Today is my best friend’s 22nd birthday. Sarah and I have been friends for more years than we haven’t been - this year we’ll celebrate 16 years of friendship. We’ve been through a lot together and we often get asked how we’re able to stay friends through the distance, the challenges, the struggles, and everything else life throws our way.

The answer is simple. Friendships are partnerships. Two people come together and bond over a commonality and that commonality evolves into a relationship. As that relationship blossoms, it becomes a true friendship. That friendship then must be watered and nurtured just like a beautiful flower. The flower only stays beautiful and blooming if it is watered, given adequate sunlight and proper care. In the same way, friendships deserve this same level of attention.

The way that a friendship is cared for is simple and really comes down to three truths:

  • Friendship cannot be expected. Each individual must treat it as a gift, without parameters or expectations from the other. People show their love and concern for others in very different ways. In the same way that romantic relationships have two partners that each have their own love languages, friendships have two partners that have their own styles of caring.
  • Friendship cannot be demanded. I live 3 hours away from my best friend. Her birthday is on a weeknight. As much as I would love to take her out to dinner or for a few drinks, it is just not possible for me to drive six hours round trip on a weeknight and still keep my sanity at work the next day. Friends understand situations like this and do not place demands from the other partner in the friendship.
  • Friendship cannot be disrespected. As much as it’s unfair to have obnoxiously high expectations for a friend, absurdly low expectations are also unfair. Don’t be the person that refuses to ever reach out first. Please be willing to call and set up drinks or just to check in. Friendships are a symbiotic relationship – and the balance from both sides is necessary to maintain them.

    Want to make more mindful connections? Come to our workshop on How To Build & Maintain Meaningful Relationships on February 10th!

    Dannie Fountain-Jagodzinski is an entrepreneur and marketing professional. She loves tennis and photography and on the weekends you’ll find her catching up on my favorite Netflix show – Orange is the New Black.

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