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On Friendships

By August 11, 2023 July 7th, 2024 No Comments
friends that last

Over the course of several years, I have questioned friendship. What is it? Is it vital? Who are my friends and who are the people I just know? Is friendship permanent or fleeting? Is it strong, fragile, or both? Can friendship be one-sided, or is that something else entirely? Does it wax and wane like the moon? What is needed to start, nurture, and sustain a friendship?

There are different kinds of friendship and they can develop in multiple ways. Some start off early, in school, while others are found later in life, as adults. Either way, the beauty of friendship is mostly seen in how strong and deep the bond is among friends.

Childhood Friendships

I don’t remember having friends my age growing up. Living out on the ranch, I found that my friends were the ranch hands, cowboys, and ranch owners. I hung out with these adults and considered them my dearest friends. I had a hard time with the kids at school and was often bullied for being large. They called me names like “Gail the Whale” and “Hippo.” I never developed friendships with my classmates. It wasn’t until I became an adult that I made friends with people my own age. Because of this inexperience and lack of friendship-building skills, I have been caught in a couple of toxic friendships which took a great effort and pain to end. 

Does Friendship End?

Is it possible to just let a friendship go, to simply let it float away like a feather when you become aware it does not benefit you? 

Sometimes, friendships end. When my kids were teens, they would come home angry or sad, and complain that their friends were ‘just using’ them. I would ask them what they meant by that. I would listen as they’d go into detail about all the awful things their friends had done or said, and how mistreated they were feeling. 

We would discuss the details of the current drama and eventually, I would ask them what they got out of the friendship with this person. They would list all of the wonderful things they enjoyed by being friends. Later, we would develop a plan for them to resolve things with their friend and a plan for moving forward with forgiveness and gratitude. If for some reason, they could not see the benefit of continuing with the friendship, we would develop a plan to let the friendship go. 

Friendship Between You and Yourself

The year before my first child was born, I moved from Southern California to Idaho. As a going away gift, my co-workers gave me a framed poem by George Eliot (original by Dina Craik.) The statement was simple, but it brought me great joy. It has helped me understand how to be a friend to others over the last 42 years, and now, four decades later, it is still teaching me how to be a friend. 

Except, this time, it is teaching me how to be a friend to myself.


~ George Eliot (1936)

A friend is one
to whom one may pour out
the contents of one’s heart,
chaff and grain together,
knowing that gentle hands
will take and sift it,
keep what is worth keeping,
and with a breath of kindness,
blow the rest away.

A Life for a Life

~ George Eliot (1936)

“Oh, the comfort —
the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person —
having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words,
but pouring them all right out,
just as they are,
chaff and grain together;
certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them,
keep what is worth keeping,
and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.

Friendships That Last

Friendship is one of the most beautiful gifts one can ever receive or bestow in life. True friendships carry us through difficult times and make our time on earth more worthwhile. It is important that we each find friendships to enrich our lives. Are you on the journey to finding true friendships that last?

The friendship we have with ourselves is most important because we are mostly in their company, so it’s nice to know you can count on yourself. In the Lipedema Community, you will find friends in abundance. We are a supportive group and together, anything is possible!

~ Gail Straker, BAEd
Community Manager, Director of Coaching
Lipedema Simplified

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