As a little girl in the mid-seventies, I began collecting friendships that have lasted for four decades. Back then, Laura, Sarah, Susan, and I loved nothing more than to grab our sleeping bags and huddle in Susan’s living room for weekend slumber parties at her parent’s house in Chugiak, Alaska.
|Volleyball team, 1978. Can you find all four of us?
This past weekend, the four of us caravanned to Sarah’s cabin and enjoyed a slumber party at Big Lake.
It turns out, the conversations haven’t evolved that much, really. During our slumber parties in the 70’s, the four of us spoke predominantly of boys and bras. This weekend, we spent much of our time talking about boys and bras, with brief detours into children, pets, and the newest evidence of aging as we approach 50.
I’ve been asked how my little group of grade school friends managed to keep our friendships alive and well. Below are my top four secrets to lifelong friendships.
|The four of us at Susan’s wedding, 2002.
1)Listen to understand, not to respond.
It’s tempting to give advice when there’s talk of health quirks, family concerns, or career blunders. But I’ve noticed conversation is healing when we don’t, instead taking the time to carefully hear one another and suspending judgment.
2)Make time for each other.
Between jobs, kids, and other obligations, time is at a premium, but we’ve always managed to squeeze time for a cup of coffee or dinner once or twice a year. We’ve increased our group times to four times annually now, and even added an occasional retreat like this weekend’s.
3)Discover new ways to have fun
In junior high, it was volleyball. Post college, it was line-dancing. Now, we four have swap meets through fall and summer, collecting our unwanted clothes, books, pots and pans, and meeting at my place to trade them.
4)Remember to Thank You
Always. For everything. Because there’s no gift quite like a lifelong friendship.
Thank you, my friends. My life is forever enriched because of you.