A true friend through thick, thin and success

iphone instagram picture @dianecu

I had a profound conversation with a friend the other day. This chat meant so much to me and I wanted to share it with you. Because she’s so humble and rather not have attention drawn to her, I’ll keep her anonymous and call her Shari.

Shari and I are in the same profession, have very similar career goals and share very much the same life dreams. Those three similarities in themselves are the benchmarks to a solid friendship. Well at least for us, they are the glue that hold us together to keep one another grounded and honest.

We talked about how and why our friendship is so unique in that although our career paths sometimes can conflict with having similar clients, that we don’t harbor jealousies or animosity toward one another. I rambled on, like I always do, about how it disturbs me to see how women can get so catty and competitive with one another, that their true beauty doesn’t come out.

I feel every woman is beautiful on the inside and when women gather together to celebrate one another’s beauty, then we become powerful. Harnessing the the amazing energy, strength and support of women as a group can produce amazing things. I’ve witnessed and experienced such life changing moments with my female peers and for me, there’s no turning back. When we can genuinely be happy and celebrate the success of those around us, then we’re one step closer to loving ourselves. If we can help one another as sisters to become successful both personally and professionally, then we can truly be happy with ourselves.

I’m not sure if that makes sense. I’m rambling and I’m certainly not a shrink. It’s just how I feel. Maybe I can find a way to explain it better one day.

At the end of our conversation, I thanked Shari for being so authentic, so good and supportive of me.

Shari told me that she learned to become a better friend because I was the first to show her what it’s like to be a self-less, sacrificing and supportive friend. That remark left me silent for a long moment. I didn’t see my loving friendship to her as self-less, let alone sacrificing. Her words meant so much to me and I’m still humbled, trying to understand how I could be a better friend to her. I believe in her and only want to see her happy. My friendships always comes from that deep place.

I hope you share this same supportive, nurturing and honest friendship with someone. If not, maybe you should be a friend like this to someone. First.

Be a subtle, but strong light behind those you care about. Give them support and strength and in return, you’ll feel it in your heart.



{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. Barefeet In The Kitchen

    This is an absolutely beautiful post. I’m not sure how I missed it when you first published it, but today’s timing is perfect. I’m blessed with a few friends like that as well. True friends are some of God’s greatest gifts.

  2. Brooke @ Foodwoolf

    We women have to stick together and support each other. None of this catty b.s. that many of us fall back on because we’re afraid. Fear is the last thing we should nurture in our lives. Just love.

    Love for a sister like you.

  3. Roberta

    Thank you for these beautiful words.
    They remind us of what does really matter.
    Giving love and support without judgment is not always easy to do in our competitive society but once we let go of our fears it becomes so enriching and rewarding… women should not compete that’s for sure!

    lots of love

  4. Joy

    This was such a beautiful story. I am so glad I go to women’s college!

  5. Aly

    I am new to reading your blog, but I think you are just wonderful. This post is so honest and candid and that is exactly how I am on mine. So many times I have conversations with my best friend that I would love to share and you just gave me the courage to do so … So thank you.

  6. Alyson @ Dates & Quinces

    What you’ve said is so poignant. Jealousy and competitiveness are such easy emotional traps to fall into – and for what purpose? Participating in catty, destructive behaviour doesn’t *do* anything for one’s sense of self.

    I’m a JHS teacher, and the years I teach (7-9) are the ones where this behaviour really starts to come to the fore and where we challenge them to approach things differently. Most of the time, it’s just the kids modelling what they see from their parents or (and way more frequently) what they see represented on tv.

    I had a student this year who was crushed that he didn’t win the athlete of the year award, and behaved pretty badly towards his best friend who did win. Ultimately, we (it was a team effort) had to remind him that it’s important to remember that someone else’s success =/= his failure, that his friend had nothing to do with the way he was feeling, and that it was ego standing in the way of celebrating. I won’t pretend that the story ended with a 180º, but there was reconciliation.

    Having said that, I wonder at the excuses grown women (and men) have for demonstrating similar behaviour, you know? I can’t pretend that all of my (small) experiences blogging have been positive; I’ve certainly encountered a fair share of people who actively put others down because they have a blown-up sense of self importance or desperation to become the next big thing. And when I see that, it makes me sad.

    Thankfully there are a lot of really beautiful, supportive people here too. =D

  7. Annie

    Wow, these words ring so true for me. It has been disheartening to me as I balance my family, career, and blog to witness those who criticize or question me for being able to maintain the balance, rather than encourage and support. The food blogging world is such a complex place and on the whole, a positive and encouraging atmosphere, but it saddens me to see those unable to celebrate in the success of others and instead tear them down. I hope many people read this post and take it to heart. We would all be better for it.

  8. RamyaRaj

    Thank you for sharing this. What you said is very true to every word. It is such a feeling to have a sharing and supporting friend(s!!).

  9. Liz Mendez

    These words are honest, inspiring and a breath of fresh air. Loving yourself enough to be a self-less friend can lead to true and nurturing relationships. Thank you for sharing this story and light behind your friendship.

  10. Barbara | Creative Culinary

    Like you Diane I am sad when I see women who feel they need to complete on every level…be more like ‘the guys.’ What has always set women apart is our ability to bring an element of caring and nurturing to relationships. While this can set us up for heartbreak if that effort is either taken advantage of or is not reciprocated, it also allows us a greater capacity for deep relationships; a sisterhood outside of our birth family as it were.

    I have spent the vast majority of my adult life being the caretaker. Of children, friends and family members. I do think it takes some wisdom to really see the potential for the kind of relationships I seek; ones that are more mutually satisfying. The one good thing about getting older is the wisdom life experience provides you; seeing more clearly the potential and investing the effort sure, but also knowing when it is not going to come to fruition and cutting your losses early.

    I have vowed that it is no longer my job to make relationships work…I’ll feed you seven days a week but you have to offer to feed me occasionally too!

    Now to get my 20 something children onboard with that!

  11. chandi holliman

    Thank you. You have touched on some deep spiritual truths that have come from deep inside yourself. We are truly happy in the happiness of all and in order to have friends you have to be a friend first. One of the” cornerstone “messages that we have built for our school .

    Bless you on your journey.
    Aum, Namaste _/”\_

    Chandi Holliman

  12. alison @ Ingredients, Inc.

    great post! So sweet and true

  13. Kulsum at JourneyKitchen

    beautiful thought Diane. I wish everyone thought this way xo

  14. Yvette ~ Muy Bueno Cookbook

    This is a beautiful post! It’s so difficult to find a TRUE friend and it sounds like you have a very dear one. I LOVE this line: “When we can genuinely be happy and celebrate the success of those around us, then we’re one step closer to loving ourselves.” Perfectly said!

  15. norma

    I am blessed every day with who surounds me. This post was so sincere and lovely.

  16. Marly

    I agree with this post so much. I think we all (women) have so much to gain from sharing and supporting each other! It’s sad when I see women who feel the need to be competitive with one another. But it is a fact. And I’m also learning this lesson from the opposite perspective. Some people don’t really want help from others. If you have a giving spirit and try to help people like that, they either take advantage or can be highly critical (or other undesirable attributes). I’m learning to let go when it’s more than obvious that the other party is just not that into being collaborative. I’d rather focus my energy collaborating and working with like-minded folks. It is possible to find a community of women friends like that. It’s like the famous quote: “Friends are like melons; shall I tell you why? To find one good one, you must one hundred try.”

  17. Angie

    I love your post so much, it’s so sweet. I want to add that I think we can’t forget the men. For the past 15 years or so I was so hateful of other men besides my husband, because it seemed 100% just wanted one thing. I’ve always kept my distance, because any slight bit of anything I gave a man was misconstrued as I wanted their body, despite me being married with a kid. Now I am trying to be the best true friend to a man in true need, give him that same type of love and attention I’d give my best girlfriend. I feel guilty because he’s someone I’ve neglected before, and he needs all the support his friends and family can give because he recently lost his wife and baby.

  18. Victoria

    This is a lovely post. There is nothing on earth more valuable than a treasured friend.

    And, remember.

    Girls Rule!

  19. Grace

    Amazing post Diane. I’ve been blogging a short time, a little over a year and I was so blessed to have met someone within the first couple of months of blogging and she has become such an amazing friend. She is always so supportive and always, always genuinely happy when good things come my way and I absolutely feel the same for her. We are always there for each other, when one is feeling low the other is there to lend an ear and cheer the other on and point out how much we’ve accomplished in a short period of time and how much we’ve learned, it’s the little boost we need to keep going. We’ve been very fortunate to meet another woman that feels the same as we do. Our duo has become a trio and I couldn’t be more happier. We can only become stronger with positive reinforcement and true friendships, the green-eyed monster never rears its ugly head. Thank you for reminding me how truly blessed I am!

  20. Bev Weidner

    Beautifully said! I needed to hear this.

  21. Lynne @ 365 Days of Baking

    Beautiful post, Diane and you said it perfectly. Our loving, close, supportive and intimate friendships with our girlfriends are complete treasures and we are truly blessed to have them. Thank you for the reminder.

  22. sreelu

    how beautifully said, I agree there is no bigger treasure than a good honest friend and I feel blessed to have one.

  23. Sally

    You are indeed lucky. I am often disappointed when women are competitive and catty because there is so much potential in the kind of friendship you describe. I feel grateful that I have some wonderful women friends in my life: I depend on them. One, a colleague, still coaches and encourages me; there is no question of competition. We have each others’ backs. Another, a high powered executive who has met several presidents in the course of her job, is so humble, funny and lovely, you would never guess her position. A five-minute conversation with her leaves me laughing and feeling like my very best self, a person who could do anything. I want to be able to do that for my friends, too.

    Although I am usually coming from a place of honesty and openness (to the point of naiveté) with friends, I am sometimes shocked when it is not reciprocated. I leave a conversation feeling dejected. Sadly, some women need friends to make themselves feel better at the expense of others. I’m learning to discriminate and feel less compelled to nurture those kinds of ‘friendships’. I truly cherish those dear people with whom I can share something deep and positive. To have a friend, be a friend. Unfortunately, not everyone is in a place where they can do that; but when you find someone who is, she will be a golden treasure! It is good to be reminded of this, so thanks, Diane.

  24. TheFromagette

    What a lovely post! Friendship is indeed about quality over quantity…

  25. Carrie

    Beautiful, Diane.

  26. Helene

    What a great read this morning. We should all reflect on this. True friends are a rarity.

  27. Elizabeth from AsianinAmericamag

    Thanks for a beautiful post on friendship. This is coming to me today, when I’m going through a difficult time with a close and dear friend. I’m trying to find answers to why our longtime friendship has suddenly gotten frayed, and like a loose thread on a sweater, will come undone if I don’t take care of it. You’ve made me see that it has to start first with me. The only way to have a true friend is to be one first. Thanks for this wise lesson. May you be blessed with many wonderful friendships!

  28. Wenderly

    There are no truer words. So beautiful.

  29. Apron Appeal

    When I say, “I love women”, many misconstrue the meaning. It’s posts like this that illustrate why I love women. My girlfriends have saved my life (funny I’m writing a post about it right now) I love them for it – ALL of them.

  30. Michelle

    Keeping it real as always! I have never met you two, never shared a real conversation but I feel your support from thousands of miles away. You shine brightly among a world that is trying to race to the top. Thank you for all your support!

  31. Susie@ReturntoSundaySupper

    I’m so blessed because I do have such a friend, we have been close for many, many years and I cherish her friendship. She’s the one person in the world that I can tell anything and not be judged but supported…that is such a gift!

  32. Meister @ The Nervous Cook

    Thank you for this post, and for this reminder about the deep significance of having and honoring our true, devoted close friends. I feel so blessed that my life is populated with people who are so dear and so supportive to me, and I often wish I told them more often how deeply they affect and improve my life.

    Your post has inspired me to take some time out of today to shower the people I love with love.

  33. Melissa | Dash of East

    Great post Diane! I have been lucky to have a similar friendship with a fellow photographer friend of mine. We’re in different fields, but meet weekly to discuss our goals, problems and celebrate our little successes.

    We’ve been calling ourselves business accountability partners, but I feel that our relationship has developed into a supportive, honest friendship – the way you put it is just beautiful!

    I agree, everyone should have a friend like this, it’s not only great for developing your career path, it’s also amazing to have someone to talk you through the difficult times and laugh with you during the great times 🙂

  34. Emma @ Poires au Chocolat

    What a gorgeous post. There is so much strength and beauty in being a good friend – and in being given that nurturing energy back.

  35. Snippets of Thyme

    Unfortunately, I am learning this beautiful lesson with age. I do wish I had been a deeper and more introspective person in my 20’s. I was very career driven. Kids brought more competitive desires to do the very best all of the time. Well, it is impossible. Now that my kids are teens, they clearly see all of my flaws. Teens have a way of straightening you up as a parent!! It’s a good thing because we can be more genuine with each other this way. It’s like a “release”. I admire younger women (like my cousin) who have more depth and feeling at younger ages.

  36. Kathryn

    What a lovely post, thank you for sharing.

  37. Prerna@IndianSimmer

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time! Thanks!

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