Evaluating our friendships

October 14, 2014

Quote by Jim Rohn.

When I read this quote last month it stopped me in my tracks. Evaluating our friendships–and our friends– is something we don’t often do. But why not? If we are the average of those we hang out most with, maybe we SHOULD evaluate our friendships.

With whom do I spend the most time, I wondered. And does that mean online or in person? Because I have to admit to spending a lot of time with my online friends.

I chose in-person, and thought about them.

L is talented, indefatigable and living her long life to the fullest. We attend theatre together then sit in San Francisco cafes and yes, even bars, and deconstruct the plays we’ve seen. We talk candidly about life and writing and love and I even got her to talk about her first love, which was not easy. She’s a good influence.

M is the best person I know, bar none. She is loving, giving and I have known her a damn long time.  We laugh, we talk truth, we hold little back. I always say that I didn’t draw an ace when it comes to sisters, but I did when it comes to her. She’s not perfect, but close to it. Another excellent influence.

My husband is a nice guy. I mean the nicest. He’s way smart, fun and funny–he never fails to make me laugh. He loves my dog almost as much as I do. His best qualities are worth emulating. (I am a work in progress, here.)

So far my friendship average is high.

Ok, so now, I’m stuck.  I treat the entire globe as my friendship canvas and that means that some of the people I spend the most time with don’t live in my state.  Even though she lives 3,00 miles away, I’m counting B, because our phone calls are at least 90 minutes long and we talk about deep and spiritual matters and then very human matters. If I were half as good as she I’d be lucky. Since she is keeping my average high, I’m hanging on to her for this list, for sure.

Then there’s my gay husband. His elephant’s memory makes me notice the holes in my own, but on the positive side, he has great memories of my mother’s visits to California and can recall them in ultimate detail. He is like a living scrapbook. We shared more than a decade of working with people who had AIDS and he has been a great support in related areas of my life. Did I say he can flat out cook?

This exercise made me see how much the internet had changed the character of friendships, because we all spend so much time in front of our devices and probably much less time than we used to with our friends.  I’m a loner anyway, at heart, and am never happier than when I can sit at a keyboard and stay in my head. So I really did struggle to come up with five, at least at first. Because “the most” time is relative.

But the exercise also made me understand the importance of choosing our friends wisely.  As I’ve come to learn, others can lift us up or tear us down. The people we spend time with can model the kind of person we want to be or they can display bad behavior.

After calculating my average, which thankfully, was high, I have no need to make changes in how I spend my time with friends.  I’ve already done a little culling.

I thought this was such an interesting exercise that I’d ask you to do it and report back below on what you discovered about the people you spend the most time with.

5 comments on “Evaluating our friendships
  1. I have to say honestly my best friends are my sister, my sister-in-law, my brother, my child and my parents. I have many non-family friends, but those above are who I pick up the phone to call every day for every problem or every happiness. I feel very lucky in this regard, because they all know me, inside and out, sideways and backward. I gain wonderful perspective from them.

  2. Ruth Curran says:

    Oh this is a tough one Carol…. I just, inspired a piece you wrote last month, re-wrote my friend-roll pretty significantly so, my average is now pretty darned high in sharing, caring, and uplifting! Two months ago it would have been an entirely different story. Interesting how we shift just when we need it most.

  3. Donna says:

    I can humbly say I have the most amazing friends in the world. They are accomplished, kind and generous….and forgiving. Every woman friend I have is incredibly strong…..I noticed that one day at lunch, every one of us had a leadership position. they aren’t so strong that they treat others as a speed bump….but they are all the kind of people you could hand a project to and know that it would be completed…and very well. I have high school friends, college friends, the women I had first jobs with, the women I raised my children with and the friends of this age. there are cross currents in each group. I am blessed.

  4. This one is a hard one for me because I just don’t make friends easily. I’ve been let down alot and lost even more. I have had 5 really good friends throughout my life. One saved me when I needed it the most then when she needed me t ahe most she chose to stay and died. She was in my wedding photo from a few weeks ago. One I had been friends with for over 20 yrs and she committed suicide a year ago. One I trusted and she wanted my husband. One I trusted and found out she knew my daughter was getting into a hugely dangerous situation and never said a word and one I love with my whole heart and am now seperated by 400 miles but still manage to get together alot. She helped me hold my life together when I became so ill and tonight she called me late just an hour ago. We have traveled all over the states together several times my kids were grown and she had never been able to have one (she’s 16 years younger than me) until now she just found out she’s officially pregnant! I am so thrilled now I’m having a grandson, a granddaughter and a godchield. It takes me a long time to trust but when I do I do it with my whole heart and loyalty is the most important quality to me.

  5. Lana says:

    You have been blessed with some wonderful friendships! This is a tough one for me because I no longer have a relationship with my best friend. I feel like I’m in a transition period – with some acquaintances becoming more like friends all the time. So I guess I can’t really evaluate!

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