Friends
Melodee and I became friends in an era when BFF was not a part of the lexicon of friendship. 33 years after first meeting in her Boston apartment, we have earned the respective titles.

We both married lawyer husbands, had two children, celebrated great career achievements and dismal failures. We saw one another through illness, the deaths of our mothers, divorce, and happy second marriages.

Through it all, I learned the value of asking for what I need from a friend. When going through a big life challenge like divorce, our friends want to help. They see our suffering and long to provide some comfort. Their intentions are good.

Getting clear about what you really need from your friends when going through tough times will empower your friends to give you what you need most.  Many will give you advice.  Is this what you need?  If so, embrace it.  If not, say so. Maybe you just need someone to listen.

Some will invite you out for drinks.  Is this what you need? If so, enjoy.  If not, perhaps you suggest going to the movies, taking a walk, or cooking a healthy meal together.

Others will not know what to do.  They will may say, “I wish there was something I could do” and genuinely not know how they can best show their concern for you.

Think about the natural gifts of your friends.  If one of them is a whiz with numbers, perhaps she will help you with your new budget.  If another is super organized, perhaps he will help you get your apartment in tip top shape.  If a friend just makes you laugh, get as much time with them as you possibly can. 

Melodee lives in Alaska and I live in Nebraska.  We have not lived in the same state for over 30 years.  When my husband died a few months ago, she desperately wanted to be here for me. I had an incredible circle of friends to see me through those days and asked her not to come. This week I travel to Anchorage for a week of resting, watching movies, talking, laughing, and crying.  Just what I need.

I am clear on what I need from my BFF and I’m glad to know how to ask for it.  Is there something you need from your friends during this time of your life?  When you see what it is, don’t hesitate to ask.  Whether or not you have a BFF like mine or not, chances are that when you say thanks to any friend who has helped you, you will hear, “That’s what friends are for.”

Coach Koenig

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