The subject of friendship has been on the forefront of my mind recently, especially since the recent discovery that one of my closest friends has pancreatic cancer. That was the bad news. The good news was that he and his lady are getting married in the middle of August! Yes, I have been on an emotional rollercoaster, and this situation needs no more comment as I think you already can see how poignant this situation is. ( yes, I am now a wedding planner!)
Then I discovered that July 30 is International Day of Friendship as designated by the United Nations; not to be confused with the general Friendship Day commemorated on the first Sunday of August. I guess we can just say that this week is Friendship Week!
How important are friends? More than we may think, and it is not necessarily true that we need only just one BFF – “Best Friend Forever.” Friends play a very important role in our lives because they are the inspiration that carries us towards our goal. Scott Dinsmore, creator of the Live Your Legend community says, “What would you do if the people around you refused to let you fail?” That’s very powerful stuff.
Do you have friends like that? Who in your life expects you to be somebody? I’m talking about real friends. The word “friend” has lost some of its original intensity, case in point the term “friend” on Facebook, when in fact we may barely know some of the people in our Facebook network!
Vital friends are the people who you just can’t afford to live without. But many of us expect that one best friend or a spouse is the answer to all our needs. In reality, it is much different.
In his book Vital Friends: The People You Cant Afford to Live Without, #1 New York Times bestselling author Tom Rath proposes that there are eight unique roles that are filled by our friends. Bottom line, he suggests there is no one, single person who can be everything for you. Different friends provide different input into your life.
The Builders motivate you. The Champions stand up for you. The Collaborator has similar interests. The Companion is always there for you. The Connector helps you get what you want. The Energizer brings the fun to your life! The Mind Opener expands your horizons. The Navigator gives advice. What is common to all essential friendships is a focus on what each person contributes to the friendship.
In my case, some friends fill two roles and one falls into three of the roles! OK, that must make him my “bestie.”
Who is your Builder, Champion, Collaborator, Companion, Connector, Energizer, Mind Opener and Navigator? Who is on your team that helps you through life?
To strengthen your current friendships and read more about the results of this research project supported by The Gallup Organization, click here to get the book Vital Friends: The People You Cant Afford to Live Without.
The book contains a unique ID code that provides access to the Vital Friends Assessment and Vital Friends website. The Assessment will reveal which friends play each of the eight vital friendship roles in your life.
Remember, don’t wait for a particular day or week to tell your friends you love them. You need to do that any day and every day. You just don’t know how many days any of us have.