Nov 7 2013

Susan Cohen,


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Addictions, Forgiveness, Happiness, Kindness, Living Fully, The Right Stuff



After all this reflection, I came to the conclusion that I am lacking the gratitude and trust that friendships require. I am taking my friends and friendships for granted. I am expecting way too much from those around me and possibly not enough from myself. I believe I need to change my perspective on what it means to be a friend.

Right now, my expectations within friendships are somewhat unrealistic. This includes holding friends up to standards of inclusion and sharing that I do not consistently meet within the friendships. Yes, a certain level of expectation is necessary in a friendship, but high expectations should be reserved for those closest to me. Even then, it has to be kept in check. Friendship is not a standardized test nor is a math problem where division leaves no remainder.

By having expectations within friendships, I end up being a bad friend. I find myself getting frustrated because I expect friends to reach out more, to include me more, or to update and share with me more. If I cannot do all of these things all the time, how could I even expect anyone else to?

I need to realize that every friendship is different. Each friend is going to give me something different. I also need to understand that there are going to be ebbs and flows with each friend. If I have not heard from a friend I need to consider maybe that friend is busy at work or feeling overwhelmed. Maybe that friend did not realize I might like to be invited or it was not the right occasion to invite me. Maybe that exciting development will be shared in my friend’s next email or perhaps they are not yet ready to tell me or they do not want to.

At the same time, maybe I need to reach out more. Maybe I need to share more. Maybe I need to check in and see how you are doing? Maybe you have given me space because you know I’m busy. I need to consider that my friend may be taking my needs into consideration.

I believe that I if place gratitude and trust at the core of all my friendships then I can keep expectation at bay. I can focus on what matters in my friendships, which is having fun, supporting each other, and experiencing growing up together.

I now understand that trust sometimes mean giving a friend the benefit of the doubt, giving them space, sometimes seeing what that space does for the friendship and then if needed, redefining a friendship. I need to apply those principles back to myself. They could be applying that trust and these notions back to me.

Maybe a bit of distance will allow us to be better friends or it will free up room for someone I should be closer to.  If we grow apart, I need to have gratitude for the happiness we once brought each other.

Basically, I just need to have gratitude when friendships are strong and maintain that gratitude even when friendship aren’t perfect, take breaks, or if a friendship stops.

Through gratitude and trust, I hope to accept, appreciate and understand my friends better. Most importantly, I hope that through basing my friendships on gratitude and trust, I become a better friend.


Susan Cohen is a freelance writer based in New York. She is a regular columnist and contributor for Gluten-Free Living and her work has appeared on and The Forward’s blog The Sisterhood. She regularly shares her thoughts and opinions on her blog (

Follow on Twitter: @SE_dotCohen