What does friendship mean to you? I've always been very lucky to be surrounded by great friends, though some have come and gone over the years. As I've gotten older, and especially over the last year or two, I've spent a lot of time thinking about the role of friendships in my life. Cultivating truly meaningful friendships has always been incredibly important to me, but I find that in this millennial culture it's easier than ever before to opt-out or remain very surface level friends. But I'm looking for something more than that, which is why I only give my time to all-in friends.
What are all-in friends? They are the people you know you can always rely on if you're in trouble, the people to whom you can tell anything and know they won't judge you or repeat it to anyone behind your back. But it's more than that. An all-in friend is someone who reciprocates friendship in equal measure, a friend whose doorstep you can show up on in good times or bad and know you'll be welcomed in with open arms. They are the kind of people who can see your differences and love you more for them. The people who invite you over on Christmas when they know your husband has to work. Your chosen family.
I've tried to be all-in on all my relationships for a long time now. I just don't see any other way to be. That's part of what is authentically me - showing up 100% and opening the door to vulnerability, because I think we grow closer when we know someone understands. To me, being all-in means showing up, both physically and emotionally. It means being open and vulnerable to show my friends that it's safe to be themselves when they are with me. It looks like celebrating life's changes (and you will change) and intentionally finding ways to grow together instead of growing apart.
I know this sounds like a lot. And it is. That's why I intentionally keep my circle pretty small. I'm sure I've scared people off in the past, because for a lot of people, that level of deep connectedness is overwhelming. But I want to show up for people in this way. I don't always do it perfectly, but I try. So for me, finding friends who are also all-in is key. To me, friendship is a commitment, but it's one I'm more than happy to make. If you're thinking this sounds like a lot of work, then keep looking for your people. I'm so lucky that I have some really wonderful all-in friends (and an all-in partner), in my life, because when you have people who are willing to be all-in with you, it makes doing the work so much easier because you know they will show up for you too. And when you do find them, don't forget to show them how much they mean to you by practicing the art of being all-in.