Who Are Your Friends?

October 27, 2009 § 6 Comments

There is a saying that people come into your life for a season, a reason or a lifetime and once you figure out where they fit, you will know what to do.

I have always enjoyed the verse because it has helped me numerous times understand others better and made sense of situations, sometimes after the fact, even years later.

People who you think you may enjoy lasting relationships with, you don’t for whatever reason, perhaps differing priorities. Often these folks move to another community and time and distance take their toll. A falling out can end what one might have thought was a lifetime friendship. Other individuals linger in your life a little longer and you realize later that they had a definite purpose and helped you grow from your experience with them. Then, there are people who seemed inconsequential with little in common when you first meet them … individuals you thought were simply fulfilling a reason or, at most, there for that symbolic season, who’ve endured, not just as friends, but almost like family.

For me, those lifetime people easily fit the bill with words I expect to see in a true friendship or even a business relationship – trust, respect, honesty, loyalty, and dependability.

The verse came to mind on my recent holidays to Ontario.

I was reminded of it after my wife, Joyce, and I went for dinner with two couples in Sault Ste. Marie that we have known for many years. And as one year has led into another and then we returned to Alberta after 20 years away, nothing has changed when we get together with these people after two years living in Alberta. These are definitely in the lifetime category.

They are genuine people that you know you could always call on, no matter what, and vice-versa. All friendships are to be treasured, especially ones you have built up for years. But it really is priceless to just be able to pick up where you left off.

With some people, even family members, there seems to be a reaquainting you have to go through before you get into your visit. Not with these friends. It was like we had never left.

One of the couples, we had known longer and spent more time with than the other – in fact we’d become so close that every year for about 16 years, we took turns hosting Christmas back and forth between our homes. If members of our respective families happened to be visiting, they were welcomed in. Summers were never complete without at least one camping trip together at Pancake Bay Provincial Park, north of Sault Ste. Marie, on the shores of Lake Superior. Here’s to you, Jeni and Jim!

The other couple had invited us to their wedding and that was already a dozen years ago! Wow. Nothing had changed with Johnny and Maria Murtha. Always the same down-to-earth, kindhearted people. Cheers to you, too. Actually, it is more like good luck. With two precocious daughters, they will have their hands full in a short time, Dad with a shotgun.

How does it happen that some people just become these kinds of friends that you can so easily reconnect with after two or three years apart?

Technology will certainly help, whether email, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, to keep the ties strong. And we can even pick up the phone every once in a while.

Speaking of technology, it was my interest in learning more about enhancing our City of Grande Prairie website and examining the potential of social media that connected me with my now friend and blogmate, Wendy Peters.

We met by attending the Website Strategy Conference last May in Calgary and hit it off immediately while waiting for one of the presentations to start. More chat ensued after and we exchanged business cards and agreed to stay in touch. I was interested in the validity of getting into the use of Twitter and she encouraged me to try it out. The rest is history.

We intend to write books together and seek other business opportunities, so the status of our relationship has to be at least in the reason category. Perhaps we will go our separate ways after we make a few million dollars together. However, every time we talk on the phone or chat on Facebook, more ideas come out, so it seems more likely that further opportunities would arise.

In fact, what really got our partnership started was my noticing on Twitter how profound some of Wendy’s sayings are. I felt these should be in a book. Wendy immediately jumped at the thought. We decided blogging would be the best way to develop our material together, and faster.

What is really neat is how in sync we are, despite our distance. I live in Grande Prairie and Wendy in Calgary. A reader of The Muse and Views noted that Wendy and I clearly have a lot of chemistry. We both agree wholeheartedly with that statement. It seems comparable to being a figure skating pair who produces great results together. What we do away from the “ice” does not matter and we might have little or nothing in common.

As it turns out, Wendy and I have become great friends and talk regularly on the phone and online. But I was floored when she told me that she had been a figure skater growing up, feeding direcly into my analogy.

In fact, it seems that every time one of us says something, the other has a complementary experience or idea to relate.

How does such magic occur? Why do two people with very different circumstances work so well together and feed off each other so readily? At times, it has been freaky.

I am not going to question the magic. I just want to ride this train to success. On the other hand, just like with our friends Jeni and Jim, the relationship cannot be taken for granted, either. Good friendships and business partnerships are nurtured.

And when Wendy realizes her dream of working in Africa for a while, I better be ready to either go visit or have the ability to conquer even greater communication challenges.

I don’t think there are too many ice rinks in Africa.


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§ 6 Responses to Who Are Your Friends?

  • John Tyler says:

    Wow, Awesome post!! So true about relationships!!

  • Wendy Peters says:

    Well as it turns out, there’s an ice rink in Cape Town, so if I stick to South Africa we might be alright.

    And let’s tell the truth here. Did I really just encourage you to try it out? Really? No, I’m pretty sure you got a full on Twitter onslaught, as does anybody who shows a spark of interest in hearing more about it within my earshot. And low and behold, Twitter works for making great connections! But it takes great people on either end first.

    I’ve often noticed that there are some people who seem to come into my life for a specific purpose, and there are others that are just there. The ones with a specific purpose, I am always seeking out the lesson from. I will ponder and mull until I have an answer of some sort. The ones that are just there, I don’t question them, but they seem to fit with wherever it is I’m going. I don’t question why our paths crossed, so to me, that’s an indication that whatever we’re building with this blog and any other ventures that we cook up, we’re exactly where we’re supposed be.

  • davidolinger says:

    With Twitter, I had heard a lot about it and was looking for someone to legitimize it for me. You did that, Wendy, and I am grateful it was a tool early in our getting to know each other for us to have some quick thoughts back and forth which proved to be the impetus for the blog.

    As for the people who are “just there” I think their purpose is less obvious. They are part of the solid foundation that makes us who we are. The other people who come in and out of our lives for specific purposes are replaced by others, but those “just there” people are the mortar between the bricks. No need to question why they are there.

  • Maria says:

    Love the “mortar between the bricks” analogy…I never thought about it that way.

  • threzas says:

    Its beautiful that you have deep enduring relationships. My guitar player in Calgary and I have a wonderful creative blast with each other, but we sometimes dont talk for months in between gigs and practises. Threza

  • […] David once posted a great post about friends for a season, a reason or a lifetime. […]

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