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Thursday, 31 March 2016

Meet Kimber

Please give a warm welcome to my good friend, Kimber. Kimber and I met at a writers’ group a number of years ago now, and even though she has married, moved away and become the amazing mom of two little firecrackers, we have managed to keep in touch through the magic of social media and the rare personal visit. I look forward to chatting with her about the subject of friendship.

S: Hey, girlfriend! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with my readers today.

K: My pleasure, Susan.

S: Let’s get straight to it. First of all, what is your definition of friendship?

K: Two people who discover a connection, and keep connecting.
S: Excellent. And simple. And what characteristics do you look for in a friend?

K: Mutual respect. Whether it's respect for their outlook on life, their ethics, their artistic gifts, if I don't respect a person, I am not likely to choose them as a friend. After that, I look for a sense of humour - I love to laugh! Good listening skills. And some common ground, some kind of connection - the natural world, motherhood, an appreciation of the arts, mutual delight in food...yeah, food is a big one! Several of my friendships seem to involve a lot of dining out. Ha!

S: Well, you can never go wrong with food, can you? Everyone has to eat! I suppose it was the arts and food that we connected around, then. First through our writing, then through writing about food (remember?) and through our writers’ potlucks. Oh, and your homemade jam – killer!

I just started a diet and this food talk is making me hungry. Let’s move on quick! What is your biggest challenge to developing new friendships?

K: Mmm, those potlucks. And writing and food seem to go together so well. But yes, moving along... So many of my friends are pulled in different directions on a daily basis. Between jobs, or raising young children, volunteer work, all sorts of other commitments, it takes conscious effort to make time to nurture our connections to one another.
S: It’s hard to keep all the balls in the air, I know. Balance seems like one of those buzz-words, but it’s true: we need it. And friends are such an important part of that. Like you said, connecting and continuing to connect. We’re made for relationships and that seems especially true for women.
What is your approach to finding/making new friends? Has this worked effectively in your experience?

K: I don't actually go looking for new friends. The universe just seems to drop them in my lap! I love it! I have a diverse group of friends that range from people I've known for decades, to people I've just met in the past few years. Some are mothers, some are not. Many are a lot younger than I am, several are a fair bit older. It's all good.

S: You are truly blessed. But I don’t think the universe just drops them in your lap – there’s something in your character that acts like a friend-magnet. For one thing, you’re so much fun to be around and have such a zest for life. The way you make every holiday special, the way you celebrate the Oscars. I hardly need to ask, but in your own estimation do you think you are a good friend to others?

K: I learned how to celebrate from my mom. She was an amazing role-model. As far as my being a good friend to others, yes, I think so. I like to stay connected, and it's much easier to do so in these days of social media and email. Staying connected is key; especially when I have friends who live hours (or provinces!) away. I'm a good listener. Plus, the homemade jam you mentioned? I give it out as gifts. (0;

S: You are a wise and crafty woman indeed. Note to self: bribery is not dead!

Again I probably don’t need to ask, given your diversity and quantity of friends, but can you think of any you could call at 2 a.m. and know that they would be there for you?

K: So many! I'm very lucky that way. I have two friends in particular that I know I can call on, night or day, and they would both be there for me. And they live 2 hours away! I have a couple of friends like that where I live now, too. Our mom's group is tight. We have each others' backs.

S: Sigh. That is so amazing. And now the opposite: do you think a friendship can run its course? How do you know when it's time to move on?

K: Oh, definitely. Some people come into your life for a season or two, when you need them or they need you. It's okay not to be friends with everyone forever. I like to let friendships take a natural course. Some of them are dependent on circumstance (e.g. whether you work together, or volunteer together, or see each other a lot). If you or the other person aren't comfortable making the extra effort it takes to maintain a connection, then it's fine to let go. 

S: What's the worst thing a friend could do to you?

K: Be two-faced.

 S: Good answer. It’s horrible when you find out that someone you trusted or believed was a friend is actually gossiping or bad-mouthing you behind your back.

And finally, what is your best advice on the subject of friendship?

K: Oh dear. To have a friend, you need to be a friend. Is that too lame? How about this: seek friends from different walks of life. A diverse set of friends will add depth to your life.

S: Not lame at all; great advice. 

This was fun, Kimber. Thanks again for the interview. And here’s to many more years of friendship!

K: Sláinte!


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