The best mirror is a friend’s eye

“The best mirror is a friend’s eye.”

—Gaelic proverb

Rachel & Lesley (l) — Lesley & Ella (r)

My daughter Rachel’s best friend recently came for a surprise visit to see her, and to meet her new goddaughter, Ella.

Lesley and Rachel call each other Big Sis and Little Sis, and have been very close since grade school.

An elaborate plan for this visit was first orchestrated in November. With many of us playing our part, we accomplished the jaw dropping, tear-filled reunion.

Watching these two best friends reconnect over the next few days was a great gift for us as well.

EXERCISE:

Where and when have you experienced the value and joy of having a best friend? In what fun ways can you surprise them and show how very much they have meant to you over the years?

“To be a good fisherman you must detach yourself from the dream of the fish. This makes whatever is caught or found a treasure.”

“To be a good fisherman you must detach yourself from the dream of the fish. This makes whatever is caught or found a treasure.”

—Buddhist saying

 Image from Unsplash by NOAA

I have a client and good friend named Rich, who loves to fish. Hearing him talk about his passion is a blast. Last year, he invited me to join him in his passion at a local lake.

With an early start on a promising day, we switched places and Rich became my coach. During our five-hour excursion he caught numerous fish and I — with all my giggling — came up with a single small-mouth bass, just prior to us calling it a day. Later, over a meal, I came to the realization that it was our treasured friendship that was the big fish I caught that day.

EXERCISE:

Where have you caught or discovered new things to celebrate and appreciate on your way to some other intended place? Where might detaching yourself from things you expect open you up to new people and experiences to treasure?

“The man or woman who treasurers his friends is usually solid gold himself.”

“The man or woman who treasurers his friends is usually solid gold himself.”

—Marjorie Holmes, 20th Century American columnist & author

Two of our most treasured friends live near Poughkeepsie, New York. Wendy and I first met Emmy and Clark in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Every August since 1984 we’ve joined them for a week at our annual timeshare, Shawnee on the Delaware. Beyond these annual vacations, we have stayed in touch to share many happy times, including birthdays, BBQs and other family celebrations.

Over the years, Emmy has sent us hundreds of handmade, personalized purple cards, to let us know we are in her thoughts. During some of our most challenging times, we would receive these “Pick Me Up” purple messages each week.

EXERCISE:

Who are the solid gold friends in your life? What purple card-like gesture can you offer these special people to more fully demonstrate how much you treasure them?

“Politeness is an inexpensive way of making friends.”

“Politeness is an inexpensive way of making friends.”

—William A. Feather, 20th Century American publisher and author

Image from csbcorrespondent.com

How familiar are you with the 10 / 5 Rule?

In the hospitality industry, this rule dictates that when a staff member is ten feet from a guest, they smile and make direct eye contact.

When a staff member is within five feet, they greet the guest with a salutation such as Hello or Good Morning.

My modified version of this rule takes place on my daily morning walks when I wave at the people in cars and say hello to my fellow walkers and their dogs, making sure we are at least six feet apart.

EXERCISE:

Where and in what ways can and will you apply the polite no-cost gesture of the 10/5 Rule in your world, to make a few more friends?

“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.”

“The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.”

—Richard Bach, American 1970s Author

Image from Unsplash by Leonardo Yip

During a recent trip out of the country for two weeks, my wife Wendy and I had very limited contact with our family. We did, however, travel with two good friends and a little over 700 other shipmates to explore Greece and Israel.

In addition to our fellow passengers, we were served and supported by over 400 staff and crew from over 40 countries.

To our delight and joy, we both experienced a new level of friendship and a genuine sense of a global family.

EXERCISE:

Where and how can you experience far greater respect and joy within your extended communities beyond your immediate family? What would be the value and impact of this expanded family bond in your life?

“When people are like each other, they tend to like each other.”

“When people are like each other, they tend to like each other.”

—Tony Robbins, American author, philanthropist and life coach

Image of Jane Goodall and a chimp

Image from the Jane Goodall Collection

Did you know that humans and chimpanzees share about 96 percent of the same DNA? Perhaps this is why we enjoy documentaries on these special creatures. When we observe them, we see numerous ways we are alike, such as in the care and nurturing of baby chimps.

Regarding human-to-human interactions, we often operate out of the Birds of a Feather Flock Together idea. At the same time, we can be very focused on where and how we differ as reasons to avoid, dislike, and even hate one another.

EXERCISE:

How would looking for the similarities and common characteristics and traits of others be the source of more friendships and closer communities in your world?

The Most Neglected Friend

“Probably the most neglected friend you have is you.”

—L. Ron Hubbard, Founder of the Church of Scientology

Image of a man photographing himself in a mirror

Image from Flickr by joelleen

Who are your very closest and best friends? Take a moment to list them by name. You may even choose to look back to your school years, and the different cities or towns in which you have lived throughout your life.

Did you put yourself on the list?

If you didn’t, you are not alone.

For some reason, the majority of people who take on this exercise rarely include themselves.
What are the reasons for the omission?
Why do so many of us neglect, ignore, or simply not consider our relationship with ourselves of paramount importance?

EXERCISE:

How and in what ways can you befriend yourself far more, from this point forward?
Consider reversing the Golden Rule and do for yourself what you do for others, as a starting point.

Friday Review Friendship

FRIDAY REVIEW: FRIENDSHIP

What does it mean to be and have a friend? Here are a few friendship-related posts you may have missed.

 

“A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.”

 

 

 

 

“Friends are as companions on a journey, who ought to aid each other to persevere in the road to a happier life.”

 

 

 

“A friend is a person before whom I may think aloud.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friendship Consists of a Willing Ear

“Friendship consists of a willing ear, an understanding heart, and a helping hand.”

—Frank Tyger, American Cartoonist and columnist

Image of four men sitting on the edge of a mountaintop

Image from Unsplash by Matheus Ferrero

During my signature Personal Excellence Training program, new clients identify the most valued and important professional and personal relationships they intend to enhance through our coaching efforts.

When it comes to deep and meaningful friendships, I notice my male clients have fewer than my female clients. Yet men and women alike say they have a sense of diminished fulfillment, in terms of friendships, than they had at earlier points in their lives.

We’ve all heard the phrase, “To have a friend we must be a friend.”

EXERCISE:

With whom can you make an extra effort to offer a willing ear, an understanding heart, or a helpful hand, to realize more of the close and caring friendships you desire?

before borrowing money from a friend

“Before borrowing money from a friend, decide which you need most.”

-A Farmers Almanac Philosofact

Image of hands trading money

image from The Storage Facilitator

If you are a fan of Shakespeare, consider the advice Polonius provides to his son Laertes in Act I, Scene III of Hamlet:

Neither a borrower nor a lender be, for loan oft loses both itself and friend.

What has been your experience with such matters? Where did things work out just fine, and where did things go wrong?

How do these sayings influence your point of view and perspective on being generous and helping others in need?

EXERCISE:

Consider responding to this post with your thoughts or perhaps discuss your view on this subject with a friend.