Images of Friendship



I have two images of friendship that I carry around in my head. They help me to process my friendship experiences and guide me in how to relate to other persons in a safe and healthy and freeing way. I share them with you, and would love to know what you think of them, and to learn about the belief system you rely on to guide your friendship with others.

Waiting Outside in the Car

I learned of this many years ago perhaps 20ish years ago when I was living in the USA during my mid-20s to mid-30s. It was a story I heard of a woman who had lost her husband. It was the day of the funeral and the repast was at the family home. As you can imagine…and perhaps have experienced yourself, the house was full of people. However eventually one-by-one the guests started to leave. The last guest left and the house became quiet. The woman was left alone to continue her new phase of life, a journey without her husband, and to work through the huge glob of feelings and memories and uncertainty. Eventually morning came. The wife made her way downstairs and began adjusting the blinds in the living room which faced the street. She noticed a familiar looking car parked along her sidewalk. When she took a good look she saw her best friend sitting in the car. Long story short, her best friend had spent the night in the car…just in case.

Belief system I adopted for friendship: Be protective; be loyal; be available; go out of your way and make sacrifices;  show honour; allow space for necessary growth experiences, especially when they are private and painful; maintain separateness, don’t dominate;  love quietly; be yourself; and give the way you can.

Kitchen Door Which Swings Both Ways

In the last 13 years, my mid-30s to late 40s I have taken notice of kitchen doors, especially the ones in restaurants. Actually there was a villa in Runaway Bay that my father used to take us to as a family,  for our annual Summer vacation in August, just before we returned to school. It was the first home that I noticed with a kitchen door that swings both ways.  I was fascinated. It seemed so wonderful and elaborate. The kitchen back at home had no door. My friends’ and other relatives’ kitchens, none of the homes I frequented as a child had anything like this. In my childish way I would go in and out of that kitchen, just to interact with that door.

Belief system I adopted for friendship: As people come and people go, so does friendship. Let it. Speak directly to changes in cherished friendships with curiosity and respect, to seek clarity and understanding, but never to seek to restrict movement away from you. The reasons why people become friends can change because people change. You too are changing. Truth be told if we discovered really why some friendships formed in the first place, we’d be shocked and utterly surprised for good and bad reasons. People change as their beliefs about self, you, and the world changes. They may not choose to inform you of these changes. However, it will show up in their attitudes and actions towards you and others. Though some persons know how to hide their character deficits well.  Nonetheless, allow people to be themselves before you and to reveal their character. Why? You always need to know ‘who’ you are dealing with.  Allow the kitchen door to swing.  However, absolutely insist that the kitchen be maintained in a pristine manner, providing a safe, healthy and enjoyable space for all.  Don’t negotiate. Don’t delegate. It’s your responsibility.

Friendship is a gift and an experience dear to my heart.  I would love to hear what images or strategies you use to guide how you relate to your friends. Use the comment option on this blog post and share your strategies with me.

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