Who are your friends?

25 08 2010

“Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose.”

(Tennessee Williams)

This week I met up with a couple of friends from when I was a student. Time has passed since we were all together, and our lives have taken different directions but within moments it felt like it had only been moments since we had all been together, with that relaxed ease that I find comes with being with true friends.

Several years ago I was at a training when in a break one of the other trainers was showing me an exercise with a metaphor playing with the idea of what friends mean to you. I’m going to paraphrase the exercise here but the basic idea was as follows:

1)      Using a selection of coins arrange the coins on your hand to represent you and your friends.

2)      Now remove a selection of those coins and notice your reaction.

I was very happy doing the first step but really disliked removing any coin from the arrangement. Imagining the coin removing itself was a different experience again.

What was interesting was that those of us playing at the time had different experiences with exactly the same instructions.

Personally, I have selected friends because I want them in my life – sure I may have met some through work, hobbies, or just being in the right place at the right time but I class them as a friend by choice. Which means that I didn’t want to remove any but could respect any removing themselves.

Others found it easy to remove some coins with very little thought.

What became apparent to me is that the word friend can mean different things to different people. As I sat down to write this piece I referred to the dictionary to find what it’s definition is:

Friend: noun

  1. A person with whom one is on terms of muteral affection independent of sexuality or family love.
  2. A helpful thing or quality; darkness was our friend
  3. A helper, sympathizer, or a patron; Friends of the cathedral

The origins of the word friend comes from Old English meaning “to love or to favour,”

Personally one of my favourite definitions is the following quote:

“A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are.”

(Author unknown)

You may want to explore your own definitions of what friends mean to you but this week I invite you to answer the following question:

If you were your own best friend, someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are, what would you do differently?

Have a week full of friendship




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