“A close friendship is one of the most influential and important relationships a human life can contain. Anyone will tell you that! But most people don’t talk about what it really takes to stay friends for the long haul…”
This quote is from the back cover description for a book I recently finished, “Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close” by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman.
I highly recommend this heart-warming book if you are looking to have more meaningful relationships with your friends and need some inspiration. The book was given to me by a dear friend and I finished it feeling even more grateful for her friendship. Covid times have made the already tricky endeavor of maintaining friendships even harder, but by slowing down, paying attention, and reflecting on what we need from our friendships, we can ensure they thrive.
“Big Friendship” is written by two best friends who met as adults and have waded through the good times and bad together. The underlying theme of the book is that friendships take WORK, and too often we let important bonds fizzle when the going gets tough.
Mindfulness applies to friendships too and this is often not prioritized. How can be more mindful of our friends and their needs to make the relationship better?
It’s the social norm to attend couples therapy when a romantic relationship is facing struggles, but have you ever heard of two besties heading into therapy together to improve their relationship? Well these two platonic female friends did it and why not?
They ended up getting a lot out of their counseling sessions including the ability to step back and see where their friend was coming from. Raised in two very different worlds, each woman saw the world very differently and faced very unique challenges. This eventually affected how they saw each other and the choices they made.
The book does a great job of describing the challenges of friends trying to stay close even with very different backgrounds, different races, and varying experiences. It’s the stuff that drew them to each other in the beginning, but contributed to misunderstandings as the friendship became deeper.
These “misunderstandings” and judgmental under tones are common in most friendships and often times cannot be entirely avoided. It’s part of being human and part of having rich complexities in friendships which are often times the most rewarding.
The book made me reflect on my own friendships and how much each friend means to me. There have been periods of distance and misunderstandings but through compassion and love I’m grateful to know I have life long friends.
I doubt it will ever become the norm to attend counseling with your friends any time soon, but it does draw attention to the fact that ALL relationships take work – give and take – love and understanding – forgiveness and vulnerability. Go check out this book then call or text a friend!