Fountains distract me in the best of ways. I know they’re ancient inventions, just water in motion, but there’s such a soothing playfulness in fountains. They invite me to wait and watch. The movement and sound of those splashes, the lure to reach for a few coins at the bottom, the energy of water shot up and dropping down.
Friendship is like a fountain along our dusty road. Our friends should renew us, remind us to stop and enjoy ourselves. When friends replenish us, it’s easy to make room and sacrifice to be together: to drive extra to meet them for a favorite restaurant, take the scenic drive for good photo ops, plan bucket list adventures together.
Just like a picnic is better when you’re sitting by a fountain, friendships should be increasing the quality of your life. If your friends consistently bring you into anxiety, nervous drama, discouragement, then you’re not in a very good friendship.
Friendship has been done a million times. Just like a fountain, it isn’t new tech. The same old stuff siphoned against gravity and up the spout. Friendship has been practiced between all sorts of people over the years, but it’s the same practice. When a fountain lifts the water and drops the weight, it doesn’t matter if it gurgles, sprays or foams, the fountain gives new energy to the water. Friendship also lifts us to new places and then us lets us return refreshed.
If your friends are not pouring life and energy into you—this can come in many ways like listening, giving you new ideas, showing up when you’re down, remembering what matters to you — you need better friends.
Without friendship, we become stagnant. With friendship, we find energy to consider better ways to live and love. But if you’re in a dying friendship, you’ll have energy of the wrong kind: nervous, anxious energy, stressed and exhausted excitement. Drama friends, friends we cannot trust, friends who betray our secrets, friends who forget the most important things to us, these are dying friendships. Dying friendships can often keep us engaged because they feel so intense, like a whirlpool. But they inevitably will suck us down. You might think the energy is exciting or better than nothing, but there are better friends out there. And it’s time you starting finding them.
If most your friends don’t actually know and treasure you, then you will not be renewed by friendship. If most your friends leave you anxious and depleted, friendship might just be a blue status button. If you cannot name a single friend who “names you”, calls out your gifts, respects and listens to your unique perspective, shows you how insightful, caring, interesting you are, then it’s time to find better friends.
The Friendship Posts
Expecting Better Friendships: Friendship Fountain, Sorting Friendships, Downsizing Friendships
What is a Friend: Balloon Friends, Companions, It is Good You Exist
The Pace of Friendship: Walk with Me, Return the Volley, Trains and Rollercoasters
Growing Friendships: Friends and Flowers, Growing a Friendship, Weeding a Friendship
Healing a Friendship: Forgiveness, The Work of Healing, The Crucial Question