Monday, August 15, 2011

The Family We Choose

Whether we're exchanging stupid IMs at work about Kanye falling on stage, prancin' around like goons on the dancefloor, or offering kind words during life's rough patches, I cherish every minute with my friends. Unlike family, your friends have the option of having you in their lives or not. Your ass is crazy (don't fight it!), so you should feel honored that somebody wants to put up with you and your antics. I am forever in debt to my friends for that reason alone, and I bust my ass to pay my dues.

we enjoy long walks on the beach, how i met your mother, folk music, and cold beer.

I wasn't always this conscientious about my relationships with others. When you're young, life moves especially fast: demanding college coursework, serious relationships, growing families, blossoming careers, and friends are moving across the country. Sometimes we are so concerned with our own affairs that we don't give our friendships the attention they deserve. Does that mean we don't love our friends? Heck, no. It just means we're busy and life gets the best of us sometimes.

there are no words for this one. she crazy.

my favorite travel partner

But I am a firm-believer that being aware is half the battle. If you recognize that nurturing friendships takes time and effort and you're willing to work on that, then you're well on your way to reaching BFF status. Here are some pointers:

1. Make time. This is the most important rule. Make plans with others. Say yes to invitations. Keep your commitments. Don't be a flake. Show up.

2. Be a good listener. Ask questions. Be engaged. Remember things. Give them a chance to talk without coming up with a rebuttal before they finish a sentence. Care about what's going on with others.

3. Speak. Open up and be vulnerable. Tell them your secrets. Tell them how awesome they are. And if you're upset with them, say so. It's not fair to be angry without giving them a chance to explain themselves (then revert back to #2).

4. Support. Show up to their poetry slam. Eat their burnt lasagna. Celebrate birthdays and other milestones. Be that shoulder to cry on when their family member dies or their idiot boyfriend chunks them a deuce. If it's real to them, you need to step up to the plate.

5. Be honest. Don't go giving a harsh opinion on everything, but give constructive criticism when you deem fit, and especially when they ask for advice. And just tell the truth, even when it's scary. If you do this with love, they'll appreciate it in the long run.

6. Accept. Understand that friendships change and sometimes you won't be as close. That's normal and totally OK. Be forgiving and non-judgmental. Your friends are gonna do some Grade A moronic stuff, or things you don't agree with. They're gonna date someone you don't like, have opposing religious or political beliefs, or hang out with the wrong crowd. Nobody takes the same path in life. Mistakes and personality differences add meaning to our lives and give us an opportunity to grow. Make room.

7. Have fun, dammit. Don't be a freakin' drag. Keep an open mind and a light heart. Be interesting! Have inside jokes. Reminisce. Travel. Eat well. Drink well. Live well.

sylvia always encourages me to be myself. and she makes a mean chocolate cake.

this girl. di. her sightings are rare.

ana's responsible for all of my hobby hoarding

professional latin hip-hop dancer, emily


  1. you really are such a great friend!

    I miss you <3

  2. That's super sweet, Pam! Love you and miss you!

  3. I'll admit it, I've lost myself in motherhood and along the way lost some friendships. But, I'm getting better and the friends that remain are just what I need at this time. Your advice is great, as always!
    Loves you Lindita!

  4. It's understandable. Lots of things change when you become a mother... You're still an awesome friend, Mikki. Love you, too, doll!

  5. I'm gonna go buy us a plot at the cemetary, next to each other. This is how long I want you in my life! FFL

  6. a plot at the cemetery! hahahaha! you're my ride or die, syl! luh you!!!

  7. rare but awesome?!? yeeesss awesome :) its always an adventure amiga thank you!!!!