The four most important lessons of friendship

Find out how, in searching for a ‘friend for life’ one woman lost most of her friends – and found a surprising new soul mate.

Diane Sheppard from Smart Life Training reveals how she’s always been envious of people who’ve had friends for life. And how it took losing all her friends to find the most important person in her life.

I’ve always envied childhood friends

For most of my adult life I’ve admired women that have had friends since they were little. People who casually introduce someone with: “We met at junior school and are still best friends now”.

It always filled me with such joy that people have grown up together, shared adventures and learned about life together.

The comfort and security that must come from knowing that person accepts you and would be there for you forever would be great. The problem is that I just couldn’t work out how they did it.

Maybe a friend for life wasn’t for me?

So by the time I hit 30 and had very recently stopped hearing from my best friend, I had to accept that having a ‘friend for life’ maybe wasn’t an aim that was working for me.

And as I stumbled through a relationship break down, and a life break down, I went on an adventure of self-discovery. I read books that taught me to just do it and books that taught me to just say no.

During this time, the friendship I developed with myself began to grow. I loved doing things on my own, meeting new people and trying new things.

Yes, it was a little awkward and nerve wracking at first; like all new relationships you need to learn to understand the person you are going to spend the day with, and some things you learn are quite surprising.

My relationships with old friends soured

And as I grew as a person, I found that the connections I had with old friends changed. And many soured to a point where I found them unfulfilling and strained.

So I made a bold move. I let go of the desire to have a specific idea about friendship other than to learn from and embrace people that peaked my interest.

And as I did, a magical thing started to happen – I began attracting like-minded friends with shared interests. Friends that challenged me, that supported me and that made me a better person.

My true ‘friend for life’ is me!

Throughout this journey I learned many valuable lessons. I realised that clinging onto old friendships and forcing strained interactions just so I could fulfil an ideal in my head isn’t what I need.

I also discovered that I do have a true friend for life – me!

The four most important friendship lessons

So what tips can I pass on to others going through a similar journey? Here the four most important lessons I have learned:

  • I wished I had enjoyed the moment and times I spent with friends, rather than trying to make it a friendship that endured. So don’t be afraid to be in the moment, spend time with people that help you to grow and you have fun with. Just be yourself and let life do the rest.
  • Letting go of old friends can be bring you exciting opportunities to meet new people, do new things and most of the time it brings you better friends than you could imagine.
  • Sometimes friends from the past may reappear in your future… I like to believe these friends were meant to be.
  • The most important person to make friends with is you. Take yourself to dinner – order the champagne, go to a spa for the day or go on holiday somewhere you have always dreamed of going.

Diane Sheppard is a Personal Performance Coach at Smart Life Training, helping ladies achieve the life they dream of threw coaching and personal breakthrough. Release the past to embrace an exciting new future.