Isn’t deep conversation with a friend fulfilling? It nurtures the soul. It leads to stimulating thoughts. It can help us understand others better.
In talking with my friend Jen today, I learned she grew up in an Army family. They moved every single year until she was a teen. She now thinks those early years played a part in molding her into feeling like a loner who is insecure about what may come next. And that’s understandable because it’s hard (especially when you’re a kid) to build lifelong friendships when you know people less than twelve months.
When I asked Jen if I could write about her story, she agreed but added that she recently met another “Army brat.” That woman was affected by the constant shuffling in a way quite opposite to Jen. When they first learned they had similar backgrounds, the woman exclaimed something like, “Wasn’t it wonderful to always be on the move, meeting new people, having different experiences?!”
Hearing that story reminded me that various life circumstances impact each of us differently. We know that’s true if we draw on our rational brains. But too often we take the lazy way out and lapse into thinking that everyone should respond to issues just like we do. And if they don’t, they’re “wrong.”
My personal belief is that much of the negativity and hostility going on today is due to a lack of empathy. Wikipedia defines empathy as, “the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their frame of reference, that is, the capacity to place oneself in another’s position.”
Instead, too many people automatically jump to judgment, blame, point fingers, and instantly spew forth opinions from their own frame of reference.
My only link at the end of this post is an old favorite of mine by Brené Brown. It is less than three minutes long. Please watch it, even if you’ve seen it before.
That topic of childhood friendships popped up today because I had mentioned I’m still close with my oldest friend (we’ve known each other since we were toddlers) as well as with my best friend from high school. And I noticed the wistfulness on Jen’s face as she shared that lifelong friendship was an unknown experience for her.
Well, Jen, while we’ve known each other for only seven or so years, I’m making you a promise: I’ll be your friend for the rest of our lives. So from this point forward, you have a lifelong friend.