Sunday Inspiration: How To Be A Friend

How to be a friend

I’m turning today’s Sunday Inspiration over to my husband, who has the following to say–and is clearly used to saying important things on Sundays after 40 years in ministry:

Friendship is a theme of many, if not all, of Emilie’s books. The Goddess series, which is the latest, is about a group of women who learn what real friendship means. So I’ve been thinking a lot about how to be a friend, as clearly she has, too.

My life is blessed with good friends who can sing the song in my heart back to me when I have forgotten the words. We recently went on a cruise with three other couples, and we had such a wonderful time talking and eating and playing that now we’re planning our next one.  I have friends I play tennis with and others I dine with and others I enjoy sitting with to chat about subjects small and large.

To be a friend is not just fun and games; it takes work and intentionality. I believe we need to be able to do three things well.

First of all, and most important, we have to listen, not only to the words of the other person but to what he or she is saying between the words. All of us know people who are eager to tell us all about their lives rather than take the time to listen to what we have to say. But a true friend ask questions that gently penetrate our hearts. A friend will listen, quietly, patiently. What greater gift can we be given than to have someone who loves us so much he or she will listen to our greatest joys and deepest sorrows?

Second, a friend will speak from the heart with no pretenses, no fears, no games. She or he will speak the truth with love, not wanting to hurt us but also knowing that we need to hear what is sometimes hard to hear. She will take in our pain and let it be hers. And he will use words and hugs to heal us.

Lastly, a friend will bring joy into our lives by being who she/he is with no apologies. She will laugh at our jokes, even though they may not be that funny. And he will celebrate our successes with gusto and pride.

I am so grateful for friends. How about you?


  1. Rosemary on March 29, 2015 at 7:30 am

    Friends are wonderful!

  2. wendy on March 29, 2015 at 7:42 am

    I’ve always been a good listener. What that meant way back was I was shy. Afraid to contribute. Afraid of criticism. I would sit in a group and daydream. Let the conversation flow around me. Never offering an opinion in case someone laughed at me. I was labelled a “good listener”.
    But was I?
    Actually yes, for even those times when I zoned out, somehow the conversation penetrated and I was able to answer a question, to recall what someone had just said.

    Over the years of raising children I did become a true “good listener”. I listened to my children and family. I learned things I would have missed, kernels of truth I would never have suspected, had I not been listening with my heart.

    More years have gone by and I’m a grandmother now – living alone. I’ve lost that part of me, that “listening” part when I’m around friends. Now my need is to be heard. I talk out of turn, clamouring to say my piece like a small child. It’s usually after I’ve gone home that I realize how I’ve behaved, and feel ashamed.

    At my daughter’s home there are times when I feel her patient smile as she divides her attention between her children and me. I remember smiling like that at my own mother as she told me something trivial – interrupting one of my children in the middle of an important story.

    Long comment about one aspect of friendship – thanks for bringing this up this morning, for bringing the art of listening back into focus for me.
    What’s been playing in the back of my mind for the last few years (I realized I’ve stopped listening, but usually after the fact), you’ve brought to light. I needed to hear your words this morning now will make a point of stopping to listen first and speak afterwards.

    Have a good Sunday!

    • Emilie Richards on March 29, 2015 at 9:20 am

      This is a wonderfully thoughtful reply, and I appreciate you sharing it. I have a feeling you might be a good teacher, able to listen and be heard. Have you thought about tutoring for literacy? Or another similar possibility?

      • wendy on March 29, 2015 at 9:41 am

        Oh Emilie – my first love was teaching. Unfortunately, I did not go to university to become a teacher. In those days that profession was flooded (my older brother became a history professor), and my parents discouraged me.
        Actually my very first love was to be a Mother. Plain and simple. Have babies. So I did – at an early age (20).

        However, I’ve never stopped teaching. I’ve lead “creative visualization” circles and taught tai chi in seniors’ residences. I read palms as a way of teaching about the inner self – not predicting the future.

        Now I have 11 grandchildren and through gentle discussion, and (hopefully) setting a good example, I’m still teaching.
        Even my writings are teaching from my own experience, combined with words of wisdom I’ve learned from others.

        I have thought of volunteering to teach in a literacy programme, but haven’t gotten there yet. Perhaps that’s a good next step (just sold my house and plan to move again – cannot seem to settle since dear hubby passed away). Once I’m installed in a new home, I think I will reach out and take your valued suggestion to heart.

        Thank you – this has been an incredible way to start the day! Namaste

        • wendy on March 29, 2015 at 9:44 am

          Sorry for the spelling error – should have read “led creative….” not “lead creative….”

        • Emilie Richards on March 31, 2015 at 3:26 pm

          Wendy, you sound happily busy and very productive. Love that you teach Tai Chi. If you do decide to do literacy tutoring, let me know. I’ll cheer you on.

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