Nov04

Publisher - November 2020

Pub0920“Things are never quite as scary
when you have a best friend.”
—Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbs—

I remember being at Girl Scout camp, sitting around the fire and singing, “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.” I didn’t really understand the magnitude of that song, because quite frankly, in the 5th grade or so, most friends are still fairly new. In thinking back to my formative years, I thrived on friendships, and never stopped.

To quote the Beatles, “I get by with a little help from my friends.” I’m social. Covid-19 has revealed that point to me loud and clear: I’m not a loner; I’m not quiet; I’m not an introvert; I’m not a homebody; I’m not even a lone wolf, unless I’m writing. In other words, I like being with people, especially my friends and family.

I’m lucky I have wonderful friends who are both silver and gold. I still hang out with a handful of my Southern gals I graduated high school with, and most of those actually go back to elementary school. In addition, I have a standing Wednesday night dinner with my BFFs here in the Lowcountry, all of whom landed here from above the Mason-Dixon line and a few from across the pond, too. And then I have my cousins, one in particular who has been my BFF since birth.

My parents always told me “you get out of something what you put into it,” and this is true in friendship. To have a friend, you have to be a friend. I had some great friends in college and a bestie from high school that I tried to stay in touch with and maintain meaningful friendships. However, I was the one who put forth the effort. For years, I would call, even when long-distance wasn’t free, and we would have fun conversations, but then nothing until I decided to call again. Eventually, my effort waned because it was like cranking a car and never leaving the driveway.

I even had a former bestie move within blocks of me, and I never saw her—not once. There are only a few explanations: 1. She doesn’t make time for friends, or 2. She makes time for friends, but I’m not one of them. Honestly, I’m alright either way. Though I’m still a version of who I was, I’m thankfully a different person as a grown up woman, and it’s all ok. Some friends are put in our life for just a moment, like petunias (one of my favorite flowers), some come and go, like lantana, and others last forever, like an oak tree. We need all of them. Together, they make up a beautiful garden and enhance your life right when you need it.

My mother claims I like my friends more than my family, and I jokingly say the jury is still out. There is a saying that friends are the family you get to pick. For so many this rings true. To have a girlfriend you can’t wait to call when something wonderful happens, or run to when life gets too hard is a true gift. It’s actually a miracle how two people can meet and become inseparable.

Many women lose track of their girlfriends simply because life takes over. We get married, have careers and children and all that becomes what it’s all about. I believe strongly that your significant other (SO) should be your best friend. Mine is, and I’m smiling just thinking about it. However, he doesn’t replace my girlfriends. Humans are complex and women need other women. Friendships provide a different kind of love and support than your SO. This also rings true for your adult children (young children are not your friend, you are their warden!) They can be your buds, but they don’t replace your true gal pals.

Here are a few Do’s to remember when it comes to friends:

Do: Your part to keep in touch. Life moves on, but it can do so without discarding people you enjoy. These days there are no excuses for not staying in touch. It just requires a dab of thoughtfulness. Connection can be as little as a text saying hi, or a funny pic that reminds you of them. My belief is if a person brings me joy in the slightest, I want to focus on that instead of all the crap that brings no joy—news, complaining faux friends on social media, etc. Shut that stuff out and reconnect with your old friends!

Do:
Follow through on your words. If you talk to a friend once a year or so and every time say, “Let’s get together,” then by all means make the effort to get together. Don’t be all talk. Seriously, what’s holding you back? Just set a lunch date for crying out loud, otherwise you’re just crying wolf, and that friend will quit calling. Believe me; I did.
You are in control of how deep, meaningful, rewarding and fulfilling your friendships are. If you are, then they are. And if they aren’t, they’re not a bestie.

Do:
Show up when they need you. Women don’t ask for help often, so by all means, if she asks, show up. This is important. When I was going through all I could handle, my friend Stephanie drove from Florence, SC, and put up all my Christmas decorations. She didn’t ask. She knew where my head was and intervened. I have mentally survived many trying times because my friends showed up. I could have never gotten through raising my children, divorce, Hurricane Matthew, and so much more without my friends. In fact, I wouldn’t want to do life without them. A friend is someone who knows you, and in good and bad times reminds you of who you really are and all you have, can and will accomplish. God gave us friends for a reason, and they truly are precious—silver and gold. You will see the power of friendship throughout this month’s stories. I hope these relationships serve to strengthen yours.

Welcome to our 150th issue of Paisley! We have made a lot of friends along the way. You are all important—the beautiful flowers and trees that make the Pink garden thrive. Thank you for being a friend of mine and Paisley. It means the world to me.

Peace, Passion & Paisley,
Elizabeth Millen

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