Ask Abbie: Go with the flow of friendships

Published 1:21 pm Saturday, November 2, 2013

Q: I feel like I am losing all of my friends. Recently one of my good friends has started hanging out with another one of my friends. They are doing more and more together and not inviting me to go with them. I don’t enjoy some of the same things that the two of them enjoy, but we could still all go to dinner together or something else that we would all enjoy. I also have a couple of friends who are getting married. I am single. I am afraid I am going to lose them as friends to once they are married. I am trying to build a new friendship, but she is also dating someone and I am afraid she will also push me to the side. How can I get over this fear of losing all of my friends?

A: Grab a bucket, your keys and prepare yourself for an adventure. The closest beach is your destination. Once there, find a nice place to sit with a clear view of the ocean. Take your bucket down to the water, fill it halfway, and carry it back with you to your chosen spot. Have a seat and set your bucket beside you. Relax and enjoy the waves.

Unless you take pleasure in putting yourself through unnecessary frustration, I assume you would not shake the bucket you just filled to manufacture your own waves, but would instead divert your gaze to the effortless waves of the ocean. In order to see how this scenario relates to your friendship dilemma, we must embark upon another adventure.

Grab your coffee, no need for a bucket this time unless you require that much caffeine to function properly, and prepare yourself for a short time of thought exploration. A place without distraction is your destination. Once there, continue to read.

In order to enjoy the waves of friendships instead of fear them, you must begin to think of friendships as the naturally occurring waves in the ocean’s tide rather than as the self-manufactured waves in your bucket. Waves carried by the ocean’s tide and waves carried by friendships are constantly moving, found in unlimited supply, and controlled by a gravitational force stronger than any human. In addition, both types of waves ebb and flow in order to help maintain balance on the planet and to keep life from becoming stagnant.

A recent report published by the Mayo Clinic provides the support needed to substantiate this claim. It states that friendships increase a sense of belonging and purpose, boost happiness, reduce stress and improve self-worth. It also reports that friendships help cope with traumas, such as divorce, serious illness, job loss, or the death of a loved one, as well as encourage a change in unhealthy lifestyle habits such as lack of exercise.

Friendships hold immense benefits for your mental, physical and spiritual health. The support, companionship and powerful push they provide to help you through life’s difficulties is irreplaceable and well worth the effort they require.

Anytime I sit on the beach and look out over the vast expanse of ocean that lays before my eyes, I feel a sense of appreciation. I give thanks for being allowed to enjoy and appreciate a view of such magnitude. Its magnificence leaves no gap of doubt in my cognition that a system, much larger than myself, will be forever present to protect, ensure and promote my best interest.

The gift of peace this belief bestows unto my spirit quiets any storm threatening me from afar or attempting to wreak havoc on me from nearby. The following poem was written to help you find this same solace as you sit on the beach and look out over the vast expanse of friendship waves.


Hidden Fluidity

Friendships come and go as the tides ebb and flow.

Although one mixes for survival and the other to encourage,

They both work for the benefit of the greater good and not for the purpose of its suffrage.

Friendships will ebb and they will flow.

Any attempt to control or to predict their routes will be to no avail,

Yet any attempt to support their efforts will give wind unto their sail.

Friendships come and go as the tides ebb and flow.

Once the fluidity that surrounds is no longer unknown,

A true beauty shall emerge from afar bearing a gift never to be over shown.

Friendships will ebb and they will flow.


ABBIE LONG is a Franklin native and advice columnist for The Tidewater News. Submit your questions to