Friendship is magic.

Friendship has always been a mixed bag for me.

As a child, my family moved around often. By high school, I had lived in 3 states, 6 houses, and attended 7 different schools. I learned to make friends easily, but found it hard to maintain friendships past a certain point.

I have memories of drawing, journaling, and writing poetry about how lonely and sad I felt as a kid.

When I met my husband, I had a serious case of friend-envy. He had an amazing group of friends that he’d known his entire life, while I had a one or two good friends and a handful of coworkers that I hung out with on the weekends to pass the time. 

As our lives together merged and his friends became mine, I realized that my envy was misplaced.

Friendship is a living, breathing thing that requires energy and love to maintain.

If it’s one-sided, it feels like a burden.

If it’s not valued or treated with respect, it can dissolve.

As a mama and an entrepreneur, I spend a lot of time alone or with a little person who doesn’t talk back or validate my feelings. Yes, she loves like no other, but it doesn’t replace the time spent with a good friend.

A few weeks ago, I spent some time thinking about the kind of person I wanted to bring into my life. It followed work I was doing through a course (the theme for the month is loneliness) and a writing prompt around friendship.

This list was what came out of that time spent thinking about my ideal friend:

  • Someone I can laugh and cry with.
  • Someone who can hold the space with me — to laugh, cry, vent, and then encourage me to make changes.
  • Someone to play with, learn with, and grow with.
  • Having a regular presence in each others lives.
  • Someone to do dinner with, to come over and have a glass of wine and talk, or to cook together.
  • Someone who can help me see the world in a new way.
  • Someone who is confident, smart, loving, playful, sarcastic, snarky, stylish, fun, kind, and generous.

I put it out there and just let it go. Not really thinking about it again, or even questioning how or who that would be.

Since writing that list, I’ve also put more effort into cultivating the relationships that are most meaningful to me, and let go of the ones that create any ounce of resentment or discomfort.

All of that work has led to a few new people showing up, with others that are coming back into my life with the most perfect of timing.

I guess that’s what happens when you show up and do the work.

What does friendship mean to you?Do you have a friend (or two) that makes you feel understood, supported, and loved unconditionally? If not, what would that person look like — how would they make you feel, what qualities would they possess?

More about Emily Levenson

Emily Levenson is a therapist turned holistic health coach, podcaster, meditation encourager, and seeker of everyday magic. Emily recently kicked off her third #The100DayProject, focusing her efforts on daily meditation.

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