Thursday, October 30, 2014
Guest Blogger: Jane Freund writes about friendship
Meet Jane, this week's Guest Blogger! Jane Freund is an author, speaker and book coach based in Boise, Idaho - and she is my friend. See what Jane has to say about friendship.
A Freundly Investment
Here's a fascinating fact: You have 168 hours in your week (no more and no less). What you do with those hours is based upon the priorities you set. For me, with all of the possible activities I CAN do, one of the activities I know I NEED to do is make a Freundly investment with some of my precious 168. Let me explain more.
Since I was a child, I have had a fascination with friendship. This passion began with the realization that my last name "Freund" means "friend" in German. Although painfully shy as a child, I began a deliberate effort when I was in junior high to become more outgoing and make more friends. The further I delved into friendship, the more interest I developed in the topic. In fact, my first book, "The Fine Art of Female Friendships" is on the subject of friendships and I continue to write about and speak on the topic.
I define a friend as somebody who strives to put my best interest first and for whom I strive to do the same. Notice that I say "strive" because I don't expect perfection from my friends and I don't want them to expect it from me. Besides, perfection would be boring.
Speaking of boring, the benefits of friendships include getting to know people who are different than yourself. I would be bored if all of my friends were like me. I learn so much by connecting with people who challenge my thinking and teach me things I did not previously know.
Another benefit to friendships is to build a support team. Some of the most functional people I know have built a network of friends to be an integral part of their lives. By doing so, they have a support team of people to help them through illness, grief, family dysfunction and other struggles. When I had thyroid cancer, my friends were an incredible support as I recovered from the surgery and worked to get my synthetic thyroid balanced. (NOTE: You can read more about my cancer journey in my book: "Eggshells and Elephants")
However, the benefits of friendships are not limited struggles. Friends are terrific for sharing our victories and triumphs. My friends have cheered me along through each book I have written and the other personal and professional successes I have achieved.
OK yeah friends are important and all that's good stuff, but how are you supposed to make and to keep friends when you have your precious 168 hours in a week? Books have been written and more are yet to be done on this topic. For now, let me share some tips that have helped me be successful and effective in the friendship department.
- The seemingly little touches can have the biggest impact - I use texting to share quotes with friends, check in for a quick chat, or otherwise communicate that I am thinking of them.
- Reach out on social media to give a personal touch - I have a friend who is a math professor. On Facebook, when I find a funny quote or picture related to math, I post it to her Facebook wall. That's one way I show her that I am thinking of her and let her know I am glad she's part of my life.
- Pray for each other – Part of my precious 168 is taking time to pray and including the requests of those who are near and dear to me only make that blessing even more precious.
- Make a regular appointment - I have a friend I meet with once a month for coffee. We meet the same day of the month at the same time but change the place every once in a while. By having a consistent meeting set, we increase the likelihood that we're able to get together. Sometimes life happens and we can't meet but that's where daily forgiveness kicks in and we move on.
- Take personal responsibility – Saying "I am sorry" or "Please forgive me" are two ways to strengthen existing friendships or repair ones that are damaged. In a "just saying" society, taking personal responsibility can be very refreshing.
Certainly, friendships (AKA "Freundships") can be time consuming and take away from your precious 168. However, doing so can produce results that make the efforts very worthwhile. I challenge you to learn more about how to make friends and the benefits of such friendships. Better yet, make a Freundly investment in your current and future friendships. What are you waiting for?
Jane Freund is an author, speaker and book coach based in Boise, Idaho. She has written or co-written 16 print, audio and electronic books including "Best Friend Worst Enemy – Overcoming Self-Sabotage in YOUR Life" and "Wily Riley the Coyote Conqueror". Her latest book, "One Breath Closer to Heaven" will be available in November. Previously, Jane taught Communication for ten years at Boise State University. Her books can be found at http://bit.ly/visitjanefreundsonlinebookstore (if you want to support local business) and Amazon.You can find her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/janefreundauthorspeakerandbookcoach
Last week's Guest Blogger, Jennifer, wrote about "ME" time. Read it here.