Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Lessons of a Friend

It is true what they say about life always teaching you lessons. Sometimes when I think that life has taught me enough lessons or when I think it is time for me to stop learning and start teaching I learn something new. This happens to me daily and is probably good fodder for my blogs.

Here is a good example of this.

There is a girl that I know at work. Let's call her "Kim." I have known Kim for a few years now but have never really worked with her. She was always working for a different department than I did but I met her through various working relationships. A few months ago I was assigned to work with her on a project that was going to involve meeting with her a few hours a day, several days a week for several weeks. That was fine with me. She seemed a nice person. When I first met up with her on the project she asked me about my 4 kids. That blew me away. She actually knew and remembered that I have 4 kids. I was a bit embarrassed because I thought she had one child when in fact she had two.

Lesson number 1: Care about other people and be more observant.

Admittedly I really never worked with her so trying to remember everyone employed at the company and how many kids they have can be a challenge but heck she remembered how many I had. That says something to me. Maybe I was worth remembering to her or maybe she did her homework.

So working along side of her I started developing this friendship with her that sort of stood out. We seemed to have so much in common. We both have kids. We are both engineers. We love to be organized. We both like to cook. We love to help people. We love to tease each other. We are Catholic. I would have never thought that we would have that much in common but we do!

Lesson number 2: Never judge a book by it's cover.

Last week while going through the lunch line we started talking about friendships. I was complaining that I don't really have much free time to make friendships. She was telling me about her best friend. How they talk every day on the phone. How they are there for each other 24/7 no matter what. If one or the other is sick the other one will come over and bring soup or medicine, even at 2 am! I admitted that I didn't feel I had that type of friend and hadn't since college when my best friend and college roommate "dumped" me because I was Catholic. (She became a born again evangelist and I think that she didn't feel that my being Catholic was really a Christian. She kept trying to convert me and when she finally gave up, she left me. What a shame. That was a tough lesson. I hated that our friendship ended because of that...but that's another blog post. I digress.)

Anyway, as we were talking about friendships I kept wanting to ask her if I could be her friend. You know, outside of work type of friend. The type of friend that I can call on the weekend to say hi. The type of friend where I can invite over and have a play date with our kids. The kind of friend that I can laugh with and not feel like I am being judged. That would be so great. We meet tomorrow and I will ask her if we could get together sometime outside work.

Lesson number 3: In order to HAVE a friend you have to BE a friend.

In the early to middle stages of working with Kim on this project, I left work for a few weeks for my vacation. I found that in the middle of my vacation I actually missed her. I wanted to call her on the phone but I didn't want to bother her. (Also the cell phone signal where I was was very weak). I started realizing that maybe I was making a friend without trying or without realizing I was actually doing it. I didn't have to work at it. It just happened.

Lesson number 4: Good things can sometimes be staring you right in the face.

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