Of course, I'm sure - that is, I hope - that people say the same thing about me when I admit to feeling lonely, too.
Truth be told, I think a lot of people feel lonely, but most people just don't want to admit it. Do I want to believe that so I won't be the exception to the norm? Maybe so. I know a lot of people who seem to have perfect relationships. They're always hanging out, they have running gags, and they've practically prearranged their kids' marriages. Are these relationships as strong and as good as they seem? Maybe so.
But regardless, my scattered thoughts have been mulling ways to be a better friend - both to the current ones and to the new ones. And I've managed to collect them into another alliterated list.
F. Forsake FaceBook. (At least, partially.) I know social media gets a lot of flak for this, but let's be honest, there's a kernel of truth to the accusation. I LOVE that I can stay in contact with friends who are far away. Believe me, military wives appreciate this capability!! But while people are typing away on social media, their other relationships dwindle. It's time to focus more on the people in the immediate vicinity.
R. Relate. It's always good to be friends with those who have similar interests. It can be something as major as being a military spouse or something as little as a board game. My best friend and I initially bonded over the unlikely event that we both love the old game of cribbage. (Don't judge.)
I. Invite. On the flip side of the above point, never underestimate a potential friend because they seem too different. Did I mention that when my best friend and I met, I was 13 and she was 18? It would've been easy and justifiable to ignore me, but instead we've had the best of friendships for over 10 years. (Also, my goddaughter/"niece" is cuter than yours.)
E. Encourage. Lately, I've realized that when I get in the mood to gripe and rant about everything it isn't very pleasant for the people I call my friends. So not only am I trying to be more positive about my life in order to be less of a stressor on my friends, but I've also decided to be more encouraging to others in order to alleviate some of their stress.
N. Notice. People feel cared for when you remember things. The other day, I asked a friend how his grandmother was doing with chemo, and his face lit up. Making eye contact when you're listening to others not only helps you remember the important details, but it makes the current conversation more engaging. (Seriously, put the phone away ... and stop letting other people and things interrupt. It's rude.)
D. Dismiss. Sometimes, people don't reciprocate. Whether or not it was just a bad time for them or they don't really like you, is not really the point. So long as you did everything possible to be a good friend, you have nothing to regret. Let it go. (However, this doesn't excuse you from being a decent human being.)
"The only way to have a friend is to be one."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~