• The Hopefulist

Gather your friends!

Friends can be your greatest source of happiness. There is nothing like getting together with your girls and just hanging. I have a number of different groups of friends and I they are all so important to me. And I still try to make more friends whenever I can. The picture above is from a reunion party we have just about every year with the people I worked with at a Friendly's restaurant in my early 20's. I practically grew up with these people. I didn't go away to college so it's almost like these are the college friends I made that turned into lifelong friendships. This picture was taken after we all had known each other at least 30 years. I have been to many of their weddings and am still quite close to a few of them. It's always good to get together and see what everyone has been up to.

I had a group of friends from high school that I stayed in touch with for many years after graduation. Some of them faded away and some of them came back when Facebook entered the picture. In fact, that is one of the things I just love about Facebook...the chance to get in touch with people so easily. There was a girl I became best friends with in first grade and we were best buds all through elementary school. We started to drift apart in middle school and by high school we didn't really speak at all. Once Facebook came around I saw she was on it but I didn't have the nerve to send her a friend request. She was one of those people I always seemed to remember their birthday so one year I just decided to send her a message wishing her a happy birthday. She was thrilled to hear from me and we chatted back and forth a bit before deciding to get together in person. Now, she is one of my very good friends again and she is in fact, joining me to help celebrate my 50th birthday. We've been celebrating birthday's together since age 6. It seemed fitting that we could be together when we turned 50.

I had a couple different groups of friends I hung around with when I lived at the shore the first time around. Some of them are still friends and some have moved on and left their old lives behind, including me. What are you going to do? I've talked about before how I am never prepared for when I a friendship ends. It always makes me so sad and confused as to what went wrong. What did I do? Why don't you want to be my friend anymore? But sometimes people don't want to tell you the real reason why so you just have to move on. I've lost a lot of good friends over the years. I always try to get to the bottom of what is happening to see if there is a way to save the friendship. Sometimes there is and sometimes there isn't. You can only control your own actions. So I have recently had a fall out with a friend and she has taken her whole group with her. It makes me really sad because I truly feel I didn't do anything wrong and now I feel like I'm being shunned by people who hung out with me constantly a year ago. But I tried and I have to just let them go.

Now I have a great group of ladies in my neighborhood that I spend a lot of time with. We all met at a community book club meeting and other types of clubs have branched off as a result. Some of these ladies have turned into great friends and we always have a great time and a lot of laughs when we get together. I have invited a bunch of these ladies to help me celebrate my birthday and I am so glad that most of them plan to attend.

I don't know what I would do without my girls. They all mean so much to me. Friendships are so rewarding. It's so awesome to know there are people there to cheer you on. One of my girls in the hood is the only person to come see my first speech which I was so grateful for. We got to chat quite a bit after and she gave me some good feedback on ways to improve. Because that is what friends do. They have your back. They cheer you on. They tell it to you straight when you need it. And you need to be there for them as well. There are times when it seems like a lot is going on and you don't know if you can find the time. But do it...find the time. Be a good friend and you will have a good friends in return.

Make sure you surround yourself with people who will lift you up. Limit time around those that bring you down or are filled with negativity. I'm not saying to keep these people out of your life completely but negative people spread negativity and we are trying to rid ourselves of that in our lives. Make sure your tribe is good for you. The same way you would try to keep out of a drug gang. Stay away from those that bring the drama and never seem to find anything good to say. You want people that will lift you up. People that you can look up to and be inspired by. You want to lift up others and inspire others as well but you don't want to be the only one in group to do that. It's a give and take. Just like everything else in life. It's all about balance.

So, make sure you take the time you need to make friendships a priority in your life. If you are looking to make new friends, look to work. Or look at some of the community Facebook group pages. I met a whole gang of new girl pals by one person organizing a book club. If you don't see a club you want to join, start one and ask people on your community page if anyone would be interested. It's easier than ever to make friends. You just have to take the time to do it.

It's already hump day. We are half way there people. I hope you cherish the friends you have in your life and make it a priority to reach out to them. Send someone a text telling them you are thinking about them today. It will more than likely make their day. Now, go make today, your best day yet.

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