Sliding Otter News- From Stranger to Acquaintance to Friend

Sitting at Columbus Circle

Sitting at Columbus Circle

~The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing—not healing, not caring…that is a friend who cares~ Henri Nouwen

Recently my girlfriend and I set out to wander around Orleans County for a day. Our main destination was Leonard Oakes Winery near Medina. Dave Lindsay who hosted our wine tasting shared his passion for wine as well as his knowledge. He helped us move along the path from casual sippers to wine enthusiasts.

Sitting on a park bench near the new Oak Orchard Lighthouse we met another man who shared with us his delight in the peace and tranquility of Oak Orchard Creek and Lake Ontario. As we explored a nearby community, we stumbled upon a cottage for sale. A third man, Larry, stopped to tell us about his brother’s cottage. We found we shared a social connection with him and heard the story of his teen experiences.

All three men were strangers to us before we set out in the morning. I wonder what makes a stranger become an acquaintance and what turns an acquaintance into a friend. The Internet failed to enlighten me about these transitions.

Sometimes people pass in and out of our lives without lasting impact, remaining strangers to us. Sometimes we learn an acquaintance’s name and satisfy ourselves with passing nods or comments on the weather. Some of our acquaintances become  part of our our lives, sharing our good and bad times and our challenges as friends.

People we once thought were friends can change so much that when we meet them later they seem like strangers again. Friends can also be so in tune with us that we meet them after years and take up where we left off as if we had seen them just yesterday.

Friends understand our feelings without elaborate explanation. They accept our achievements and shortcomings without judging us. They know what we need and are there for us when we need them. They share our laughter and our tears. They make us feel comfortable around them no matter what. Whether or not we use the word, they love us and we love them unconditionally.

Our friendships let us grow and learn about ourselves and about how we deal with others. Friends can show us good and bad parts of us to which we would otherwise be blind. They also let us help them live their lives. Friends are the greatest treasures we have in life.

Life Lab Lessons

  • What do you appreciate most about your friends?
  • What do they appreciate most about you?
  • What do you need from your friends?
  • What do they need from you?
  • When was the last time you talked with your friends about four friendship?

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