Oh You Expected ME to Keep in Contact With YOU?
I guess there always needs to be a balance in life right? That’s how friendship works. There are the givers, the takers. The good, the bad. The elated, the depressed. The kind, the mean. The old, the young. There are all kinds of friends in this world. Do you identify with some of these types? If you had to, could you choose out of your group of friends who fits into those categories? Yeah, me too. I know exactly who I am, and exactly who they are too (I think).
I mostly think about the giving and the taking. I don’t know why. Maybe it stems from the competitive, keeping score, do-things-only-this-way type of brainwashing that my mom Edna instilled into my world 50+ years ago. For good or for bad, it’s in me to take careful note of who gives and who takes in my world. From an early age, I have been very cautious of those who take advantage of me. On the flipside, I also have a penchant for those who give. My dad, Eddie, was a giver and I think I emulate him. So the bottom line here is that “givers” are extremely high on my list in life.
Please allow me to define my interpretation of what I think a giver is.
In the dictionary, the definition of a giver is simply: one who gives. Well, duh, right? To me, it’s a bit more than that. If my last name was Webster and I had the opportunity to contribute to their dictionary, my formal definition would be: a conscious effort to know the person with whom you are friends, and give to them accordingly.
I go back to mindfulness once again because that, I feel, is where true conscious effort resides. Being mindful of one another is a mutual agreement to care, support, and know that your friendship has worth.
Another Element of Giver
I think initiation belongs in the definition of giving, too. The act of beginning something. See how that works? One friend starts something—an introduction, a conversation, an invitation—and then you begin to give back and forth for the entire length of your friendship. But what happens when you (or your friend) is always the initiator, and there’s no back and forth? Here’s what happens: the friendship fizzles.
An Example of How a Friendship Started
I just cultivated a new friendship with a woman who, in my eyes, will be a lifelong friend. She and I immediately clicked. Dontcha love those types? Yeah, I love them too.
Here’s How Liz and I Met
Somehow, and I don’t know how, I was introduced to a book called “What Did I Do Wrong?” by Liz Pryor. I read an advertisement in a magazine, or it popped up on Facebook, or someone told me about it. I don’t remember. But because it sounded like the storyline aligned with My Girlfriendships®, I decided to give it a try. Within the first couple of chapters, my jaw dropped. Who is this chick? She is taking the words out of my mouth. She is telling my exact same story. Does she know the same women I do? What the heck?!
As I kept reading, I thought of how similar her story was to mine. I started talking out loud to her as if we were in a deep conversation over a bite to eat at lunch or something. I could hear her words so clearly in my mind that I forgot where I was. (You know how you get enveloped in a book or a movie and when you finally come back to real life you realize where you are? Yeah that was me. First I’m sitting with Liz at lunch eating a chicken caesar, and the next I’m in my office with my nose buried in her book.) “Nice writing Liz, you take me away!”
As I delved deeper into her book I realized, “I gotta know this woman! I would love for her to have a segment on our podcast. She could take callers and emails. She could address women’s girlfriendship® woes from across the globe. “Brilliant!”, I thought. So, I started mentally planning. Very typical of me to strategically plan how I am going to initiate a conversation with someone to get to know them. It’s not unusual for me to do my detective work and find a way to connect with just about anyone in the world. (C’mon! It’s not that difficult. In today’s world, anything is possible with all of the tools we have. The internet and all that comes with it might be one of our most useful tools.) So I took to social media.
If you haven’t already researched who My Girlfriendships is, I will tell you that I have about 10 women who make up what I call the “Queen Dream Team” (QDT). I love them all. They are hard-working, compassionate, mindful women who really want to see my company flourish. They are creative, thoughtful, and at times, a bit of boldness shines through that I welcome...and also want to squash all at the same time.
We were recording a segment of our podcast and discussing Liz’s book. We specifically were talking about the chapter that resonated with me most, about how, when you break up with a boyfriend or divorce your husband, most people feel bad for you. They send you flowers. They make it a point to check in with you to see how you are. They offer lunch and dinner dates to get your mind off the recent separation. Well, what about when the same thing happens between two women who are girlfriends? Not a romantic girlfriendship, just regular ol’ girlfriends. Yeah, no one really cares as much do they? “Women always fight, they always break up, they always have issues”, is what many people say. But losing a girlfriendship might be one of the most painful losses a woman can experience.
You give your life to your soul sister. She knows your heart and your secrets. She holds the key to unlock your happiness, your motivation, your dignity. No one like a bestie can do this for you the way a bestie can. So why don’t others realize this devastation when you lose a girlfriend?
That was our conversation on the podcast. In fact, I also did a video recording for my social media team so they could cut it up and use it for Instagram reels and TikTok.
Thursday, one of the QDT members created a cool reel of the podcast and tagged Liz. Quickly, Liz responded. Then the QDT member replied back to her before I could ask her not to (that is an example of me wanting to squash). I wasn’t ready to speak to Liz yet. I needed to get my ducks in a row. I had a prepared strategy of how I wanted to incorporate Liz to our podcast...how I was going to approach her...how I was going to present her with a plan. But on that day, I just wasn’t ready.
When I read my QDT’s response, my ears started getting hot and red. That’s my sure sign that I’m heated. I went into the direct messages mailbox, deleted her response, and was forced to create something different. “What if Liz had already seen the first response?”, I thought. If she had, then I needed to clear it up and say exactly what I had been preparing weeks prior.
In place of the QDT’s first response I wrote, “Hey Liz, Lisa Najarian here. I am the creator of MGF. Thanks for responding so quickly. LOVED your book…” I go on to talk about my idea about our podcast and wondering if she has interest. “If so, let’s chat”, I say (there’s the initiation). She responded (there’s the back and forth). A few days later, we were on FaceTime for two and a half hours. (Friendship begins.)
“Ring, ring, ring”. I called her from my 20" desktop screen. I want to be able to see clearly and these days, that requires a big screen. Both screens light up at the same time. There she is. There I am. “OMG you’re so cute.” “OMG you’re so cute too!” We talked with smiles on our faces. So many similarities between the two of us we couldn’t believe it. It was as if we had known each other forever, that is how comfortable it was talking with each other. We ended our conversation with a plan to talk further in a week.
Here’s my Point
Initiation. Mindfulness. Effort. These are some of the ingredients of a successful recipe for friendship. I was forced to initiate an introduction. Maybe that was a blessing in disguise because Liz and I are now friends, and potentially going to “saddle up” as she puts it. I couldn’t be more thrilled. Opportunities like this do not come without someone initiating. They do not come to fruition without mindfulness. They do not become successful without effort.
It takes a lot to start a relationship. It takes a lot to maintain it. It also takes a lot to end it. You just have to decide if the work is worth it.
Give this one a thought and see if there can be an adjustment in your girlfriendships to make them the best they can be.
I love that you were with me today. See you next week.
Lisa A.K.A. Loopie