How strong are your friendship circles?

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” ~ C.S. Lewis

Friendship has been our theme this month.

How are you doing when it comes to building a small inner circle of close friends and a larger extended set of friends?  The two are essential to the foundation of your support system.

I just returned from a week in New York City and Columbus, Ohio.  In both cities, I met with many Women on Fire friends at teas and get-togethers and celebrated the 20th wedding anniversary of my best friend Jan Allen and her husband Curt Steiner.

Women on Fire Tea at Lady Mendl’s in New York City — Front row: Sophfronia Scott, Michelle Mahana, Wendy DeSimone, Wendy Lagstein, Jill Dulitsky. Back row: Janette Barber, Shannon McCaffery, Lara Licharowicz, Holly Getty, Joan Wallace, Debbie Phillips, Lisa Clair, Janina Sebesky, Amy Newmark, Colleen Pero, Sarah Birdsong and Trudy Dujardin.

If you have attended a Women on Fire Tea, you know how powerful these small groups can be and how it feels to be heard and understood without judgment or advice.  You are uplifted!

Having a small, close circle of friends you trust who understand what you are going through — happy or sad — is key to your emotional stability and good health.  And, building a larger group of friends for connections and enjoyment further strengthens your support system.

My long-time mentor and therapist Dr. Norman Shub of Columbus calls friendship “the secret life sustainer.”

He spoke at Jan and Curt’s anniversary gathering of nearly 200 friends last weekend.

Jan, Curt and I at their gathering last weekend. They honored their 20th wedding anniversary by celebrating their large circle of friends! (Photo by Renata Ramsini)

“Friendship is not a trade; it’s a gift,” Norman said. “Friendship requires investment so each person feels cared about.”

Acknowledging that many people don’t feel they have time to invest in others to build an emotional connection, Norman said, “Sometimes you have to put your friends first. Loving them has to be the most important thing. When they need you, you have to be there. Love grows by making another person important.”

He said that 40% of people now celebrate holidays with friends rather than family.  So nurturing your friendships and learning the skills to be a good friend become all the more important.

I have always admired that from the very beginning of their relationship and marriage Jan and Curt valued their individual “best friendships” as well as developed a huge, extended group of friends.

It was inspiring that while we all didn’t know each other at the anniversary party, we all knew Jan and Curt! And, from them, many of us became friends, too, expanding each of our friendship circles.

Women on Fire Tea in Columbus at The Cambridge House. Front row: Julia McLemore, Debbie Phillips, Emily Christian, Brigid McClain, Jan Allen, Carolyn Hut, Tricia Simpson. Back row: Laurel Hodory, Caileigh Hughes, Laura Tiberi, Michelle Galligan, Michelle Vander Stouw, Kitty Munger, Eve Esch, Mary Kay Purdy, Kacy Cook, Sophfronia Scott, Cathryn Loucas.

What is the status of your friendships? How vibrant is your inner circle? Who will you choose to make important in your life now?

Please join Jan and me on the Women on Fire members’ LIVE CHAT this Tuesday.  We’ll be talking about building your friendship circles and many other aspects of friendship.

And, a big welcome to all you who have joined The Spark! this week. We love that you are here!

Wishing you inspired and loving friendship circles ~

Introducing  *This week’s Spark PINspiration*  

                   Pin to Pass on the Love!