OriginalPhoto-475290418.129689This afternoon I took a walk at the bird refuge, and as I walked in the icy wind, I thought about friendship. I wondered if one can ever be the friend another needs, or if we can only be the friend we ourselves need. Is the filter of the ego so strong that it cannot allow the possibility that the friendship I need is not that which my friend needs?

I began by wondering if friendship is just friendship, and it’s all the same, and I arrived at the thought that although the underlying energy of friendship is love, and love is love, pure and simple, the expression of it isn’t at all simple. Nor is it “the same.” I think we filter that which we receive and give by our own experiences and our own needs that have arisen from them. For example, I sometimes want a friend to whom I can speak honestly, who will hear me and respond. I don’t need to be told what to do. I just need to know I have been heard and understood.  At other times, just being in the presence of a kindred spirit is enough, no talk needed.

But someone else, who has lived their own life and had their own experiences, may not want to share much at all, just spending time with the energy of a person who appreciates them is enough. Another person might want to tell their stories to another, know they’ve been heard and commented upon and not really respond too much to any one else’s stories. Perhaps their need is to go deeper than current or past experiences, to a place where the current runs strong, with little conversation. My question is, am I able to recognize another person’s need?

This reminds me of a friend from over forty years ago. We were young women together, before children or marriages. She was so dear to me, and even attended the birth of my first child. I saw no end in sight for the friendship, until it abruptly ended. She told me that she would never deny what we had, but it was over.  She had just joined Scientology when this happened, and remains with them today, so that may explain the ending of the friendship. The point is that it didn’t occur to me at the time that sometimes a friendship has its season and can retreat without any event precipitating its end and without any hard feelings. I saw this woman about five years ago and we had a lovely reunion. I don’t expect to ever see her again, and that’s okay. She was right. We had the time we had and that was enough.

As I’ve grown older, I think my friendships have deepened. I need to speak my truth, and I think my friends feel the same.  I try to speak with clarity, honesty, and love. Sometimes the clarity gets in the way a little bit, but really, who has time for dodging around? As long as you speak from a point of neutrality, grounded in love, not judgement, I think it ought to be just fine. But maybe I just think that because it’s what I think. Maybe, I am not being the friend another needs because I can only imagine friendship from my own point of being. This is beginning to seem like a spiraling rabbit hole, so I’ll stop. But I’ll continue to think about it, and wonder about it. Maybe even write about it again.

Have a love-ly week.




  1. Anonymous says:

    I love this blog. You’re also unintentionally hilarious and we must have some kind of connection because I follow you even when you are spiraling. I also see myself in your different scenarios. Your honestly is great encouragement for growth. Grateful.

  2. kd0602 says:

    I love the way that walking allows space for thinking–even if the thinking doesn’t lead to resolution, it does lead to consideration and contemplation. Both are good I think. I’m sure I don’t know the answers to your questions, but I do think that friendships may have seasons and may end even without notice. Like a marriage, friendship requires some effort to maintain and grow. Now you have me thinking…


  3. lynnjake says:

    It is something I hadn’t really thought about until yesterday, the idea of being the friend that another person needs. I just wonder if we can know what effort to make. Thanks for reading, Kim! Your comment has me thinking as well.

  4. jgendar says:

    I think you’re right, it’s all about love. Maybe while friendship lasts, we don’t need anything in particular from each other except to be who we are. The random and unstoppable communication you and I share is a treasure.

  5. Bonnie K. says:

    I’m thinking about friendship a lot these days as I try getting used to life without my best one. When we were a pair of friends the rest of my circle revolved around that center and now that’s he’s gone and my life now moves into a different life rhythm I’m navigating my wonderful circle of friends, delicately. My needs are now different that I’m not so independent for company.
    I don’t want to be needy and dependent and I don’t want to make great friends feel guilty if they can’t join me for a movie or dinner, that their lives continue.
    I’ve been here before, living most of my life single before Tuvia and I built up a solid network of friends and many continued with me. A few, like your experience did leave me… sadly but necessary for them, but more often I’ve expanded my network, especially when I joined the HVWP and the NWP and online friends offered virtual but very real friendships, don’t you think? We don’t see each other often but when I see a status update or a new blog post from you I jump on it.
    I am grateful to the friends who reach out to me. They aren’t all the same. Our bonds are different, but there is something universal about friendship from the start. What we need in a friend and what we have to offer.
    Good walk you had friend. I’m thinking about friendship a lot these days.
    Nice to see a new post from you. Mine are just pouring out of me…

  6. Patricia Kaiser says:

    Really good & thought provoking blog, Lynn! Everyone is so different and most of us project so often that it’s hard to know what a friend might need. I find if I can just stay with empathy for my friends’ thoughts and feelings I can’t go wrong. I’ve got a quote from Gandhi in my office that I frequently glance at when I’m doing psychotherapy (an art as well as a science). It reads, “Be Truthful, Gentle, and Fearless.” It sounds like that’s what you do when you are with friends, as you stay grounded in love and not judgment. Your friends can feel that, I’m sure! xoxoxo

  7. Lisa says:

    What a deep, delicious, and thoughtful post, Lynn.

    The very fact that you are the type of person who would even pause to consider this complex “rabbit hole” (ah, such a shamanic reference – and thus dear to my heart) suggests that you are a person anyone would be lucky to call “friend.”

    But I knew that already.

    I notice that so much of what you consider being a good friend is being a person willing to LISTEN to another – without judgment, without feeling a need to weigh in on any of what you witness (unless requested, of course – and then with clarity and hopefully enough detachment that your observation provides a valuable “other” perspective).

    Perhaps part of this rabbit hole is being the best friend we know how to be – and the type of friend we yearn to have enter or be in our own lives. Yeah – you’re right. It is hard (if not impossible?) to completely separate out our egos from our efforts to “be” the friend our friends hope for.

    And that makes me wonder: is it better to be the friend a particular person “wants” in any given moment? Or the friend they “need” (not based on what we THINK they need, but rather based on simply being who we are – and trusting that they have reached out to us, or our paths have crossed apparently randomly, for that very reason?).

    Ugh. Look what you’ve started. ; )

  8. lynnjake says:

    Oh Bonnie, I so agree with you. Even though I don’t comment often, please know that I am alwaqys listening and feeling your heart. I’m always, always sending you the best love and friendship possible.I’m glad to see you are turning the cornier just a little bit. Keepthe words pouring out. Therein lies the healing you need. Much love.

  9. lynnjake says:

    Patty, thanks for your thoughtful comment. I agree that we must extend ourselves to at least try to feel what our friends are feeling. I love the quote. I think I will borrow it for my wall as well. Much love to you.

  10. lynnjake says:

    Ha!! I love starting stuff! Thanks you for your wise comment. I agree with the part about always being who we are, and trusting the friendship from there. We both know I don’t believe in the random encounter part! Much love to you.

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