“Friendship is always a sweet responsibility, never an opportunity.” Kahlil Gibran
Kahlil Gibran, the mystic and poet, had a lot of wonderful things to say about friendship and the connection between people, but the quote above says so much in so few words. Friendships are a responsibility—a responsibility to support and be available to your friend—but the benefits received are very much worth the time and effort put into the relationship.
Susan often wrote about the benefits of great friendships, and she also emphasized that we need to take the time out of our busy schedules to nurture our friendships. Friends need to spend blocks of time together—one-to-one—to nourish the relationship. Short blocks of time rarely allow intimacy to occur, so it is important to commit to making friendships one of your priorities.
Sometimes people just have too much on their plate to make friendship a priority. Susan wrote “Along with commitment and intention, soul-friendships also imply responsibility. It’s much easier to turn our backs and not care. Hence, it’s sometimes necessary to cultivate friendships slowly and with great sensitivity to another’s resistance.” If you are pursuing a friendship and find that it is moving nowhere, remember that becoming part of other people’s lives take time. Sometimes people are just unwilling or unable to make room in their lives for someone new, so don’t take it personally.
Although if you are the person resisting the time and commitment needed to cultivate soul-friendships then it is important that you push through the resistance and make friendship a priority.
The time you allot to cultivating your friendships doesn’t have to be extensive and time consuming. Send an email or call to say hello. Make plans for a monthly lunch or other type of outing. Just be mindful of keeping up with your close friends in a way that is comfortable for you and for them.
The benefits of a loving, supportive friendship cannot be overstated. Make sure you are making time in your busy schedule for your close friends. They will help to create an incredible richness to your life.