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Guilt-Free Friendships Feed the Soul

Toffee Bars drizzled with melted dark chocolate and salted caramel, that's how good my closest friends make me feel about life.

Here's my complete reply to the query:

Ask yourself if being around this person inspires you to be the bravest, strongest, most intelligent, most merciful, most generous, liberated and honest version of yourself. If the answer is yes, invest in maintaining and deepening your emotional connection to them even when you're geographically separated. 

Schedule a tech-free meal. All devices off and out of sight. 

Listen actively to whomever is speaking without focusing on what you plan to say in response or what you need to do later. 
No scorekeeping about who reached out to whom first or last time. If they're on your mind, send a text, an e-mail or (gasp!) an actual paper greeting card that says you're thinking of them or that you just saw, heard or did something that reminded you of them or of some earlier adventure/funny mishap with them.

Extend the benefit of the doubt to each other that communications silences aren't automatically a sign of trouble in the friendship. Life is hectic. Sometimes people choose to huddle-up for personal reasons that have nothing to do with you. 

Value friendship quality over quantity. Prioritize spending time with people who've seen you at your worst and remain your trusted friends. Who can you look in the eye as you reveal your deepest fears, weaknesses, flaws, and embarrassments and see empathy (and possibly some amusement depending on the circumstances), not judgement, reflected back to you?   

Do you feel energized or depleted after spending time with them?

Offer to others the enriching friendship you want to receive. If it's not reciprocated, wish them well and move on toward other people who will. 

My fundamental friendships are with people I've known since 4th grade, high school, and college undergrad with a few more established as an adult in the workplace and through other friends.  

Ultimately, the question is this: At the end of your life will you wish you had spent more or less time with this person? 


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