The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

October 9, 2013

It’s the million little things that make friendship

By Peggy Goodrich, columnist
Enid News and Eagle

— Do you invest in healthy relationships/friends? Think about it.

A wise man once said, “Meeting someone for the first time is like going on a treasure hunt. What wonderful worlds we can find in others!” There is a vast difference in friends and acquaintances. Many of us have millions of acquaintances. Friends that we can depend on are few and far between. Without being told, we know one from the other.

We need both close friends and  casual acquaintances. Close friends are the kind that we don’t feel self-conscious around even if they do see the dust bunnies under our beds or dirty dishes in our sinks. When they drop by, it is to see us and not our house and the way we keep it (or don’t keep it). Close friends accept us just the way we are, with all our faults and limitations.  Acquaintances often keep our company because of who we are and not because of what we are. They can be easily impressed by status in the community, and are really not interested in getting to know the real person.

Good, close friends are the people we want to spend time with. They nurture us and allow us to nurture them. We learn from each other. We share our feelings and lives. They know when we are happy and why. They know when we are sad and why.  They know when we need assurance and comfort, and they know when and how to give it. They know when to shut up and listen and when to do the talking. They feel what we feel and experience our emotions with us.  

Healthy relationships are never one-sided, nor controlling, nor hurtful. Healthy relationships lift us up instead of letting us down. There are people in this world who really do  not want  friends. They don’t want  any help and wish to be left alone.  Regardless of what we do, they go right back to the same place of depression  and helplessness they were in.  They stay down  no matter what the season or situation. In time, they pull us under instead of allowing us to encourage them.  

These people often instigate conflict and dissatisfaction in life in general. No matter how well meaning we are, we cannot cheer them. Too often, we are sucked under by their control and attitude and selfishness. Life is too short and too wonderful to waste time on these kinds of people. We don’t want to get sucked into their quicksand, nor let them rub us the wrong way. They don’t wish to change their way, and seem content in their gloom and doom. If anyone ever needed friends, they do, but they won’t allow anyone to get close to them or their feelings.  

On the other hand, there are friends who think only of others and make us feel so  important and loved and comfortable when we are around them. They touch our lives and we are sad only when we have to leave them. They are the friends that we take a little of them with us when we have to part. We laugh together. We cry together. We talk about old times and new ideas. We share the ups and downs of life and they always lift our spirits.

There are friends who are natural-born peacemakers.  They see all sides of situations and help us make wise decisions and resolutions to our problems. They are non-judgmental, and look for the good  side of everyone and everything. We all know it is a dangerous thing to discuss religion and politics with friends.  However, special friends can discuss these personal topics and stay open-minded and actually learn viewpoints from each other. Without pointing fingers or accusing political figures, they make observations and welcome all points of views.

A person cannot have too many friends. All are important. Even the ones who disagree with us or are just plain disagreeable, make us appreciate the sweeter ones. Every  friend makes us happy in some way — some when they come, and others when they leave! But, we need to cultivate every type of friendship.  I am blessed with only the very best of friends. I cannot name a single one that has not contributed to making me a better person. Each is important in a different way, and every one enriches my life.  

We have heard it said, “Friendship is not a BIG thing, it is a million little things.” I have to agree. Big friendships grow in little ways and over time. True friends are generous and happy and up-beat and caring and comforting, and they are close by when we need them. These things are BIG things and make wonderful, lasting friendships.

Those who cook and share their recipes with the world make wonderful friends. Another observation about friends is that they are always sharing whatever they have and whatever they are.

Good friends are like angels. We don’t have to see them to know they are there.  

A stranger is simply a friend we have not yet met.   

This kind of sums it up about true friendship: “A friend is one to whom one may pour out all the contents of one’s heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.”

With Halloween just around the corner, it is time for a little fun with cooking. This is an old recipe but can be made new by pouring in  small round-bottomed bowls until it sets. Then turn it out on a salad plate and put a stem of green pepper and decorate with whole cloves for eyes and mouth.   

Orange Glow Salad/Dessert

1 (6-ounce) package orange gelatin

1 cup finely grated carrots

1 (15-ounce) can crushed pineapple, undrained

3⁄4-cup chopped pecans.

Dissolve gelatin  in one cup boiling water.  Add carrots, pineapple, and pecans.  Pour into crystal bowl, or like Jack-O-Lanterns above, and chill overnight.

Send your comments to: Peggy Goodrich, Food For Thought, P.O. Box 1192, Enid, OK 73702