The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart. ~ Elizabeth Foley
What does it take to be a best friend? Stop for a moment and think about who is that person you consider to be your best friend. What is it about this particular individual that so wins you over that you confidently bestow upon them the crown and scepter of best friend? How long have they held this important position in your life? And how lucky are you to have such a supportive, encouraging, helpful individual at your side as you walk your path of life?
In retired life, our best friend can be an important link to our sanity and happiness. With the free time that retirement brings as well as the challenges we face with aging, a best friend who has been with us and is going through the same experiences is a friend indeed. That number one friend is who we turn to no matter what the situation and get honest feedback without fear of being judged. Sometimes, our best friend helps us through a difficult patch by actively doing something and other times by doing nothing at all. Consistently focusing on what is best for us, truly for our own good, is a delicate balancing-act that only one privy to our real feelings and true motivations can hope to maintain. Whether we are in the right or in the wrong, our best friend will be straight with us because she can. She is the person with whom our defenses are down, our heart is open, and our honesty is pure. More than anyone else, she is our BEST friend.
Friendship is a sheltering tree. ~ Samuel Coleridge
Looking at my wife (which I love to do each and every chance I get!), I find a combination of strength, wisdom, patience, good humor, and love that helps to keep me sane, smiling, and just plain happy to be alive. Each day together is a blessing which we consciously appreciate and we are so perfect for each other that friends and family often roll their eyes in amazement. No doubt about it, she is my Best Friend Forever (or as the kids text, BFF). If I take a step back and consider what it is about her and the way she treats me and our relationship, there are a few key elements that I believe are shared by all of our Best Friends Forever.
- Keep our secrets – what happens between us and our best friend STAYS between us and our best friend. This is the basis of the trust that allows us to safely open up and share our deepest feelings. If we have to cautiously qualify what we share we would too often skirt the real issues. Since we can speak openly with no fear of what we say going beyond our BFF, real matters can be addressed while a course of action is formulated.
- Know all of our “buttons” – best friends know what makes us tick. They have been through a lot with us and because of that, our pet peeves and frustrations and sensitive areas as well as our happy places are common knowledge. In the rare event that an argument may arise or a heated moment occurs, our BFF will not go to those places. Knowing what are our weak spots and understanding how deeply felt our feelings in those areas can be, our “buttons” are off limits.
- Rational thinker – in a moment of passion, when we are not thinking clearly, our best friend is there to settle things down and encourage us to take a deep breath. She is our safe port in a violent storm of irrational and emotional waves. And should someone inadvertently push one of our “buttons”, she can quickly step in to diffuse the situation knowing that the seemingly insignificant offense in fact runs deeply. With her guidance, we see that it is not the end of the world, there is a solution to be found, and together, we will find it. Just take her hand and follow her lead.
- Encouraging when things get bad – best friends are there to lift us up when the rest of the world weighs heavily on our shoulders. Optimism is her middle name and nothing makes her happier than turning a frown upside down. Listening, understanding, sympathizing, and eventually suggesting a way out of our funk, our BFF gets us back on our feet in no time at all. And she does not give up until we get there!
- Always ready with a hug – that pretty much says it all.
It’s the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter. ~ Marlene Deitrich
Best Friends Forever. Where would we be without our Best Friend? Who knows us better and yet loves us still? We should be thankful for Best Friends and appreciate them in our lives. We have come this far together and helped each other in many ways that we may not even be consciously aware of. By being there and caring, no strings attached. But hey, what are Best Friends for?
Don’t forget to pick up a free copy of my Navigating the Retirement Jungle, available upon request by mailing to firstname.lastname@example.org.