For a million reasons, I have gotten lazy when it comes to friendship. When my life was a little out of control and I was struggling, I consciously isolated myself from anyone outside my home. It was easier to hunker down than to reach out, explain my situation or make an effort. My default is loner mode, but with that comes loneliness and frustration.
Last month, when my dear friend Sarah invited to me to a girls' weekend at the beach I said yes. I have been making an effort to say yes to opportunities to cultivate friendships and connections. A few years ago I would have made an excuse as to why I couldn't go. I've been guilty of hiding behind excuses for a a very longtime. No I can't go to lunch, I'm too busy. No I can't go to book club, I have to make dinner. No, I can't meet for coffee. I have way too much work to do. I think we make time for the things that we want to make time for. And I was afraid of connection and opening my heart to others, so I didn't want to make the time.
Back in 2011 I went to an amazing retreat, and it was then my heart began to open to the possibility of deep friendships. I boarded a plane to Oregon not knowing a single soul at my destination. I was scared. But I went anyway. And I was blessed to meet some of the most amazing women. I went back to the same retreat in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Each year, I've made new friends and deepened the connections I made in years past. Saying yes to friendship has opened a door to my heart I was convinced that I wanted to keep closed.
It wasn't smooth sailing at first. I kept a lot of would-be-friends at arms length. Truthfully, I didn't know how to be a good friend. But as soon as I let a few special ladies a little closer, my heart softened to the potential. Having friends to lean on, laugh with and share your life with is awesome ... and I've been working hard to change my hermit ways.
For me, saying yes to friendship means: going to book club; breakfast and lunch dates; sending little letters and goodies to kindreds around the globe; making a bigger effort at sending and responding to emails; sending texts when I'm sitting around with nothing else to do; and of course saying yes to special weekends with awesome friends. Each day I'm trying to find new ways to say yes to friendship since without a doubt saying yes the last few years has enriched my life beyond measure.
I'm beyond grateful I said yes to Sarah. I'm so thankful I got on that plane and headed to the beach. Spending a weekend at the ocean with some really awesome women filled my bucket. We relaxed.We laughed. We told stories. We took pictures (a lot of them). We ate. We exercised and strolled on the beach. I look forward to more weekend like this. I look forward to sharing my secrets with these awesome ladies. Without a doubt, they make my life better. Saying yes is so worth it.
If you're on the fence about friendship and making an effort .... say yes. You'll be rewarded in countless ways.
One of my goals is to say "no" more often and be extra thoughtful about when I say yes. "Say Yes" is a new series featuring the things or experiences I'm saying yes to and why. Each Friday (starting this coming Friday), I'll post about what I've been saying "Yes" to and what I've learned in the process.