What Does It Mean To Be a True Friend?

Lately I have had more than my share of friends and acquaintances ask for my opinion on sensitive subjects, or just share with me a situation they are facing. These are work related, relationship related and family related…all very personal.

My first thoughts tend to be, “Do they want to just vent, do they want me to validate their choices, or do they want my honest opinion?”

I find most people just need to articulate their dilemmas and are simply looking for confirmation that they are reading the situation correctly. These people seem grateful to hear a different perspective regarding implementing what they already know. Sometimes just receiving validation that you are in fact on the right path is very empowering.


The really challenging situations are when friends confide in me that they are doing something causing my brain to yell in big red letters, “RUN AND DON’T LEAVE A FORWARDING ADDRESS!!”


The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. Yet whether due to guilt, hopefulness, regret or any other emotion, the reality is that most every human being walking the face of the earth has occasionally experienced this.

So, what does it mean to be a true friend? Do you sit quietly as you watch a friend enter a tunnel hoping that the light at the end isn’t an on coming train? Or, do you tell them that you hear the whistle and see the smoke?

No one wants to rain on a friend’s parade or burst his or her bubble. No one wants to see their friends choose a path that is certain to cause heartache and sadness. We are faced with many situations in our lives where there isn’t a clear and right answer. I watched a TV show last year where a singer accused his former wife of giving up on their love. Her response was, “How could I know that the 9th time you went to rehab it would work”? She gave up on the 8th time.

My point in sharing the above story: No one really knows if this time the outcome will be different, even if the odds seem stacked against it.

Since I don’t have a crystal ball, I have decided to do the following: Unless I am asked my honest opinion, I will keep my thoughts to myself, although wondering whether I am indeed being a true friend. I welcome all comments.


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What’s the Difference?

What’s the Difference?
We were all seated around the dining room table.  Eating, laughing, playing games and enjoying the end of the year holidays.
My older brother observed the group.  Then, with much thought he said, “We have people here that are from the South, from the Mid West and from the West Coast.  We have several different religions, and every side of the political spectrum that you could think of.  We have people ranging from 10 to 70. Our family has a mixture of kids who are adopted, kids who aren’t, blended households and sexual diversity.”
Some are highly educated, some not.  Some well traveled, some not.  As my sister-in-law lovingly said, “We are a mixed bag of nuts.”
Under normal circumstances our group would not be friends.  Under normal circumstances our paths would probably not even cross.  And, yet, we had much more in common than not.  At least, in the things that are important.  And, we had a great time.
Raising kids, providing a stable environment, understanding our world, supporting friends, finding meaning and experiencing life. 
Wouldn’t it be nice if instead of judging the differences in each other we could embrace them?
I think so.  You?

Isn’t Life Ironik?

The reason the show ‘American’s Funniest Videos’ is so popular is because we are watching someone else’s family or pet do something ridiculous.  Most of us tend to have a sense of humor and play when it isn’t so close to home.
That brings me to my present situation.  My mother.  She has recently been moved to the ‘Memories/Reminiscence’ area of the assisted living place in which she lives.  My older brother likes to call it, ‘The place where the door does NOT swing in both directions.”
While we are sad and are dealing with very real and hard emotions, we find ourselves also laughing.  There are so many funny things that young children and the elderly do.  Heck, we all do some very funny things.
Perhaps many would find my family odd.  Or, perhaps, many would think we are insensitive.  The first might be true, however not the second.  We are very involved with our mother’s care.  We would fly across the country to take care of her.  The entire family is concerned and there for her.
And yet, we find the humor and share the irony of getting old.  Our mother’s as well as our own.
I think we could all use a dose of laughter.  I think sometimes we take ourselves and our lives way too seriously.  Find the funny.  It is all around us.  Learn to laugh at yourself.  It is very cathartic.
Something to think about it.


Tis The Season

There is no question that this time of year brings MANY feelings out into the open.  Everyone tends to talk about Happy, Merry, Good Wishes, and yet……..
Whether you are baking a pie from a recipe your grandma handed down, or meeting your new boyfriend’s family for the first time.  Whether you are thinking about past relationships or when your parents lived together and had family dinners, this time of year is VERY stressful.
I have friends who have grandchildren that won’t be with them because it is an every other year holiday.  I have friends who lost their parents or siblings recently and are thinking about them.
We all reflect on times past.  We all think about times that seemed less complicated.  Ending things.  Starting over.  New traditions.  All of these things come into our thoughts and minds at this time of year.
With traffic at a standstill, malls over-crowded with busy, rude people, it is more than challenging to keep calm and truly enjoy the holidays.
So, my advice?  Remember the past fondly, while you plan for the future with hope and faith.  But, more importantly, enjoy the moments you are in, because there might come a time when they will be the good old days that you will miss and can’t get back.

Don’t Sweat What You Can’t Control

In the movies, the holidays are presented as a time when families and friends get together to eat, laugh and share their blessings.  Even if things start out tense, it always ends up with brotherly love and picture perfect memories.
Real life, especially these days, and the movies we watch aren’t always in sync.  With blended families and his, hers, theirs and ours, it is virtually impossible to please everyone.
There is one day called Thanksgiving, one day called Easter and one day called Mother’s Day, etc.  It is challenging at best to be everywhere at once. 
Isn’t the important thing that no matter when we get together, even if it is the day before Thanksgiving or the Sunday after Mother’s Day that we enjoy our family and friends?
Isn’t the important thing that we make memories and cherish our times together when we can?
Instead of making our children feel guilty, instead of getting our feelings hurt, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could open our hearts and our minds to not look at a calendar, but instead look at the people around the table and be happy for the time we do have?
I think so!


Who is in Charge?

 It has been my observation that children don’t change.  It is the adults that do.  I recently spent two days with my grandson.  The hotel was on the beach.  There was a pool, and the grounds had all sorts of outdoor activities.
We had just one rule.  All electronics were to stay in the room (yes, mine included). 
I think what made the biggest impression on me was not the change in the children from this generation, but in fact their parents and grandparents. The adults that entered the pool or walked down to the beach or tossed a ball with their kids were the most relaxed and had what appeared to be the most fun. 
Then there were the adults that were lying on lounge chairs texting and talking with friends.  They would look up from time to time, wave to their kids and go back to their devices.  Their kids were not laughing as much and were constantly yelling, “Look at me, look at me.”  They really wanted to engage with their parents.

I have had several friends complain about their young ones’ lack of awareness of their world.  Their complaint is that in a car or at a meal, the kids have their eyes down and their mind on a game.  
Perhaps if parents spent time playing word games or singing songs in the car along with sharing their thoughts and day with each other during dinner, there would be more interaction and connection.
When I make mention that, “You are the parent, remove the distraction,” I have been told I don’t understand what it is like to raise a child in today’s world.  Actually, what I don’t understand is the adults allowing their kids to run the household.

Think about it!