Friends

MENOMINEE – As he sat reading a favorite novel, the quietness was shattered by the musical ringtone of his cell phone. It alerted him to an incoming call. Quickly picking up the phone, a very familiar voice greeted him and then asked him for advice and help, which he gladly gave.

They come in all sizes and shapes, races, genders, ethnic backgrounds and have impacted and enriched our lives. While traveling through the mountains and valleys of our lives, their only agenda is to provide assistance, support, and to have an unconditional acceptance of who we are. Therefore, with their support and encouragement, numerous problems have been solved and goals thought to be insurmountable have been attained.

We call these important people friends. Some of us are blessed with one, while others have many. Either way, just having one friend is priceless. You see, not only do they provide support as previously mentioned, but something much more-balance. By attaining an in-depth understanding of who you are, they have a unique insight to your inner self. This information can be utilized to separate emotion from the facts and enable one to make a more objective decision or solution to a problem.

For example, acting as a sounding board for when our frustrations and anger are at their pinnacle points, they will allow us to vent our emotions and, then, sometimes give advice. This outlet of emotions reduces our stress which, in turn, may reduce physical and psychological consequences.

Friends also afford us the opportunity to laugh at our own follies and at times “roast” us, all in good humor. I have personally experienced and have been exposed to the ribbing. Laughter, and laughing at one’s self with others, enables the body to release tension and reduce stress. This, in turn, adds to one’s enjoyment of life and makes it more positive.

Opportunities such as shopping, camping, walking, sports, road trips, hunting, and attending various clubs allow us time to share and build our friendships. These can also be outlets for just plain fun.

Here are some helpful hints to inform and thank your friends for how much of a meaningful difference they have made in your lives:

Meals – Why not treat your friend/friends to a meal and specifically thank them for what they did.

Cards & Letters – If your friend/friends live a distance away, why not send them a card or letter to thank them.

Telephone – If you cannot do the above, then by all means, call and thank them.

Summing it up, we may not see or converse with our friends for months or years, but when we meet again, it is as though nothing has changed and we pick up right where we left off.

I would like to thank all friends who make a positive difference.

Dan Paul is a retired school administrator. His columns, which explore family relationships, are published monthly in Lifestyles.