It is officially the fall: a time we begin to look forward to the remaining days of this year and prep for next year. We sweep clean old thoughts that no longer bode us well, clothing that no longer serves us, hobbies and extracurricular activities that no longer light our fire. With renewed anticipation, we begin to think of uplifting ways to enrich our lives emotionally and spiritually.
Shopping is not just for material possessions, darlings. We shop for everything. But let’s start with material possessions because they encompass a very girly topic and fall is a season of the year to fill in our wardrobes, bath cabinets and drawers with new beauty products and new fashions. Shopping for new cosmetics and clothing is one of my many emotional and spiritual joys.
Browsing For Quality
Actually, yesterday was the first day in quite some time that I had time to venture into a store to look around. I am an observer and before I start shopping, I like to get my feet wet by meandering. Salespeople swarm around me, asking if they can be of service and I casually and politely say, “Thank you! Today is my browsing day.”
Browsing is a way of life, darlings. Think about it; we browse through everything! Papers, books, our drawers, our kitchen cabinets, our email inboxes, Netflix, restaurant guides, shops, and large stores. You name it, we browse; we glance, we window shop and we casually look around until we pounce.
After spending about an hour in the store, I left with my thoughts and no purchases. After all, darlings, I am not going to purchase until I browse several shops. I am a savvy shopper who searches for quality.
Anyway, I have my eye on a sweater and skirt, both are smashing. And lo and behold, I had the surprise of surprises in the Chanel handbag and accessory department. I saw the belts I have in my drawer at home! I had purchased them when I was in my 30s and kept them for all of these years! Clearly I had a good reason to save them.
A comment my mom made several years ago flashed through my mind as I swept through the revolving doors on my way home, “Susan, you have always been a good picker.” Well, in certain areas I’m very good and in some areas, there’s room for improvement.
I am very good in the husband, shopping and picking people departments. I choose quality above all else.
Holding on tight to my ultimate concierge and close girlfriends, I am definitely satisfied. I am keeping most of my wardrobe but will add new accessories, one of which includes the Apple watch! In the back of my mind, I still hear Ines say, “Oy!” More on that later.
Best girlfriends are sugar, spice and everything nice, no matter what.
What are the qualities to look for in a best friend? We all need good friends. So says psychiatrist Saul Levine in his article on “The Importance of Friendship” in Psychology Today. But it doesn’t take a doctor to convince me of the benefits of friendship. Or research either, although science proves that close friendships are our most valuable assets.
As Dr. Levine points out, friends enhance our moods, our ability to function and our emotional and physical health. Most of us know this intuitively. But when a friend asked me to write a piece on the topic of what makes a best friend, I realized there is so much we do not know intuitively and also a lot that we take for granted.
To organize my thoughts, I began thinking of the women in my life who have those unique qualities and gifts that draw me to them. What’s their secret? I thought to myself.
A Generational Difference in Friendship
My answer came when I recalled a day many years ago. I was walking on the beach in Honolulu with my girlfriend Carolyn. I was in my late thirties and she was in her late forties.
“How do you keep up with all of your friends?” I asked her.
She answered, “Maintaining friendships isn’t easy. It’s a full-time job. You have no idea how many hours I spend nurturing my friendships.”
Then we changed the subject and chattered on about something else. But I never forgot our original talk.
Friendships While Wearing Different Hats
I realized our ten-year age gap made a difference in how we viewed our roles as women and girlfriends. She was a homebody with four children, a husband and lots of time to focus on her female friendships. My generation had one foot firmly planted in our home, and the other searching for greater fulfillment in the outside world.
We were the women who began to spread our wings and wear other hats besides wife, mother, daughter, sister and girlfriend. And that included further education, a career path and travel.
I began to understand how complicated it would be to answer my girlfriend’s question. After all, how can we maintain our quality relationships with women, given our hurried lives today and in the future as well? Most women I know in my generation show no signs of slowing down.
Friendships I Love
I started thinking about the women I hold dear. I realized each of them encompasses the same five qualities that I consider necessary in a best friend. Giving me their constant time was not one of them. I believe their personal qualities far surpass the number of hours they spend on friendships.
Best of all, anyone can embrace these five qualities to improve their own friendships. They are as follows:
Qualities to Look for in a Best Friend
1. Openness and Honesty:
Best friends don’t wear masks to conceal their real thoughts. They are able to show their vulnerabilities. A real friendship can’t be built on falsehoods. This kind of honesty is a rare commodity. If you possess it, make the most of it by using it judiciously. And choose friends who will see this quality in you and treasure you for it.
It is an absolute requirement. A best friend knows how to hold her tongue with your secret and use her tongue to defend you.
3. Giving Instead of Taking:
Best friends are generous with themselves. They are generous with their feelings and gain far more happiness when giving rather than getting. I watch the joy in their faces. Best friends are not self-serving.
Best friends sympathize with you, and are on your wavelength because they know how to relate to your feelings. They can walk in your shoes. This kind of friend is a keeper.
I have noticed that my closest girlfriends brighten a room when they enter. Positive women revel in an attitude that is enticing and catching. They are like a warm blanket, wrapping happiness and joy around you.
Friendship truly is a full-time job. We need to dedicate the appropriate time to nurture the types of long-term relationships we’re looking for. Just as I perused multiple stores and spent an entire afternoon examining potential items for this fall, do yourself a favor and reprioritize your relationships this season. If you have girlfriends with the five qualities I mentioned, and you mirror them, you will stay connected out of mutual honesty, loyalty, empathy, positivity, and generosity.