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The Risk of Friendship

In today’s podcast, Teresa and I discuss the value and difficulties of friendship. I titled the episode “Friend or Alien.” The title isn’t original. Years ago, when I was in my twenties (a mere 10 years ago. Ok, well that’s a big ole lie), one of my closest friends was Wanda. Wanda and I did everything together. What I most loved about her was her dry sense of humor. She would make the oddest statement about something and tears would spill from my eyes as I doubled over with laughter.

Wanda had an odd habit. When she would pick up the phone after hearing it ring, Wanda would immediately ask the caller “Friend or Foe?” She did this each and every time. I soon started doing the same thing. The answer would let me know whether I could relax on the call or whether I needed to be on guard. Of course, no one ever responded that they were a foe.

When we let people into our sacred circle of friendship, we relax because, as Teresa and I note in today’s episode, it’s a safe space. There is tremendous value in having a safe place to discuss your concerns, your desires, your fears and yes, even your failures. A safe place helps you to get clarity on important issues and sometimes will appropriately make you challenge the way you have processed a specific issue, so you don’t end up looking like a deer caught in headlights when the s*** hits the fan.

The difficulty of friendship is when a once safe place becomes unsafe or toxic. There are a myriad of reasons why this happens. You may have changed, your friend may have changed, circumstances may have changed or quite frankly the friendship never was a truly safe place. You simply misjudged it to be so. Such misjudgments can be so painful. Trust me, I know this truth oh so well. I have experienced disappointment and betrayal in friendships which shook me to my core. When such profound betrayal occurs, the real challenge becomes the fight to not let it scar you forever; to make you believe that the cost of friendship is too great for you to ever trust again.

Do not succumb to such a limiting belief. It’s a lie. Keep your eyes open. There are more good people in the world than bad and there are true friends who stand ready to carry you through your defeats and bask in every single triumph. I have been blessed to experience such friendships. For those rich friendships, and how precious they are to me, I would readily risk pain over and over again.

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