Not my nature to love by halves

September 25, 2014
women ironing

We both like to iron.

“Did you put a bottle of Lambert Bridge wine in my refrigerator?”

Girlfriend asked me that the other day in an early morning phone call. It was the kind of question that only a really close friend would ask. One who knew what your favorite wine was and who had been to that Dry Creek winery with you. One whose refrigerator you have access to and know well.

The rest of the conversation is personal, but it –and a recent post by a friend on service–did make me think about friendship and the things we do for our friends.

When you move 3,000 miles and don’t know a soul in your new city, the embrace of a complete stranger who then becomes a friend makes a huge difference. I remember those days of talking to gas station attendants (when there were such people AND when they actually spoke English) because I didn’t have anyone else to talk to. But once I met girlfriend, my life changed in huge ways. My entire life.  Meeting Girlfriend was the single most significant thing that happened to  me in California.

It’s an impact that’s hard to beat.

I’ve always loved this quote:

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”
―Jane Austen in Northanger Abbey

Now, I’m not going to say that hasn’t bitten me in the butt a time or two. Sometimes, I’ve cast my pearls before swine. But not as often as I’ve cast them before royalty. Friendship royalty.

It’s funny: our society acts like love is valuable because it’s scarce, when the truth is, we have abundant access to love if we just do it. There’s plenty to go around. I love lots of people and that doesn’t dilute love–it expands it.

There’s little I wouldn’t do for a friend I loved.

But back to my beautiful friend and the wine.

How did I answer her?

“Yes, I put a bottle of Lambert Bridge in your refrigerator. Let’s booze it up when you’re done with treatment.”

I’ve never looked forward to a booze-fest as much I do this one.

So this is what I’d like to know:  what’s the single most significant thing a woman friend has done for you?

Pick just one and tell us a little about it in the Comments. I’m looking forward to getting inspired just reading about it!


20 comments on “Not my nature to love by halves
  1. What a lovely story Carol! Sending your friend good thoughts for her treatment!

    I have a friend who has really added such value to my life and does little and big things like that to let me know I matter. It’s hard to pick one example because she has done so many things. And each time she does it I feel so blessed to have someone like that in my life. Thanks for a great read today! xo

  2. When I had to put my cat down years ago everyone was out of town for memorial weekend including my parents. I called up a new friend who drove to my apartment at 5:00 in the morning and took me and the cat in at 6:30 am and stayed with me through the whole ordeal. More than a decade later she is still one of my best friends.

  3. My closest friends live far away. After taking our son out of public school in 3rd grade I didn’t have as much contact with women in my town. Kind of hurt but that’s how it happens – according to what your kids are doing. So the nicest thing a friend did was make a surprise brunch for me for my birthday. That was memorable.

    I don’t love people halfway, either. I’m all in. I adore my girlfriends and do what I can to treat them how they deserve: with kindness and love.

  4. Tammy says:

    Oh, I have such a complicated relationship with the idea of girlfriends. I have them and I have good ones but I also don’t feel like I have the one friend who is all mine – I know that sounds so juvenile – I guess it’s that I don’t have a best friend – okay, still juvenile. Anyway, that said, there are a couple of things but the most recent thing was two of my girlfriends helped my husband plan my surprise 50th and did so with so much gusto it touched me.

  5. Ruth Curran says:

    Oh the backstory is too long and I am sure this going to lose every bit of significance but this was, without a doubt the kindest thing I remember. I was deeply in the woods of my brain injury and I am not sure how but I ended up there but I was working in the food booth at fundraiser for a family (very close to all in my family) dealing with the financial hardship associated with the main bread winner dying of cancer. My job was to wrap hotdogs in a bun in foil and put them in the tray so no one would have to wait. My friend Rachel came up put her hand on mine and said “Let’s do these together – it will be more fun.” So I wrapped and handed the end product to her for her to stack. I watched for a moment as she took the wrapped bundle from me and, without skipping a beat in her cheerful conversation, unwrapped it, put in the hot dog, re-wrapped it, and put it in the bin. It took a minute but I realized that I had wrapped 30 or so buns with no hot dog. She did not mention it – she just let me be and made the world right. She took what might have been a major set back in my confidence and instead, let me know that I had safety nets I did not even know existed…. Staggeringly compassionate and empathetic act of kindness that makes me cry every time I think about.

  6. There have been many great things that friends have done for me over the years, but the unwavering concern and support of one of my best friends, in the medical insurance business – the daily calls, the help with medical issues, hospitals, paperwork, etc – when my father had cancer was incredible. She was a calming voice in a difficult time and I will always be grateful for that.

  7. Laura Kennedy says:

    I have a woman friend who stood by me when almost everyone else in my life abandoned me. She supported me with love, acceptance, good counsel, injections of a medicine I needed and couldn’t manage to do myself, gave me work, provided references so I could get an apartment, and then there was her endless, endless patience while listening to my sorrows. There is NOTHING that I would not do for Kate.

  8. Karen says:

    My friend knit me a scarf. This was huge for me, as I’m generally the one who knits for others–but to have someone put that time and effort into a “just because” gift for me? Priceless.

  9. n says:

    Good morning! Thanks for linking up to the Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop at Katherine’s Corner ;o) Speaking of girlfriends, I have to say that Katherine has truly been a girlfriend gift in my life. Although we have never met in person, and we live on in completely different parts of the country, our friendship has developed over the miles through our online correspondence, phone calls, and sweet notes in the mail. It is truly a blessing when we encounter those other women in the world who choose to be friends, no matter the geographical distance. Thanks for the sweet post and the inspiration to think about our friends! Nina @ Vintage Mama’s Cottage

  10. Nora says:

    Just asking how I was doing when everyone else had no idea how much I hurt!

  11. Ah, the beauty of friends! There are so many things that it’s hard to narrow down to one, so I have to share 2. The first is the compassionate listening that my best friends consistently offer. No judgement, no interjections, just mindfully listening as I share my life and then offering compassionate acknowledgement. That’s every day and I am so lucky and grateful to have friends who can offer that. The 2nd, is when my hair started falling out after my 2nd chemo and I called my best friend in an absolute panic and horror. My regular hairdresser couldn’t see me that day and to be honest, it would have been scary having my head shaved in public at a salon, so I didn’t know what to do, except that I knew I had to get the rest of my hair off my head that day as it was falling into everything and was freaking me out. She said, “Don’t worry, I’ll figure something out, and will call you right back.” Five minutes later she called to tell me that she had arranged to have her brother-in-law shave my head in her house later that day. My friend, her b-in-law (who I was knew well, so it wasn’t awkward) and her sister all sat with me while he carefully and lovingly shaved my head. I’ve rarely felt so cared for and loved in my life as I did that day. We laughed at the shape of my head and the oddity of being bald, we commiserated about the loss of my hair, but they turned it into a celebration of life instead of a mourning of the loss of my hair. I’ll always be grateful to them all for that. xo

  12. Wishing your friend well and I’m sure you are both looking forward to that wine and conversation session soon.
    The nicest thing a friend did to my rather recently was to present my with a little booklet which she typed out recalling all the fun we’ve had over the years, mentioning so many incidents that I had forgotten and ways in which I had made a difference to her life. 🙂

  13. A sweet, sweet story, Carol.

    One of the best things a friend fairly recently did was, upon attending an Anne Lamott book-signing affair, my friend — a non-grandma — bought Anne’s book on becoming a grandmother and had it signed for me. I was surprised and touched when she presented it to me as a gift, as I was terribly saddened I couldn’t attend the signing. Ah, friends…!

  14. I had an ominous call following my mammogram a few years ago…could I come back for another look, there was something on the film, and could I do it soon? I hung up the phone, called my friend Jane, knowing I would need the most important friend I had to be sitting there in the waiting room. I couldn’t even bring my husband or mother because I feared I’d be too consumed with their reaction to bad news to have my own. Jane was going through a hugely busy time in her life and job and asking her to take the day off, I felt, was like asking her to take a cut in pay but I knew I might need to fall apart. Her reaction: Absolutely. Do you want me to meet you there or pick you up? I can’t even write this without welling up to think of her face when I walked through the door, said “I’m fine,” and burst into tears.

  15. I love this post Carol. I cherish my friendships and could not imagine life without my wonderful friends.

  16. Carol, I actually told my husband that I needed my girlfriends for “intimacy.” The man didn’t even bat an eyelash. He knows he can’t fill the girlfriend-shaped hole in my heart.

  17. Lana says:

    I read this post this morning, and I have been thinking all day, trying to come up with something to add. And I can’t. Which is really very sad. Of course I have girlfriends, and even a few I would call close. I broke up with my best friend of 35 years because our relationship had become so toxic. In thinking back over those 35 years, I can’t come up with even one significant thing she ever did for me. Of course she did nice things, but usually accompanied by grumbling or with an agenda. This has given me so much to think about.

  18. Oh I love this post! Short and sweet. Father dies at 15 several years of booze/pills/men a threatened old fashioned ass kicking when I needed to know someone gave a shit. The platonic love of my life. She had a stroke 13 years ago at 41. Man that cut deep.

  19. This is such a great post, and I love that quote. I feel very lucky to have had many friends do many amazing things for me at times I really needed them and at times I didn’t know how much I did.

  20. Haralee says:

    What a great post about girlfriends. When I was going through cancer treatments and was quite ill I had one friend play the piano and sing to me over the phone. She is a terrible pianist and singer so it was sweet and funny and very dear.

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