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Relationships and Sustainability
05/21/2009
by: Lissa Coffey

There is an old saying that says: “Make new friends, and keep the old.  One is silver, the other is gold.”

Life is all about relationships.  We have a relationship with the environment, with our work, with our home, and especially with the people in our lives.  Earth Month gives us an opportunity to look at how we can make things last, to best maximize the resources we have.  It takes a lot of energy to develop a friendship.  A friendship is an investment of our time and emotions.  And we benefit from having these people in our lives in countless ways.  How can we best sustain our relationships, given the overwhelming obligations that we face on a daily basis?  Here are a few tips:

-Be available.  Sure, you’ve got an e-mail, cell-phone and facebook page.  But can your friends really reach you?  Sometimes we’re so bogged down by technology that we forget the reasons we got started on it in the first place.  We can get our social networking “friends” mixed up with our true friends, the ones who want to be there for us no matter what our status update says.  So, when a friend is moving, reach out and offer to help.  If a friend is going through a hard time, go over and hold her hand.  Take him our to dinner and let him talk.  Let your friends know that you are there for them, with your actions, as well as your words.

-Be honest.  Honesty is the most important key to making any relationship work, and last.  Always tell the truth.  It’s that simple.  Honesty, integrity, authenticity, and trust – they all go hand in hand.  Do what you say you are going to do.  Show up when expected.  There is no need to judge or criticize, allow your friend to be himself, as they allow you to be yourself. 

-Be present.  When you are with your friends, really be with your friends.  Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by your iPhone or anything that is happening outside of the present moment.  Listen, and respond.  Make this time together your priority.  Enjoy your friendship, relax and be yourself.

-Be in touch.  Check in with your friends.  Ask how they are doing.  Know what is happening in their lives.  Invite people over.  Connect.  Years go by really quickly, and before you know it, friendships fade away.  Take just a moment to touch base with your friends and let them know that you appreciate them.  Show this person in your life how wonderful they are, and much they mean to you.  Send birthday cards, make phone calls, and write thank you notes.  Share photos online, and stay involved even from afar.

-Be mindful.  If a relationship is draining you, if it no longer serves you, or makes you feel bad, then it’s time to walk away.  Relationships should be healthy, and make you feel good.  The best friendships nurture your spirit.  So if a relationship is toxic, then follow the environmental tip and “reduce” it from your life.  Remember that your first relationship is with yourself.  Be true to yourself.

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