How’ve you been, really?

One of my best friends made a gem of a statement the other day that started me thinking about friendship and mindfulness.  We’ve been best friends since we were kids and have stayed best friends even as careers and families kept us geographically distant the last few decades.

Although we live in separate parts of the country at the moment, whenever we catch up, often months apart, it feels like it was yesterday since we spoke.  When we fill each other in on what’s been happening, my friend described it like we both have these ’bonus bubbles of life’ between our catch ups.  As if the real world is the brief time we spend together, everything else has a sense of scripted alternate reality. Goes to show how present we are and invested in the moment when we’re together. Mmm sounds like we’re being mindful.

Pooh and Piglet (2)

Best friends are priceless

My friend’s comment got me thinking about what makes a friendship so deep and easy that you can slip into that trusting, honest sharing straight away?

This is not the kind of ‘life is rosy’ highlights that we tend to post on social media but the real world stuff, the angst, the pain, the failures, the joy, the love, the accomplishments.  Being totally present for each other and mindful of the precious nature of the time we have together.

So why is it that some friendships are so comfortable that they stand the test of time and distance? That when they ask ‘how are you? They really want to know, warts and all.

For me it’s about trust, care and love.

The relationship is built on a shared set of values, you trust each other and know that you have each other’s back and would drop everything and come-a-running if the call for help went out.

More than that, you’re interested in the minutiae of the person’s day, you really care about the little things and the big things.  And they’re equally interested in yours.

You exchange hopes and dreams, recipes and shopping bargains and listen with compassion, offer ideas and love each other for who you are, all the mundane and marvelous mixed together.

So try this exercise with trust, care and love as your filter.

  1. Take a few moments to think about your best friends, the people you trust and care about and love.  Write their names in your journal.
  2. Do you give them your full attention when you meet, staying present with them, diving deep into the good stuff and holding their head above water to stop them drowning in the bad stuff? Write down your thoughts about how mindful you are.
  3. Now list all the times they’ve been there for you, good and bad and somewhere in between.  Let yourself sit in gratitude for their friendship for a moment then send them a big swirl of love.

When was the last time you spoke to them and asked them how they were, really?

Maybe it’s time to ask them again and to listen really carefully when they tell you.

Thanks for reading.


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