The whole conversation started as I was taking with a friend. We were discussing the amount of bridesmaids in a bridal party and how some brides must go around pointing to people like Oprah saying “you’re in my wedding, you’re in my wedding….everybody’sssssss in my wedding!!” I once shot a wedding many years ago where there were 24 bridesmaids…..twenty four. Now, maybe somewhere in the U.S. this is the norm, but when you come from a small town, you’re lucky if you even KNOW 24 other females! Kidding…but you get the point. I remember very vividly that day thinking to myself: “I wonder how many of these girls the bride will still be “friends” with in twenty years” and how when she looks back at her wedding album, she’s going to see faces of people she hardly even knows anymore. During our lighthearted conversation, my friend mentioned that more than 1/2 of the bridesmaids in her wedding she no longer has any contact with, even with the big bad world of social media…..
…..and I got to thinking about friendship. On the drive home that day, I started to think about how times have changed now that we have access to the world at our fingertips. We’re able to keep in touch with “friends” thru social media. Know what they are up to without picking up the phone just by “following” them-people are just connected in a different way than how it was when I was growing up. (yes, I realize that it makes me sound like I walked up hill, barefoot, both ways, in the snow, to get to school..haha) Do people know the difference to what a “true” friend is versus a “social media liker”? How would I explain what that is to my daughter? How would I explain the difference between someone who has the potential of being a really big and positive impact on her life? Someone who would help propel her forward instead of holding her back….and who is the wolf in the sheep skin. We’ve all been burned a time or two and as the good old Girl Scout song goes “some are silver and the others are gold.”
I thought I’d share my thoughts on finding *my* “gold”.
I will never ever forget this saying. I’ll be honest, I have no idea where I first heard it-I read a lot of self improvement books but it goes something like this: “You are the sum of the people you spend the most time with.” Let that sink in. Who are you surrounding yourself with? What characteristics do you admire (or don’t admire) about them? Over the years, I realized that I gravitated towards certain people and distanced myself from others without even realizing it. I also realized that THAT was when things started to align and amazing things started to happen. Finding “your people” can be hard and may even take a little time…but pay attention and believe people when they show you who they are. If you’re fortunate in life, you will find lots golden nuggets…but I think most people would consider themselves lucky if they found just one gold one. <3
So what were the characteristics of the people I spend the most time with? I can tell you….now that I consciously know.
- They share excitement in my accomplishments. I never have to be afraid of rising above the crowd when I am around them. They are cheering me on to rise higher. They celebrate my achievements and have the ability to be supportive even when they aren’t actively achieving theirs….because they truly want to see me be successful (in whatever it is I am setting out to do).
- They keep their word and have integrity. I mentioned above: “believe people when they show you who they are”. It wasn’t until I payed attention THIS that I was able to consciously sort out those who were my “friends” versus acquaintances. People whom I believed for YEARS were my “good friends” were merely just acquaintances in my life. I want to spend time with people who keep their word…even on the smallest things. I can depend on them…even if it is just showing up for a cup of coffee like they said they would or pulling thru on a favor they promised. I never have to second-guess if they will pull thru….I KNOW they would even when they are “busy” with life.
- They are confident about what they stand for….and they stand for it under any circumstance not just depending on who is around at the time. They don’t “go with what the crowd” is doing/saying….they confidently, genuinely and wholeheartedly stand for something and aren’t afraid to say so. They have a backbone. I admire that.
- They can find the good in everything and they can find something positive about any situation. They have a “what is this trying to teach me” attitude about negative circumstance and not a “poor me” approach to their problems. They don’t let their past circumstances determine their future success…and are even on a mission to “break the cycle”.
- Material things rank LOWER than experiences. They would be my friend if I drove a crappy car, lived in a crappy house and wore crappy shoes….or perhaps they had all of those “crappy things” just to be able to afford an experience of a life time. They have a grip that “things” don’t matter and are more sentimental about remembering experiences….probably by taking LOTS of photos! <3
- They have the ability to laugh AT themselves, don’t take life TOO seriously and they’re approachable. They have a sense of humor that makes them magnetic.
They are the kind of friends that if I “unplugged” from all things social media…I would still hear from them in one way shape or form. Maybe your “friend” characteristics are different-maybe you have more/less…or maybe you have yet to define them. I can promise you one thing, once you do, watch how much more enjoyable life becomes. And hey who knows……maybe some day, you’ll look at your wedding album and not see strangers. <3
Over time I have realized that the clients that tended to “find me” ….my “ideal wedding clients” -as those of us in the industry would say-had all of the same characteristics. It’s funny how that works. <3