Early on in our marriage, my husband was bemused that I could spend an entire day with a girlfriend then, ten minutes after I got home, call her to talk about something else. He has since realized that I have needs he can’t fulfill. (He’s not threatened, because I also have needs that only he can fulfill.)
Friendship is one of the fundamental relationships in my life. I treasure my friends, and I nurture those relationships almost as much as I nurture my marriage. The family I choose will have a place in my heart forever.
I enjoy exploring friendship in my books. It’s multifaceted, fraught with opportunities for drama and humor, the stuff great fiction is made of. The way a woman behaves with her friends tells you a lot about who she is and what she values.
My latest book, The Friendship List, is a celebration of friendship. Ellen and Unity have been best friends since childhood. Now in their midthirties, they’re living like much older women, stuck in a routine that’s comfortable because it demands nothing of them. They’re marking time, not living. Unity is still yearning for the husband who died young. Ellen had a baby in high school and has put her son’s needs before her own, as so many single mums do.
When Ellen overhears her son saying he can’t go away for college because she doesn’t have a life without him, she’s suddenly desperate to change. She has to get a life so he’ll be free to pursue his dreams.
But change is hard. Really hard. Only the support of true friends makes it possible. Ellen and Unity will cheer and challenge one another through a summer that will transform their lives.
I’d like to challenge you this summer, too, to connect with your friends in a purposeful way. Make your friendships a priority. Here are a few ideas for how you can do so, even during a pandemic:
- Write her an old-fashioned letter about a specific memory that makes you smile.
- Facetime one another while trying a new recipe from your own homes.
- Tell her a story from your past that you’ve never shared before. Dig deep to think of something sad or shocking or silly.
- Have a Zoom dance party.
- Set a goal for one thing you want to accomplish this week, then hold one another accountable.
- Using only objects found around the house, make a doll of one another, then send pictures.
- Plan a dream vacation together, even if you don’t think you’ll ever be able to go.
- Redecorate each other’s houses with pictures found online.
- Fill in your own challenge: ________________________
There are lots more ideas on the Challenge page at www.thefriendshiplist.com. Complete two or more challenges to be added to the Wall of Fame. What I’m hoping is that this will inspire you and your friends to deepen the connection between you. I hope some of the challenges will make you laugh, and some will bring you a new understanding about one of the most important people in your life.