There’s a new phenomena surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday, besides starting “Black Friday” shopping on a Thursday.
It’s called Friendsgiving. Basically it’s Thanksgiving with close friends with a pot luck style meal and all the spirits of the season.
This is by far my favorite pseudo-holiday and it made me reflect a bit on the art of friendship.
I happened to log in on Facebook on a desktop computer the other night and I was stunned by one statistic in particular — I have 866 “Friends” on Facebook. Huh?
While I know a great deal of people in this community, especially in this line of work, there is no way I could possibly “know” more than 800 people. Turns out, I do know a lot of folks.
But do I really consider them “friends?” I figured about 88 percent of my list are acquaintances, eight percent family members and the final four percent I would consider “real life, in frequent contact” friends.
It’s strange how social media changes your outlook on friendship, especially in terms of your social circle.
A wise man once said you can tell how far a person will go in their life and career based on the five people he or she spends the most time with.
That wise man was Will Smith.
Now I don’t usually take advice from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Aire, but I heard this message about the power of friendship on a podcast this morning and it struck a chord with me this week.
I know. Deep stuff.
Who you surround yourself with makes a pretty big impact on your life — and I’m thankful for this fact. I like my social circle. I also like that it is very, very small.
It’s also been interesting to see the dynamic of friendship, networking and partnerships play throughout our community. The other day I sat in the courtroom, watching an 18 year-old make excuses for some poor decisions during a very serious hearing. He was still a student in high school, yet an adult and legally responsible for his actions and the pending consequences.
The very next day I attended an event that recognized efforts of two high school teenagers who went out of their way to help someone in their community who was in desperate need of help.
They all were the same age but with very different circumstances.
Another reason that Will Smith quote stuck with me was that I often reflect on how I am a better person today than I was a decade ago and even up to five years ago. I firmly believe it is because I shed some negative folks I once considered good friends along the way.
I often look at my own son’s relationships he is forming and hope he finds that true and loyal circle of friends, but is kind to all even if they aren’t exactly best buds.
It’s funny how friendship changes over the years. The girls I thought who were too smart to talk to me and who I didn’t necessarily go the extra mile to be nice to, now share the same career or views in life as I do. I wish I had known that we had more in common back then, but that’s the downfall of youth.
But that’s the also the beauty of life, you can change. We all change and evolve, but I have to say I like the people I’m surrounded with today than at any other point in time.
So in honor of “Friendsgiving” I think I”ll take a minute to go through some old photos, relive a few good times before heading out to make new memories, take new pictures and celebrate the holidays with those who I hold dear today.
Dinner always tastes better when you are with the ones you love whether you are family or a close friend. If you haven’t talked to a long lost friend, take a minute and say hello. Send a card or a text. Maybe make an effort to get to know the new person at work, church or at the gym.
I hope you and your friends have a wonderful holiday. Happy Friendsgiving everyone!
“Twin” Melanie Yingst appears weekly in the Troy Daily News. Why bother with pumpkin pie? Just eat the Cool Whip straight out of the bowl.