly clear:  I do not always follow these tenets to the tee.  Often I will regress and make a mistake in the realm of friendships.  Why?  We are not perfect.  So be gentle with yourself when you fail.  Remember to fight for the relationships that matter, hold everyone tight and resolve issues quickly. Dragging them out does not make a relationship stronger.  It will in fact erode the relationship.  If verbal communication is stopped by one party then understand there is nothing you can do. I will cover the failings of texting and email in a bit.  Only verbal communication can resolve issues. Another reason to resolve quickly, is that rumors and misinformation may start within a grapevine.  However, more importantly, do not become a doormat.  Stand firm with your convictions and do not allow someone to berate or abuse you ever.  Always work through disagreements or misunderstandings with love and not hate. 

"Be Gentle with Yourself.  We are imperfect and life is a journey or ups and downs."  Be patient, be kind and be your own best friend." 

The Friendship Code

Tenet I:  Strong Communication:  The art of communication is a learned skill.  It is a two way verbal exchange between two parties to discuss, to learn, to emote and to resolve issues.  Only through verbal communication via a phone or in person can one have human connection with another person.  All other forms of communication often fail due to how one perceives the written word.  Think about reading a book.  Everyone has different ways of interpreting the context or imagining how the characters look, where they live and so forth.  Thus, if you want to connect and communicate you need to do so with your voice and or in person.

Different forms of Communication:

Technical Devices - Basically, a computer that you are working with to communicate. An inanimate object without emotion or feelings.  A computer - is not your friend. 

1.  In person Or Cell Phone:  Seeing a person or hearing a person is the best from of communication. You will feel connected.  You will resolve issues and you will be filled with resolution.
2.  Texting:  Texting is perfect for the short and sweet such as wishing someone Happy Birthday, confirming a place or time to meet, sending a funny joke or photo.  It is not a form of communication about issues or disagreements.  The words can be construed just like reading a book.  As stated, everyone's perception is unique and therefore it is difficult to end up on the same page with a positive outcome. 
3.  Email:  Email is similar to texting.  While texting is meant to be precise, email is a longer form of communication to disburse information to others about events, plans, business, photos etc.,
4.  Social Media:  Social media again is not a way to communicate with others about important issues.  Anything light and fun is perfectly okay. All else is folly and becomes a reflection onto the person who is disseminating ill verbiage about someone or the world at large.

The Ultimate Phone Carrier

Bandolier Nicole Pebbled Leather

"Without communication, there is no relationship. Without respect, there is no love. Without trust there is no reason to continue." 

Tenet II:  Your Words-Verbal & Written:  "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me!"  Remember this quote?  It is important to remind ourselves to speak and write kindly to one another.  A sharp tongue, text, email or pen can damage relationships even towards the strongest of people who seem to never get rattled.   The words will hurt and though can be forgiven they may never be forgotten.  Criticizing, demanding, yelling or talking about other people behind their backs is indeed a breach in friendship etiquette.  Words always come back to the owner.  In person any abusive, negative or critical communication can be damaging and often a projection of what the actual person using this language is experiencing.  When a comment comes out of the blue or is about you or your family, step back and think about it.  Is this really a problem or is something bothering the person who is communicating angry verbosity?  Are they insecure or jealous and does tearing you down make them feel better?  Is this truly a friend?  Friends support you through bliss and crisis.  They never betray trusts and they would do anything for you.   If someone is not nice to you then try and talk it out through love.  Be careful with texts too.  Speak and write kindly.  Frankly, do not spend energy being hurtful.  When you fail, because we all do, have the courage and the grace to apologize and send love.  

LAGOS Sterling Silver Heart Long

"Notice the people who are happy for your happiness, sad for your sadness. They're the ones who deserve a place in your heart."

III. Laughter:  "Laughter is the best medicine!" Every friendship requires lots of laughter.  My tennis friends and I spend hours solving the worlds problems, talking about our joys and hurts and all of it is laced with humor.  Seriously blessed. This connection is so important.  Laughter makes the hurts feel better and cheer even higher.  Surround yourself with those who make you laugh.   And, learn how to get others to laugh.  Think of the goofy things that happen on a daily basis.  The reason Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Veep and so many other hit television shows are successful is because they state the silly, the light side, the ridiculous culminating in the irresistible gift of our glorious life.  So laugh.  Look for the positive.  There is always a positive.  And, stop wallowing in the negative.  Negative energy in any form creates all the ills in our society.  If you take it in - you will be the one ill.  Stay away from Negative Nellies and instead be Lucy the Laugh Queen.   Enjoy your unique and special ride.

Stella + Ruby Leila Statement Earrings

Newsflash:  You cannot control anyone or anything except YOURSELF.  So why not laugh and spread happiness.  Be a light in the world.  Be a seeker of positive energy. 

The Good Life?  Or is it? 

"I Want" Syndrome

IV. "I Want" Syndrome:  We live in a time where the mantra "I Want" is at the forefront of Western Civilization.   Social media, television, print and film flaunt tangible riches until many are craving "Where is mine?" and "I want it now".   "I do not want to take years to earn it but instead like a child craving a piece of candy - I want it now".  In the past, those with considerable wealth kept their lives quiet.  Today, social media helps to spread the "I Want" sickness across the land.  Have you been to events,  parties or perused social media where people talk, show or flaunt their "stuff" as a statement.  "Look at me please."I own 5 homes, 10 cars, travel all the time and want more and more and more?"  Do they seem happy or satisfied? Not really.   Let's tap into a truth - first of all when you talk or flash photos on social media about your stuff, your homes, your trips etc., you might be creating a false image.  We all know that social media isn't accurate and in many ways a narcissistic venue. After all, life is far from picture perfect. All you have to do watch any of the The Housewives(Bravo) and realize life is very very messy even with hoards of money and "stuff".  They still want more.....

What does this do with friendship you ask?  Well, if someone is trying to be a social climber or putting on a false front, then it is hard to be friends when there is a constant comparing of their life with others.  The competition factor tends to shut down others.  Those with grace - open their doors to friends, keep their lives quiet, are only on social media sometimes and instead focus on the main goal - friendship.  Friendship does not come from "Keeping Up With the Jones".   It comes from being present, from acceptance of what you have and the realization that it is enough.  Nothing wrong with aspiring for more.  Just keep it to yourself.  Live by the words "I share and I give myself to others." And, accept where you are right now as enough.  Don't hide behind your stuff.  By the way, all your stuff and even your photographs will one day end up in the garbage, in a storage locker or locked in a technical cloud somewhere.  No one wants your "stuff".  Sad but true. People want YOU instead!!!  Be present, be aware and learn to read the room.  Notice others and realize you have enough!

Jackie Kennedy believed if you are photographing everything you do - are you living your life fully or are  you missing it completely?  Who are the photographs really for?  

"When is enough?????" 

Easter 2019 Somebunny Sweet Gift Set

"A sweet friendship refreshes the soul" Proverbs 29:7

If You Build It, They Will Come!

V. Build a Community:  Friendships thrive and grow in a community atmosphere.   I play tennis at the Pro Club, Redmond, Washington.  Often there is a new member who joins us and doesn't know anyone.  Put yourself in their shoes. I always introduce myself and bring them into the fold by introducing them to others.  They feel included and will suddenly be asked to play in groups.  When someone is new to a job where you work, or in your neighborhood etc.,  try and and reach out to them.  Once you do - you will connect, meet new friends and build strong bonds.  For me, I have met and befriended women from all over the world with different faiths, cultures and beliefs.  One thing is apparently clear - we all want connection and community.  The fundamentals of the human condition remain the same for everyone no matter where you are from.  So, build a community, bring others together and be inclusive not based on religion, politics or any other social issue that divides us.  Be a ring leader.  Be bold and be a faith heart.  Invite them to lunch! We lunch every week, share stories, life tales and overall have fun in the process. No, we are not making money or solving the world's challenges but we have built instead a community of friendships where laughter, tears, pain and happiness are played out.  Our hands hold us together.   We are the faith hearts. 

Tory Burch Miller Flip Flop

"Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints on your heart." Eleanor Roosevelt

Are You Sally Sunshine or Negative Nellie? 

VI.  Exude Positive Energy:  Have you ever been around someone who is always upbeat? Chances are you have in this life. They truly are content but have earned it through hard work on themselves.  Are there lives perfect? No.  Do they succumb to having "moments".  Absolutely.  For the most part they engage in the world and seek out the joy.  Such as the eagle that flies over them, or the relishing a blue sky, raindrops, flowers, a smile, a hug or a new scent. The list is endless if you are looking and living in the present.  It is the small and wondrous things that bring elation.  I am someone who always looks at the glass half full instead of half empty and truly does enjoy life.  Of course, there are moments or times when this is not the case.  For instance, when I have to pay my credit card bills or have a fight with a friend or loved one.  However, for the most part, I see the journey as a gift and a blessing.  Every day is precious.  I have spent decades working on understanding my journey through reading, counseling and with great friends.  For instance, my mother has always been negative because her brain is wired differently.   She can't help it and medication helps to keep her calm but the negative behavior never stops. Her energy and behavior can be abusive.   My dad was the opposite - fun, outgoing and full of life when he was alive though he did have his demons too. Maybe this is why I always sought out the positive.  Being Sally Sunshine is a good thing if you truly feel it.  But what if you don't?  Here are some tips to the yellow brick road of sunshine. 

1. Gratitude Book:  Start a book where you write in every day what you are grateful for....
2. Surround Yourself:  Seek out friends who support you. They tell you that you are a good person.  Are proud of your accomplishments, and are proud of you.  Support your family.   They do not criticize you, your family of friends ever because they not only like you - they love you. 
3. Love Yourself: Say it.  I love myself.  Say it again only louder.  Write it down.  
4. Tell Others YOU Love Them:  Start now.  End calls, get together's etc., with the simple words "Love You"
5. Smile: Even when you are mad, hurting or angry - put on a smile.  Seriously, there are chemicals released in your brain when you smile. 
6. Do Something Nice for Yourself or Another:  Buy flowers or something little.  Really enjoy it.  Simple pleasures will fill your heart and soul. 
7.  Hugs: Give hugs when necessary.  The connection is important.  Just finished a funny and insightful book, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lisa Gotttlieb At one point, she discussed how anyone who isn't touched suffers from "skin hunger".  Thus, hugging can be life saving and soothing not only to you but to others.  Of course, within reason.   

Leith Rib Henley Sweater

"Be the type of energy that no matter where you go, you always add value to the spaces and lives around you." 

All You Need is Love! 

VII.  Love, Love, Love:  The last tenet of friendship and the most important is love.  Love yourself, love your family and love your friends.  Be open to others and bring in new friends to love.   Be there when someone is sick or needs care.  Be there.  It is easy.  You have a choice either hate, criticize, demean or fill your life with love, laughter and true friendships.  Friendship is that simple.  If you have been hurt in the past, then read books, seek out professional guidance from counselors and allow yourself to evolve. Think of a beautiful flower.  If it remains a bud, closed and never opens then its life will be cut short.  A flower, like a person, must bloom in order to be fully alive.  Keeping everyone at a distance or not confronting someone or not inviting in new friends is similar to a flower that never opens.  You will not become what you are meant to be or to feel what you are meant to feel.  So take baby steps towards the path of love.   Don't let your past become your fate. Don't blame others for where you are at in life.  You have the control.  You have the power to bring in love.  This is your life, your journey so make it the best.  One of my dearest friends said to me recently, "Be Your Own Best Friend".  Those simple words meant so much and were powerful.  Another dear friend repeated over and over "I love you" and told me to say the same to myself.  "I love myself!"  I encourage all of you today to start with yourself.  Love yourself and let the bud begin to unfold into a glorious bloom.  Share your presence, bring others in, communicate with love, find peace and grace along the way.   Yes -  you are a Faith Heart and a seeker of Faith Hearts.   Hold them dear and close.  Friendship is the key to living life fully.

Heart and Arrow Rouge Volupte Oil in a Stick - YSL

"The greatest healing therapy is friendship and love" 

Thanks for reading.  As I said, I was struck how important friendships are in this life and compelled to share my thoughts.   We are indeed blessed.  Hold everyone dear.  Keep on striving to become what you were meant to be.  Live by this motto.  Kathy does and so can you! 

"My joy is non-negotiable" - Kathy Lee Gifford

What to you think? Your comments are most welcome. 

"Happiness is enjoying the little things in life." 


Forever Chic Style by Kim Hardwick


  1. Kim, you describe friendship so perfectly and eloquently and covered every aspect of it. You are truly gifted at communicating great advice!
    I am so thankful for our many years of true friendship!


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