MsDora, former teacher and Certified Christian Counselor shares tips for smooth relationships with friends and for encounters with strangers
Returning after five years to a city in the United States where I previously lived and worked, I met with my old friends. The joy I experienced from the reunion had less to do with how long I had known them or how much I had missed them, and more to do with how they made me feel.
If I could, I would have bottled the good feelings so I could pour them out whenever I need a dose of happy memories. Instead, I try here to capture them in print while they still warm my heart.
On days when my sense of happiness needs a boost, reading this page will help me relive the pleasurable feelings I experienced during my visit with my friends. Hopefully, others will relate and share my joy.
Soul connections are not often found and are worth every bit of fight left in you to keep. –Shannon L. Alder
Each of my friends had communicated with me, though not often, on Facebook or on the phone. Even when there was a long pause between conversations, we were certain that the friendship was intact. When we met and our bodies connected in hand clasps and embraces, the physical touch was a solid affirmation that the souls and spirits were also connected.
My friends could still interpret my smiles and my sighs. I still understood when a line spoken with a serious face was intended to make us laugh. We were an emotional and spiritual part of each other and as long as our visits lasted, our happy connection enclosed us in our own happy world.
No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are thoroughly persuaded of each other's worth. –Robert Southey
There is an important reason that motivates us to nurture this bond of friendship that stretches but does not break over time and distance. We value each other. Beyond the doctoral degrees which two of them have earned, and the differences in academic qualifications between the rest of us, there is high regard for the successful strides we have made and for the fact that we have contributed positively to each other’s lives.
On the job, we had cheered each other on when our efforts went unnoticed by management. In the church, we had inspired each other to excellence in leadership. In our homes, we had shared our struggles and prayed for our children. We appreciated the individual worth of each one. When we met, our generous praise of each other rekindled our sense of personal worth.
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Keep your friendships in repair, and then see if you do not find your horizon broadened, your life sweetened, and the weary weight of this sad old world lightened. –Silas X. Floyd
These friends had been absent from my life since my return to the Caribbean to become my mother’s caregiver. Had anyone of them been physically present, my load would have been lighter; my loneliness would have been less intense. Why am I so sure? We had been practical help and support for each other in the past. Therefore, just being in their presence revived me.
We talked about the encouragement we had shared in our previous interactions. We laughed about the days when the one on the mountaintop gave advice to the one in the valley, then had to be reminded to take her own medicine when positions shifted. We looked at photographs that showed us working, eating and playing together. We believed in ourselves again, and in the power of togetherness.
Old friends are the great blessing of one's later years . . . They have a memory of the same events and have the same mode of thinking. –Horace Walpole
“Remember when” began many of our sentences. Then, with our mental eyes we watched the reruns of episodes which told the stories of our personal strides, or showed significant development in our friendship.
One such episode reminded us of a certain friend who scouted through the weekend newspaper, searching for coupons for our favorite restaurant buffet. We ate well even though we could not afford the more luxurious establishments. Whenever we dined out, it was a celebration of our resolve to enjoy our lives with the money we could afford, rather than pine for the money we wished we had. We decided on our three of four course servings, then postured ourselves like princesses. The only difference between us and royalty was that we served ourselves.
During my visit, we discovered that the name of the restaurant had changed, but the food and the service were exactly what we had missed. We were sad that dining together could no longer be a habit, but we were happy to do it one more time.
Remember that the most valuable antiques are dear old friends. –H. Jackson Brown
People who live long enough to retire are privileged. They are free to visit other retired friends as well as those who have less opportunity for travel because they still have jobs. It was my privilege to visit my three friends who, like me, have retired, as well as the other three who have not. Above all the other feelings described earlier, there was the feeling of gratitude for life with which we all are still blessed.
We are also grateful for the privilege of being friends and having friends--blessings which we do not take for granted. Our friendships are proven and destined to last throughout our lifetime. Added to the joy of our relationship is the fact that we all maintain connection with God, the Source of love that inspires true friendship.
3 Ways to Nurture Old Friendships
- Schedule regular chats on FaceTime or the telephone. It is great to call anytime, but chat time can also be something to look forward to - every Monday night, every other Saturday night, or whenever the friends decide.
- Send a piece of yourself occasionally, in a handwritten letter or greeting card. Bonnie Cohen, certified life and relationship coach puts it this way: "You’ve chosen the card, touched the paper, signed your name and licked the stamp. A message you send through the mail literally contains your DNA.”
- Plan to meet. Whenever possible, attend conferences sponsored by organizations that you both know; plan a trip for sight-seeing in a city neither of you have visited before; or just take turns visiting each other. Every two or five years is better than never.
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© 2017 Dora Weithers