Invest in friendship. When you find a good friend, take time out for a productive conversation. When time’s up, good soldiers are glad to get back to work. Don’t waste time and call it “friendship”.
True “fellowship” has a known and defined purpose, a task to achieve or discuss. Talk over coffee. Talk along the way—on a run, swim, flight, climb, workout, walk, or commute. But build friendships, don’t just shoot the breeze about surface conversation that you all hope will never go anywhere. Know when to jest and joust. Be hearty in humor, but keep your substance.
When it’s time to sit and “just be” with people, that’s no waste. Set aside time for quietness also, just don’t become addicted to an idle life. The best friendships in which to share mutual silence are the friendships built while working to achieve something excellent.
The greatest friendships are often between parents and children. As you age, be a cheerleader for your parents and don’t dwell on whatever they did that irritates you. Most people who get hung up in life are hung up on what their parents did or didn’t. But remember, your future is not about your parents, it’s about your future. Encouraging your parents will make you strong enough to overcome whatever weakness they handed down to you. They might have their own “parent” issues; dealing with yours just might deal with theirs as well and you’ll find a new best friend.
If you’re a parent, make the task easier for your kids: Do some homework and get a third opinion before you execute your “perfect plan” to make things better for the next generation. If you’re a young parent, don’t presume—like everyone else—that you’ll be the first in human history whose kids don’t talk back. Love shines brightest as a choice, not a passing feeling. Don’t overbear and know when to protect your space, but don’t be the “professional” who helps everyone but his own family. And, don’t be the parent who runs off to have an affair because the marriage no longer feels like a high school prom.
Friendship is a choice that starts in the little things.