I Choose My Friends

My friends are my family by choice. I choose to have their back and support the dreams and aspirations.

A few years ago, my son approached me with a heartfelt request, could we invite his friend to stay with us during Christmas and ensure that his friend received just as many presents as he did, even if it meant fewer gifts for himself. You see, his friend didn’t have the same fortune as my son and I, lacking the support of a strong family unit. Without hesitation, we embraced this opportunity to extend our home and love for someone important to him.  This act of kindness has now become a new tradition. Not only does my son’s initial friend join us, but his other friends, even those who don’t celebrate Christmas, and their girlfriends have also become part of our holiday gatherings. They have become a part of our “family.” They all know they are welcome at our house any time and for any reason.

What strikes me the most about this is the genuine concern my son has for his friends’ well-being. He understands the importance of creating a sense of belonging and support for those who may not have it elsewhere. In our home, they find a safe harbor (actually what our basement is called), a place where they are embraced with open arms and treated as members of our extended family. They are always there for one another, offering unwavering support and encouragement.

To me, family extends beyond blood relations. It encompasses the connections we forge with others who enter our lives and touch our hearts. It is a reminder that we have the power to create a sense of belonging and love, not only for ourselves but for those around us.  As we gather each year, our holiday celebrations are filled with laughter, joy, and a profound sense of togetherness. We exchange gifts, not just material ones, but the gift of love, acceptance, and a shared bond that transcends any differences. Our home becomes a place where everyone feels seen, heard, and valued.

In embracing my son’s friends as part of our extended family, I have witnessed the transformative power of compassion and inclusion. It has taught me that the true spirit of the holiday season lies in the connections we foster and the love we share. It is a reminder that we have the ability to make a positive impact on the lives of others, simply by opening our hearts and our homes.  So, as we continue to celebrate the holidays with our ever-growing “family,” I am filled with gratitude for the lessons learned and the love that surrounds us.

Benefits of Strong Friendships

In life, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to choose our family. While our biological family holds a special place in our hearts, our friends become an extension of our chosen family. They are the ones who stand by our side, offering unwavering support, and celebrating our dreams and aspirations. My friends are my family by choice. They have seen me through the highs and lows, the triumphs and challenges. They have witnessed my growth, shared in my laughter, and wiped away my tears. In their presence, I feel a sense of belonging and acceptance that is truly invaluable.

True friendship is not just about being there for the good times, but also standing by each other’s side through the storms, reminding one another that they are never alone.

In this chosen family, we find a safe space to be our authentic selves. We can share our hopes, fears, and aspirations without judgment. Our friends become our confidants, our sounding boards, and our partners in adventure. They inspire us to step outside our comfort zones, explore new horizons, and embrace the fullness of life. So, let us cherish our friends who have become our family by choice.

Simple Acts of Friendship

Choosing friends as family means committing to have their back, just as they have mine. Being a friend does not have to be hard. Here are a few examples:

  1. Being a good listener: When your friend needs someone to talk to, lend them your ear without judgment. Give them your full attention and provide a safe space for them to express their thoughts and feelings.
  2. Offering support during tough times: Be there for your friend during challenging moments. Offer a comforting presence, a shoulder to lean on, or practical help when needed. Let them know that they can rely on you for support.
  3. Celebrating their successes: When your friend achieves something significant, celebrate their accomplishments with genuine joy. Show enthusiasm, offer congratulations, and let them know that you are proud of their achievements.
  4. Standing up for them: If you witness your friend being treated unfairly or facing criticism, stand up for them. Be their advocate and voice of support, defending their character and ensuring they feel valued and respected.
  5. Encouraging their dreams and aspirations: Support your friend’s dreams and aspirations by offering encouragement and belief in their abilities. Help them stay motivated and provide guidance or resources that can assist them in pursuing their goals.
  6. Being reliable and dependable: Show up when you say you will. Be reliable and dependable in your friendship. Your friend should feel confident that they can count on you in both good times and bad.
  7. Offering a helping hand: Be proactive in offering assistance when your friend is in need. Whether it’s helping with a task, running errands, or providing emotional support, extend a helping hand to lighten their load.
  8. Honoring their boundaries and respecting their choices: Respect your friend’s boundaries and choices. Allow them the space to make their own decisions and support them even if their choices differ from your own.

Remember, it’s the consistency and genuine care behind these actions that truly demonstrate your commitment to showing up for your friends and having their back. Small gestures can have a significant impact on their well-being and the strength of your friendship.

This Blog is part of our Choose for Yourself 21-day Challenge. Chick HERE to learn more.

 

Your Turn:  Choose Friends as Family

Here are a couple of journal prompts to explore the theme of putting your family.

Become Aware

Become aware of your behaviors and patterns around developing strong friendships.

  • Using the simple acts of friendship above and any other thoughts you have on what friendship means to you, do you notice any observations (gaps, triggers, patterns, and situations) where you would like to improve?  What is the impact?
  • Acknowledge your (insert observation) and it is (insert impact)

I am aware ______________________ and it is _________________________.

Be Grateful

Be grateful for becoming aware of times when you would like to build stronger friendships but did not.  Now you can use them to remind you to adjust.

  • Identify one observation you want to become aware of and use as a reminder to be a better friend.
  • What is the mindset you want to have once you become aware.
  • Change your perspective, be grateful for (insert observation), because it reminds you to (insert mindset).

I am grateful ________________________ and because now I can __________________________.

Take Action

Identify specific actions or steps you can take to be a better friend next time.

  • Name an action you will take next time you become aware.

Next time I become aware I will _______________________________________________.

Jen Weis

The publisher of Morning Cup.

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