Let’s be friends.

There is absolutely nothing in this big, wide world I love more than friends. They are the people who inspire me, make fun memories with me, who listen to me when I won’t stop talking, who laugh with me, who text me ridiculous things to make my day, who stay up late with me, and who give me a million reasons to be a better person.

Even though I’ve been lucky in life to have many wonderful friends, I’m always looking to expand my circle. At a young age I was taught to be friends with everyone. My mom, who is my biggest role model, told me over and over not to leave anyone out, to avoid cliques, and to be nice because everyone deserves a friend. And at some point around my junior high years, my brother told me something he probably doesn’t remember, but it’s stayed with me always. He said, “Everyone has something cool about them if you look for it.”

To master being a good friend to everyone is something I strive for. The last couple years I’ve learned the things that separate people from one another are usually not important. We are all connected in some way if we look for it, and there is something cool about each and every person if we choose to find it.

I like to think someday I’ll have a small, cozy home with big windows, a fireplace and a giant table where folks will come over for dinner and we’ll eat fatty comfort food and creamy, chocolatey desserts over candlelight. OAR will play in the background because I feel like OAR can ease a crowd. And nothing will be too serious because there will definitely be plenty of laughter.

Hopefully people will want to visit because they feel comfortable and happy in our home. Differences will be celebrated instead of shunned. The Harry Potter lover will chat with the guy obsessed with all sports and beer, and the Vogue connoisseur will chat with a grandma who’s been wearing the same sweater for 25 years. A 45-year-old someone with a real passion for politics can find something in common with the girl who cares about nothing but makeup and shampoo. Perhaps they could talk about … makeup and shampoo.

I’d like to make a place where religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, age and income are not factors in whether or not relationships can be formed. Because with friends, amazing things can happen.

My family members make up some of my greatest friends. They loved me from the beginning and I loved them. And sometimes, friendship can turn into something more … you just never know. After six years of being friends, a guy named Travis and I fell in love and got married two years after that.

I’m often thinking of ways I can be a better friend. What I know for sure is friendship takes effort. It’s not something that appears on your doorstep. It has to be sought, and if you want it to last, you can’t take it lightly. You have to actually care, listen, love and laugh with your friends. You have to make time for them. You have to be there in good times and bad. And even when days, months and years get in the way, you have to be willing to pick up where you left off when you get the chance.

I know you can’t be best friends with everyone, and sometimes, because life is difficult and complicated, there are reasons people can’t be in your life. Sometimes people scar you or you scar them. Even if you can’t talk to them, though, there is a lot of power in forgiveness. I do believe there is a way to have a friendly acceptance toward every person in the world. There is a way to have a warm heart for those you don’t even know. I’m not there yet – not even close – but I hope to be there someday.

If you and I aren’t friends yet, I hope we can be. But I will warn you, once you make your way into my life (and I hope you will!), I won’t let you out easily.

Let’s be friends. Want to share some creamy, chocolatey dessert?


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