Tag Archives: encouragement

You’re My Favorite…

Do you have a best friend?

What constitutes a “best” friendship?

Take a look at this short clip (32secs) and then keep on reading…

2 Year-Old Best Friends

The kids in this clip are freakin’ cute! But that’s not the point. The interviewer (probably one of the moms) asks them if they are best friends. They look at each other and then answer yes.

Then they proceed to argue over which one was two or five, as if they both cannot be the same age and one of them owns that age.

The two two-year-olds have no clue what a “best” friendship is. At this age, they spend most of their time together because the parents facilitate their playtime. They haven’t experienced enough life yet to really say they are best friends.

Has one of them gone through something traumatic where the other one doesn’t judge, but consoles, listens and carries the burden of the other? Have they been tested in their friendship and shown they can overcome any external circumstances and become closer friends through it?

Of course not! The cool thing about this video is the fact that they are different ethnicities, and they are clueless to this fact other than they probably see they look different.

There are so many different ways we could go with this conversation, especially after watching this video. However, we are going to view this from the angle of how relationships go from surface to deeper friendships and what would cause us as adults to say we have a “best friend”.

Hopefully, those who are married would say this of their spouse. However, although married, each one could have someone else in their life that they would consider a best friend. The trouble with this, is how can you have two best friends?

Doesn’t the phrase “best friend” literally mean there are no other friendships in our lives that compare?

How does a “best friendship” develop?

The only answer we can give to this is time. I would like to suggest that we can only look back over time and assess whether a relationship is a “best friendship” by the tests placed on that relationship.

My wife and I have been married for almost 18 years (in March). We have often said of each other, that we are best friends. I can assure you, there is NO ONE else in my life that I can share as deep and meaningful a relationship than my wife.

We have been through many difficult circumstances and situations. We have shared some of the most wonderful experiences together. We have learned how to communicate (well, I’m still learning). There have been situations we have individually gone through where the other has had to step in and be the strength when the other was weak.

We have had to care for each other when either one of us was sick or had surgery. We have had to comfort each other when we have experienced a loss. We have “been there” just to listen, be a shoulder to cry on, encourage, and cheer up.

We have called each other on our weaknesses or mistakes (this one took a while).

We have certainly not developed a perfect friendship (because we are imperfect and still have a lot to learn), but with all we have experienced, positive and negative, we can say our friendship with each other cannot be compared to any other friendship in our lives.

Take a look at your list of friends. Who has been a constant, consistent, persistent person in your life who has influenced you and that you have allowed in your life to speak into the darkest parts of your past and the brightest areas of your life?

I have had friends over time that met these criteria. However, there are only a handful of people I can say have truly never judged me; have seen potential in me where I could not see it; have corrected me when I was being stupid or needed to be drug out of my negative emotions; let me vent until I was done and then didn’t tell me I should feel differently; allowed me to be the same for them.

There really is no other way to determine a “best friendship” unless it has been tested over time.

If we take it one step further, a meaningful relationship can only be determined through the test of time.

It is possible to have more than one meaningful relationship. As we have mentioned in previous posts, having a deep meaningful relationship with another person involves vulnerability, trust, love, good communication, respect, and many others we have yet to explore in this blog.

Is it possible for someone to be a best friend, but the “best” part is not reciprocated? Some may immediately answer no. In a marriage, which I believe should be the “best friendship” you ever have, the answer is definitely NO!

However, in other friendships it is possible. If we live our lives in such a way as to benefit others, treating them as we would want to be treated…then it is possible you or I could be someone’s best friend without them responding in kind.

Why would I want to be in relationship with another person where it was not reciprocated? Great Question!

The answer? Because we should strive to treat all people we come in contact with as we want to be treated.

Of course, you cannot be present, consistent, and persistent with everyone. You are only one person.

Nevertheless, there are fundamental attitudes and actions we can have with everyone that would be the basis for any friendship, and especially a “best friendship”.

They are…

Integrity, Honesty, Respect, Listening, Supportive, Generosity, Honor, Forgiveness, Truthfulness, and Encouragement.

I am sure there are others I could add to this list.

Our relationships are built on these and other fundamental qualities. When we exemplify them others will see authenticity in you.

So what is our goal? Are we to search and find that ONE person to be a best friend with? That depends on whether you are looking for a spouse.

I would encourage you to BE the friend you desire to have with others. Practice the fundamental qualities of relationship with others. Watch for those who will only take from you and be cautious in your vulnerability with them.

When your relationships are put to the test, you will discover which are meaningful and which are not. I am in no way saying you should allow yourself to be rolled over and taken advantage of.

I am saying that if you are looking for deep and meaningful friendships, you will find it difficult if you don’t at least take the risk.

With the person you consider to be your “best friend” – make sure you are respond in kind, otherwise you will jeopardize the relationship.

Do not be like the kids in the video you watched. Let time be the test of any friendship you have with others. In the meantime, BE a friend.

Thank you so much for continuing to read week after week. I would love to hear your thoughts. You can email me or respond to this post by Commenting below.


Negativity SUCKS!

Have you ever been around someone that never has anything positive to say?

Everyone has the right to be negative at some point in their lives.  There will be circumstances and relationships that could play a major role in affecting someone’s attitude.

The question is… when those times come in your life, would you rather swim in the murky waters of negativity or work your way to the clear waters of a positive perspective?

OH NO!  Not another POSITIVITY GURU!!!  I get it.  You do not wish to hear another person talk about how you should be positive no matter what the cost.  You are sick of having someone point out that if you “just have a positive attitude, your day will get better.”

Not to worry!

This is not a “Let’s Get Positive” speech.

What I will attempt to do here is to help us focus on our relationships, how important they are, and why it is important for each of us to be a part of someone’s life helping them to be positive.

This is a “It Takes Work and Relationship to Be Positive” exhortation.

Let’s think about a clear glass of water.  This clear glass of water is a representation of pure unadulterated positivity.  There is no negativity in a clear glass of water.

clear-glass-of-water

Over a person’s life, negative things will happen. Negative people will infect them. Negative thoughts will arise. Insecurities, imperfections, troubles outside of their control, and rejection can take their toll on someone. These negative experiences stay with us. If we are not careful, they can cloud our judgment and especially hurt our relationships with others.

Each time something negative happens in our lives, imagine the same cup of water with blue food coloring dropped into it.  The blue food coloring is a negative event, word, or thought.

Clear-glass-of-water-BLUE

Over time, many negative events begin to taint the clear water and turn it blue.

Clear-glass-of-water-More_BLUE

If we are not careful, the entire cup of clear water can turn blue.  This is when we allow negativity to take over our thought processes and it infects everything we do.

Negativity produces more negativity in relationships.  Have you ever been in a conversation where someone shares a negative story, and all of a sudden the conversation takes a giant leap into who can share the most negative information?

So how can we be a positive influence in our relationships with others to stop or even reverse the negative cycle?  There is a tendency in some where we just want to avoid any negative people, circumstances and relationships.  However, this just adds more blue food coloring to the already tainted water in someone’s life.

How do you take a negative person or relationship and turn it into a positive one?  How do you remove the blue food coloring from a cup of water?

Please forgive the water and coloring analogy, but this is where it gets interesting!

You could poor out the water, wash the cup and fill it up again.  This would be unrealistic in this case because no one can undo something negative that happens or that is said to them.

The best way to rid the cup of water of blue food coloring is to stick it under a faucet of clear water and continually fill the cup to overflowing until all the blue coloring has been washed out of it.

This is where we come in.  If we begin to pour into our relationships encouragement, love, caring, respect, dignity, a listening ear, appreciation, affirmation, gratitude and anything that lifts a person above their circumstance, eventually the negativity in their life will slowly begin to disappear.

Unfortunately you cannot stop negativity in this life. You and I CAN keep the faucet of positivity flowing so we do not allow the negativity to cripple us or those we are in relationship with.

This can be applied at work, at home, at church, with your friends, and with your family.

Recently on Facebook, there have been friends that have been challenged to share three things they are thankful for, I’m assuming in order to focus more on the positive side of life than the ever-so-prevalent negative side of life. This is a great way to begin to change the color of the water back to crystal clear fresh perspective!

The next time you have a friend or co-worker that is being overly negative, take some time and feed in some positive encouragement – not in a fake way. Instead of shying away from them, decide to be the positive flow in their life.  You may earn a deeper friendship in the process.

Take caution though! Beware that in your desire to take this on, you too can allow the negativity you are trying to overcome to overtake you. This is counter-productive.  Look for your own source where you can refresh yourself, gain a more positive perspective in your life and flush out the negativity that can cloud your thinking, your decisions and your relationships.

Try an experiment at home with a cup of clear water, any color of food-coloring, and a faucet of clear water. Start with the clear cup and drop as many droplets as you can into and allow the food-coloring to overtake the water completely changing its color. Then begin to slowly turn on the faucet and watch the color change back to clear.

Let the experiment be a reminder of how we need to keep refreshing our minds, have an outlet and develop our relationships where negativity can be flushed on a constant basis.

Take 10 minutes and watch this video by Alison Ledgerwood (Social Psychologist) called, Getting Stuck in the Negatives (and How to Get Unstuck).

I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Please post a comment below. If you like the article, share it with your friends.