Different Levels of Friendship

Happy Friday, RISERS! I hope this week has been good to you. This weekend marks the official beginning of autumn, so go ahead and bring out the fall decorations and binge on all things pumpkin spice. Please send happy thoughts my way tomorrow, as I have my first official vendor date at a fall festival. I am excited to have a table to sell my books. Oh, and I want to say “Happy 33rd Anniversary” to my husband, Darrin. I’m thankful for the wonderful life we’ve built together!

Quote of the Week: “As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others.” –Audrey Hepburn

Song of the Week: Made famous in the movie Beaches, “Wind Beneath My Wings” epitomizes friendship songs. Although everyone’s relationships aren’t like those in the movie, the sentiment remains the same. We have people whose input into our lives sometimes comes with a shadowing of their own.

Nugget of Wisdom of the Week: Last week, we talked about boundaries. So, as a logical follow-up to that, I want to talk about relationships—not necessarily the romantic ones, but our interactions with friends and acquaintances. If you’re thinking, “Aren’t they both the same?” I would argue that they aren’t; however, the only thing that distinguishes them is the level of emotional connection you have with an individual. An example of an acquaintance is the person at Weigel’s you gravitate toward when waiting in the checkout line. Before an acquaintance is considered even “just a friend,” it’s necessary to spend approximately 50 hours of time with that person, according to a report published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Over 90 hours of contact can move someone up to a good friend, and over 200 hours is needed to make the person a close friend.

That all sounds great, but what does it have to do with anything? I’m glad you asked. Humans are designed to want to fit in, to belong somewhere, and to have people care about them. When it comes to relationships, some people find it easier to get close to each other, especially when they have so much in common. A person might feel like she has hit the jackpot when she realizes that someone understands when she answers questions with movie quotes. Soon, two close friends can communicate on an entirely different level together—as if sharing a secret code.

Some people spend most of their time on the periphery of social groups, wishing they could break through and find a bosom buddy who understands where they are coming from. Social situations often make such folks uncomfortable, because they feel as if they don’t have as much in common with others. Sometimes, interactions can leave them emotionally drained and unsure how to proceed.

Why is this important? I heard an analogy once about “not letting go of the rope.” Imagine friendships and relationships as a woven basket, with the rope representing connection with other people; we are all in this together. As Audrey Hepburn said above, we should all be reaching out to help others. In complex relationships, you may be the only person “holding onto the rope” that connects you to another. If you “let go,” the person at the other end may lose hope. I have always had an affinity for children whom others consider “underdogs,” the prickly ones that teachers often immediately question when things happen in class. Evaluate the friends and acquaintances in your life, and if you find relationships that seem to strain you emotionally, give careful consideration to those. Unless they are unhealthy for you, show extra mercy and don’t let go of the rope.

Recipe of the Week: Banana Fruit Punch

What you’ll need:

5 ripe bananas

1 46-oz. can pineapple juice

1 12-oz. can frozen orange juice

1 12-oz. can frozen lemonade

4 cups sugar

6 cups water

2-3 liters of Sprite, 7-Up, or Ginger Ale (strawberry or cranberry soda is a great substitute and makes it pretty)

Mash the bananas and combine with the juices. Boil sugar and water for 5 minutes. Cool. Add to banana mixture. Divide it into three half-gallon servings and freeze. Take from freezer 2 hours before serving. Pour soda over each frozen block, and mix well.

Shout Out of the Week: This week, I want to shout out to all of the best friends out there, who have the backs of the people close to you. You are loved and appreciated more than you know!

Have a great weekend. Remember, you are most awesome, and YOU ROCK!

Marion Rhines is a foster-turned-adoptive parent. She lives in Knoxville, Tenn., with her husband and five children. She has written and published two children’s books as well as two foster-care-themed novels. She has a Facebook blog, Tips from the FLIP Side, and enjoys working with children of all ages.

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