My Grandmother gave great advice. In regard to friends she said:
“You need to have more than just a few friends. It’s good to have lots.”
My mother also seemed to adhere to the same philosophy and so did many people around me. In this FACEBOOK age of people having hundreds or thousands of “friends” I wonder how people keep up with them all? How can you expend the time and emotional energy to cultivate real relationships among thousands? You can’t. And what do you do when the friendship no longer works?
What I wish my grandmother would have said is: that friendships are like gardens – You need to nurture them, feed them, you can’t ignore them and you MUST get rid of the weeds.
The other day I spent some time helping a friend do some weeding outside. What I like about my friend, I’ll call him Rob, is that I know I can count on him. I was traveling once and my wife took a fall. I was thousands of miles away and I knew that he would go over my house and see how she was doing. Our friendship grows because we both feed into it.
I also know that in a garden sometimes you have to cut back a plant in order for it to thrive, become fuller, or bring out its beauty. So too with weeding out friendships that didn’t work, took too much work, are 1 sided, or had simply failed to grow. I try to find friends who are a splendid and varied garden of people. But in order for me to enjoy the unique beauty they offer, I have to tend to them, nurture them, pay attention to them. If I don’t pay attention and weed the garden when it’s necessary, if I allow the weeds to take over, the beauty will be overrun, and the garden will fail to bloom.
Advice to my readers- Remember to feed your friendships, take care of them and they will take care of you. And don’t forget to pull out the weeds.