<<Some of the best advice in the world starts off “My mother told me”. Well my mother was just the same and had wonderful advice for someone just starting out in life. She told me that if I wanted to keep my friends for life that I must “Stay in Contact”. Drop them a card at Christmas, a note on their Birthday. It does not have to be a huge long epistle, but it is a reminder to them and you of the wonderful friendship you share. It lets people know that you care about them.
I have found this to be very sound advice, especially as I have done my fair share of moving between schools, I have even changed my country of citizenship.
I remember my feelings as the aeroplane taxied down the runway to begin its long trip across the Indian Ocean. The feeling of excitement I had at moving into the unknown was so strong I could almost taste it. I now wish that I had been more diligent in not only looking forward, but also looking behind. It would be wonderful to know where people are that I used to spend time with. As it is, I am left wondering what they are up to. It is almost embarrassing to think how lazy I was! Sending a card or a note is a small enough effort, compared to many of the things we do, but somehow, assembling card, pen, envelope, stamp and address into the one place at the one time is a feat that many of us seem to find quite difficult. But if we don´t make the effort to stay in contact, then some of our best friends can become memories.
Sometimes in our busy lives it may seem just too much effort to stay in touch with people, but loneliness is becoming an epidemic in our western world. In the municipality in which I live statistics report that the majority of people are single and live alone. When surveyed, they reported feelings of loneliness and isolation. People who live isolated lives are statistically more likely to suffer from serious illness and die younger than those who have regular contact with people. SO, being a friend is good for your health!
A while back I was sitting in Sunday school. The meeting started with a song and the words asked “Had I done any good in the world today… if not wake up and do something more… doing good is a pleasure a joy beyond measure”
As I had been thinking of friendship and friends gone, I realised that all around me are precious friends with whom I can cultivate deeper friendships of love and trust. But how exactly? I could send them a card! Take time out to give them a telephone call. Do almost anything out of the ordinary that shows them that I have spent my time thinking about them.
Dale Carnagie wrote then book How to win friends and influence People. I have heard that it is the most sold book behind the Bible. Both books lay out wonderful axioms to help us build worthwhile friendships. Dale Carnagie listed a set of Rules or Friendship Principles, which I have listed below because if applied they really will work.
1. Become genuinely interested in other people
2. Smile (remember, smiling uses 7 muscles, frowning 27, so let´s stay wrinkle free and stop frowning!)
3. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language
4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves
5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests
6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely
7. Don’t criticise, condemn or complain
8. Give honest and sincere appreciation
9. Arouse in the other person an eager want
The Bible then sums everything up in a wonderful verse. “Do unto others as you would have done unto you”.
President Thomas S. Monson relates the following story: “One evening at Christmas time, my wife and I visited a nursing home in Salt Lake City. We looked in vain for a 95-year-old widow, whose memory had become clouded and who could not speak a word. An attendant led us in our search, and we found Nell in the dining room. She had eaten her meal; she was sitting silently, staring into space. She did not show us any sign of recognition. As I reached to take her hand, she withdrew it. I noticed that she held firmly to a Christmas greeting card. The attendant smiled and said, “I don’t know who sent that card, but she will not lay it aside. She doesn’t speak but pats the card and holds it to her lips and kisses it.” I recognised the card. It was one my wife, Frances, had sent to Nell the week before.
We left more filled with the Christmas spirit than when we entered. We kept to ourselves the mystery of that special card and the life it had gladdened and the heart it had touched. Heaven was nearby. We need not wait for Christmas; we need not postpone till Thanksgiving Day our response to the Saviour’s tender admonition: “Go, and do thou likewise.”
Every friendship is like a rain drop — it can refresh and help you, or, if left, it will dry up and disappear forever.>>