FriendsThis was written in an 1859 novel by Dinah Maria Craik: “Oh the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person, having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all  right out, just as they are—chaff and grain together—certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keeping what is worth keeping, and with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.”

Though most of us can only imagine sifting chaff and grain, even the bff crowd (as in best friends forever) relate to these words written a very long time ago.  A true friend is one of life’s most precious gifts and the best of comforts.

From very young children to those in their later years, and everyone in between, I see in my work that friendship is the thing that helps most in getting through the hard times as well as in celebrating the good times in life.  Loneliness is not really about being physically alone; it is mostly about not feeling connected with the self and with others.

The capacity for friendship depends in part on our ability to take a risk.  The chance of betrayal is the price required to move forward in the great adventure of trusting another human being.  When trust has been broken, it especially requires courage to try again, but the alternative is to be safe but without  feeling “the inexpressible comfort” of friendship.

Eligibility for “bff” requires loyalty, whatever the “weather.”  It requires patience and kindness.  It requires the energy to be there for the other person when we may not feel like it.  It requires truth and honesty and, at times, gentle confrontation. Being these things to another is a first step in realizing a friendship.  “To make a friend, we must first be one.”