Happiness is a Good Friend

I was e-mailing with Krissie this morning (she’s in Vermont, I’m in NJ, we’re both buried in snow as we write books), and I thought about what life would be like without her.  She’s always there for me–you would not believe all the stuff she did for me while I was in the hospital, including driving down from Vermont on about an hour’s notice)–and she’s always funny and wise and profane and sharp and she always tells me the truth, but she also tells me I’m amazing and I can do anything.  All of which is to say, Krissie is crucial to my happiness, which means that friends are necessary for achieving a state of joy.

Well, friends and dogs.

You gotta have friends (there’s an earworm for you) because happiness shared is like happiness squared and cubed and wrapped around you like a warm blanket in winter (in summer it’s a cool breeze).  Also, Krissie is a goddess.

Who did you find happiness with this week?

37 thoughts on “Happiness is a Good Friend

  1. Is it just me, or is it harder to make friends as an adult? The friends I have that seem most true are the people I met in college. The people I met when my kids were young were met because we all had young kids, not necessarily because we had much more in common. I meet people I like as an older adult, but it’s so much harder to get to know them deeply somehow. For the most part. Maybe because everyone is so busy and, of course, entrenched in their own lives. Or maybe it’s just me.

    8+
    1. I don’t think it’s just you. I have people I’m friendly with and I enjoy, but my only close friend is from high school. We’ve been friends for forty-five years and the thousand miles between us haven’t changed that.

      9+
      1. My deepest friendships seem to all be friends from university. I caught up with some of them over the weekend – finally got myself organised and had them round for afternoon tea after talking about doing it for ages, and we were all still sitting there, talking hard, at 9pm that night. I have one friend that I met through our mothers’ group back when our eldest kids were born who I feel very close to and know I could count on for just about anything.

        6+
    2. If there’s something you’re passionate about, trying volunteering in that field. I’m very much of a home-body, and work from home to isolate myself even more, but when I volunteered for a nonprofit (mostly virtually, but occasionally in person), I made a BUNCH of new friends. Some at the acquaintance level, but some truly close and continuing even after I dropped out of the volunteer work.

      5+
      1. I’ve tried so many ways of meeting people. Volunteering, book clubs, meet-ups, women’s groups, knitting groups, classes of all types, quarterly teas, and much more. I find that even people who are friendly toward me, and whom I’d like to get to know better, just often tell me they are too busy to find time to get together. When we do find time, they often have only an hour maximum, so the connection never deepens beyond acquaintances. Old friends often tell me that the best way to keep in touch is online. Which never truly feels like a very personal connection to me. It’s really a different world than it used to be, at least socially.

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    3. I think as adults we can forget that you need to invest time in your friends – time that we have in less abundance in adulthood than we do as kids or in university. Time to hang out and chat and do nothing and learn about each other.

      And there are the shared experiences with old friends so they know why we are who we are. For new friends to know that, we have to tell them. We take less risks with ourselves, what we reveal to others, so it takes longer to get to know people. If you want to make a good friend as an adult, you need to invest time and take risks – and it’s so so worth it.

      7+
  2. When my kids were finally out of the house, I found it easier to make friends again. Some of the people are people who had kids in my kids’ class, even, but because our kids didn’t click we didn’t know them. I think its easier to have the kind of time real friendships need to build when you aren’t wrangling kids. Once you build them, they last forever without much feeding, but getting to know people well takes time.
    I went to neighbors for shabbat dinner (their observance, not mine) where the wife and I have become really good friends partly as neighbors and partly because our daughters were close and that was nice; I also cut vines from the creek on our block with a relatively new friend. And my HS BFF was actually in London visiting my daughter, so I’ll catch up with her when she gets back.

    12+
  3. I’ve moved so much, not just in distance but in life changes, that I’ve lost touch with most of high school friends, except for Gretchen because Gretchen and I are eternal. We don’t talk much, but when we do it’s like we’re back at school. I’ve completely lost touch with Julie, and I miss her; she lived across the street from me when we were kids and she was the best. Most of my friends now are from RWA and romance writing, and I’ve lost touch with most of them because I’ve become a hermit. Krissie and Meg are the ones I’m still close to, we even had lunch together after my heart failure, and I should e-mail SEP just to see how she’s doing (I’m assuming splendidly). I think maybe I’m just quieter now, I don’t need the big uproarious friendships I had before although I remember them fondly. I like the quiet. As Krissie says, “A good friend is one who understands when you say, “I need a nap now.”

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  4. I realized one of the things I need is not just the friend, but the friend group, and it took a while before I got it set up again when I moved. I love how things get exponentially funnier when you have the right group of people, and how you can just relax and watch the merriment unfold. Also, there’s something about saying “so-and-so was mean” and having an instant chorus of messages in the group chat assuring you you are amazing and loved and awesome and clearly he’s a stupid jerk that helps keep me from taking the ups and downs of dating too seriously.

    8+
  5. How appropriate ! I went to see “Widows” (good movie but dark.
    Fyi a dog is threatened with harm but not seriously injured) with two friends today and then we went out to lunch. We are friends of more recent vintage (I met both of them separately through my husband), but we are in the thick of those child rearing years. I’m not as close to them as some of my oldest friends, but there is that comfort of going to each others’ houses and letting the kids run rampant without guilt.

    5+
  6. There’s a line in a Girl Guide song that has always resonated with me – “make new friends. but keep the old, some are silver and the other gold.” I’ve known each of my 3 closest friends for over 2o years. Only 2 live in town and have busy lives so we can go several weeks without seeing each other, although we stay in touch via text/email. I was able to spend last weekend with my friend who lives out of province – she’s the closest I have to a sister and it was so wonderful to spend time with her. I came home feeling mentally refreshed and relaxed.

    8+
  7. My best friends from high school fell away. We went radically different directions with our lives and I have kept in touch but it is a job. When we talk, it still is good but there is no follow through on getting together. If they move, I have to hunt them down with the internet so I have decided that it isn’t necessary to do that anymore.

    I have a few good friends from college. And from my professional life. And Diane is right. It was easier making friends in college and when we were younger. But you have to keep trying because if you only have a handful of friends, when you start losing them to ill-health, or extreme distances, you don’t have anyone other than family. And while family is good, there is something special about having a BFF. We have one set of friends that although they live 200 miles away, we talk every week on the phone. We get together at least 4 or 5 times a year. And we take turns spending a few days together every year at Christmas.

    5+
  8. Like you, I’ve moved around a lot. Friends are scattered. A few stay in touch, but most of my friendships in the last twenty years have been formed through writing. I have a good relationship with my daughter and my older sister, but one is super busy and the other is in Australia. The hardest thing is finding someone to go with to lunch or a movie. I prefer shopping alone so that’s no problem, but most of my friends have spouses, so there is that.

    6+
    1. Robena, ask your friends with spouses to go to lunch or a movie with you anyway. If they are retired, they will welcome the chance to have time away from home with a friend. My husband gets together with friends for lunch and I don’t mind at all. And I personally love it when a friend wants me to do something with her. Although we do not take vacations apart. My SIL who married in her 50’s has friends who did not marry with whom she still occasionally goes on vacation while her husband then spends every hour of the day with his friends playing golf and tennis, which he loves and she does neither.

      As a retiree, one of the saddest things I have seen is a couple who upon retirement spend all their time together and neglect their friendships. Then one of them dies and the remaining one only has family, if they still have family who can make time to be with them, which makes for a very lonely old age.

      8+
      1. Jessie, I’m afraid this is going to be my mother. She’s never really had friends that I recall. She’s in her 60s and I believe she could probably be considered autistic (on a milder side of the scale than my oldest son). My father and I are pretty much the only people she socializes with and if goes first, I think it is going to be very hard all around. For her and for me, since my children and I will be her whole world.

        5+
        1. I have a nephew with Ausberger’s and he really bonds to cats. He has always had one or two cats and people should be treated so well. He has a significant other who understands his particular take on social relationships and has a great life. But if something should happen to her, within a short time he would be focused on his cats again. He has friends and he is a wonderful guy to family and friends but he does have blind spots in relating to people.

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  9. My big happy this week was friendship-related, although not spent with a friend. Back during the first stage of the Great Scrap Basket Clean-out of 2018, I uncovered some scraps of a friend’s grandmother’s vintage tablecoths and fussy-cut the best print sections from them to make into a small table topper for that friend. And then it was dark out, so I set them aside until the next day when I could have good enough lighting to be able to choose a contrasting fabric from my stash to match one of the colors in the tablecloths. So, next morning (not bright and early, but as early I as get), I went to choose that contrasting fabric, and the fussy-cut pieces were gone! I blamed the kittens (they like to steal things and drag them around the house, even odd things like rolls of paper towels and bits of fabric), and I checked their hiding spots to no avail, and then decided I must have thrown them out with other scraps deemed not worth dealing with, and I emptied out the garbage (ugh; yes, the kitchen trash), and they weren’t there, but I figured I must have missed them somehow, and all hope was gone, and I had to console myself with the thought that this friend didn’t even know I still had these scraps left over from a different project I did for her, and she’d told me I could throw them out then, so at least I wasn’t disappointing her.

    Dear reader: I found them.

    I was finishing another one of the Basket Clean-out quiltlets and needed binding, and somehow the fussy-cut pieces had ended up stuck to some other fabric before I put it away in the storage bin where I was searching for binding fabric. I’ve now completed piecing the table topper and expect to have it quilted and finished to deliver on Thanksgiving for a bit of wallowing in nostalgia with a very vintage-looking little quilt. Will share at Instagram when it’s done.

    17+
  10. My gentleman caller offered to help dig my father’s house out of the snow. We each had our own areas to clear, respectively and he lives some distance away. And my father is difficult. But he was still willing to come help, because I was griping about how heavy it was. This made me happy.

    14+
  11. I spent Saturday after work with one of my best friends, eating ice cream and noodles and drinking tea and beer at the the YesFest celebration on her street. It was a block party to celebrate the first anniversary of the passing of our marriage equality legislation. Good bands, good beer, amazing drag queens, and a whole lot of kids and dogs wearing sparkly rainbow capes. It made me very happy indeed.

    11+
  12. I have two very good friends who I made in the last 15 years or so. Sara is my Krissie, but then Buffy is the one that took care of the dogs and came to visit me in the hospital when my heart was acting up in May. So maybe they are both my Krissie.

    It’s a good thing I have them because I tend to be a recluse.

    However, I have vowed to have people to my house at least once a month. That way the mess can’t get too, too horrid. Sara and Buffy will come and the other people will be bonuses.

    8+
  13. Friends. A funny topic for me. (Funny peculiar, not funny haha, as my father likes to say.) As a child, I had one friend, the girl who lived behind us. As a teen, a few. As an adult of a certain age, I have an embarrassment of riches. I have writing friends, artist friends (from the shop I’ve been running for 19 years), witch friends, and just plain friend-friends. Plus internet friends who I met through Lani’s blog years ago, some of whom are as close to me as sisters. I feel as blessed in friends as some are in money.

    Today’s blessing was my best pal Ellen, who I have know for 34 years. (She was my husband’s friend first. I like to say that when we divorced, he got the house and I got the best friend. I definitely got the best of the deal.) Something triggered one of her rare panic attacks when she went to the movies with her beau a couple of weeks ago, and she was pushing herself to get back on the horse by going back today. She called me to find out the times for the movie (Nutcracker) because she doesn’t have internet, and I offered to go with her. The movie was great–fabulous cinematography, plus Helen Mirren and Morgan Freeman–but mostly it was good to be there for the person who was always there for me.

    8+
  14. My dear mother’s advice was to cultivate some younger people as friends, to last you into your later years. Sounds cynical, but actually quite good advice. They may also understand technologies that come along as a bonus!

    12+
  15. My community is large, local, and amazing, and has gained me probably a hundred friends over the past three years, a couple dozen of whom have become as close as family. Some of us had a Friendsgiving together today and it was lovely, but also I met quite a few cool new people at Philcon yesterday as well.

    I’m exhausted and need to hide in an introvert hole for at least a day, but it’s all worth it.

    7+
  16. We have back up children to help us bridge the generations. (This is what we call the children for whom we were the back up parents when they were growing up–the people that schools called when mom and dad were out of touch, or that their parents called us when they couldn’t get home quickly and a child needed to get to the hospital, that kind of thing.)
    We have at least ten young adults in that category….

    7+
  17. ​”This communicating of a man’s self to his friend works two contrary effects, for it redoubleth joys, and cutteth griefs in half.” – Francis Bacon, Essays

    Spider Robinson said the same thing, differently:
    “Shared pain is lessened.
    Shared joy is increased.
    Thus we refute entropy.”

    4+
  18. For days I’ve had the feeling that I was missing my niece’s wedding anniversary, but I couldn’t find the exact date. I finally found that it was yesterday, so I called to wish her (them) a happy anniversary. Since she is coming to town on her mother’s birthday, I went to my friend Dave’s store so I could buy a birthday present to give to Emmy while she is in town. I saw a pair of earrings that I thought she would like, but I knew I had given them to one of my nieces for her birthday, but I couldn’t remember which one. So I started calling some of my nieces to ask what I gave them for their last birthday. By the time I figured out who already owned a pair of the earrings, Emmy told me that her ear piercings had closed up. I still don’t know what to get for Emmy, but talking to a couple of my adored nieces in a store owned by a close friend who has known them since they were knee high to a grasshopper was a great pleasure. And when Emmy told me that she had checked out Dave’s new location on Instagram, it felt like several of the people I love were with me at the same time.

    7+
  19. The movie Tag which I thought was silly about a group of adults that have a continued a game of tag for 35 years from childhood for one month of the year. I gave it two and 1/2 stars until I found out at the end during the credits it was based on real friends that have played it for 23 years. Add another star for trying.

    3+
  20. I feel as if I’m rich in friends — I have my sisters, my scribbling friends, my brother-from-another-mother, Larry, people whose company I enjoy and with whom I can be utterly myself. Not all of them are nearby, but they’re there for me when I need them.

    1+
  21. I have some really really good friends, but none of them live in The Netherlands. They are wonderful, but so far away. Not easy to hang out with that often. I have tried to find new friends here, but they either turned out to be shallow, emotional leeches and/or the kind that stabs you in the back when you least expect it. I mostly hang out with MIL, and one of the ladies from the crafting club, 30 and 40 years older than me, respectively. Which isn’t a problem as such, only sometimes they don’t jump to do some of the things I would like, like gettig the chance to get onto a horseback again, go to fantasy/book convents, or go to hardrock/metal concerts a.s.o.

    Apparently I’m too introvert to be anybody people of my age want to hagn out with. 🙁 Not that I don’t go outside the door, but I don’t enjoy going out to clubs/pubs, partying or drinking and that sort of activities. The only time I’m good enough is when people have family- or relation-related problems that they need help to solve. I’m the “last resort”-kind of friend. The one you remember in the corner when the rest is gone. (Luckily not to everyone, but it happens an awful lot.)

    Ooon the good side: My big brother is coming this Friday to go with me to a concert (yay!), and a friend from Spain will come visit in December. Looking forward! Also, MIL’s chemo therapy is working – scan showed the lymphatic glands had shrunk – which is also happiness.

    I’m sure happiness is friends AND dogs but also cats and horses, if you happen to have one close by. All huggable things, really.
    I should totally get myself a cat. A cuddly cuddly cat to read books with.

    3+
    1. Shass, I’ll come hang out with you! I’m supposed to be visiting a friend in Brussels in just over a week and that’s practically next door, right? We can have an introvert party. 😉

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      1. Aw <3 Aren't you a sweetheart! <3 Introvert party sounds like my cup of tea totally. 🙂

        Brussels isn't that far, no, about 2.5 hours with the train from The Hague where I live. In almost all countries (except The Netherlands) that's no distance at all. I hope you'll take the chance to eat a lot of waffles in Brussels 🙂 I tried them out earlier this year, they're goooood!

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        1. In all seriousness, I will be in Brussels from November 29th to December 8th, and my schedule will be very flexible. I have no social media at all, but if you would like the company of a slightly mad Australian for a day I can give you my email address and we can make something happen. The Hague looks beautiful, so I plan to visit anyway. 🙂

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