(originally published June 7, 2010)
A middle-aged woman who was getting married for the first time called my radio program, because she was upset that no one seemed to be as excited as she was.
First of all, no one outside of the immediate participants takes the top rung in excitement. While I'm happy for my friends who have some momentous event in their lives, I can't possibly get to the level of excitement that they are experiencing, unless they are somewhat dispassionate or emotionally removed from their own lives! I can be excited and happy for them, but I can't be excited like them.
Secondly, when she was asked to enumerate the people in her life who weren't excited, she mentioned her brother. A guy! Excited? About getting into a tux? I think not.
When I asked about friends, she said she had none. This worries me about her marriage. People who don't have friendships tend to be loners, more self-absorbed and self-focused. They avoid vulnerability and openness, and, perhaps most importantly, they don't have much experience with sacrifice and tolerance...both qualities of a good friend.
Frankly, friends are a necessary part of life, and there are all levels of friendships, from acquaintances with whom you can share experiences, to dear friends with whom you can share your inner world.
One thing I know for sure: happiness is perfected when it is shared. Of course, my caller was feeling like the tree fell and no one heard it…she hadn't brought anyone into the forest with her.
Happiness is perfected when it is shared. Sharing in joy elevates the experience. In order to have the kind of friends with whom you can share your joy, you must put yourself out, tolerate their quirks, make time, be loyal, be understanding, and just be there.