Monday, January 16, 2017

Friendship - Guest post by Katie Oliver

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 Guest post

 I’LL BE THERE FOR YOU
by Katie Oliver


Friends.

Whether it’s Rachel and Monica, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, or Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, and Sophia, our friends define us. They share our secrets, our hopes and dreams for the future. They commiserate with us when we’re down, argue with us when we’re wrong, and reassure us when we fail. They make us laugh and hand us a Kleenex when we cry.

(Even if it’s the messy, runny-nose, eyes-swollen-shut kind of crying.)

For a writer, online friendships are just as important as those IRL (in real life). Whether it’s another writer offering encouragement, a book blogger who takes the time to read and review a novel, a beta reader who offers feedback on a draft, or simply a reader who shares how much he/she enjoyed a book, these relationships are invaluable.

“Why did you do all this for me?' he asked. 'I don't deserve it. I've never done anything for you.' 'You have been my friend,' replied Charlotte. 'That in itself is a tremendous thing.”

E.B. White, Charlotte's Web

When I write, I write alone. I often spend my day hunched over a laptop, my thoughts spinning feverishly (or not spinning at all). There are good days and bad days, days when the words, the ideas, just won’t come. It’s a solitary and oftentimes a lonely process. That’s why I cherish my online friends.

On bad days, a kind Tweet or comment on my website can wrench me out of the black hole of ‘I-can’t-write-I-suck-I’m-going-to-quit-and-get-myself-a-real-job’ that all of us writers fall into. Many of the book bloggers and readers I’ve met online have gone on to become real friends. Good friends. Friends I can count on no matter what. We exchange Christmas cards and text each other. Some of us even meet IRL (Debi, I’m looking at you).

Sure, social media can be a huge time-waster if you don’t manage it properly. It can keep you from other things, important things (like, erm, writing). But it can also be a lifeline, a continuing source of joy and laughter and encouragement. It can make you think. It can make you angry. But it always makes you feel. Just like a friend.

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”

Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

A new year gives us the opportunity to reassess our lives, our goals, and our friendships. For many people, it’s also a chance to take a long, hard look at our roster of online friends. Friends get culled from Facebook and unfollowed on Twitter, and new friends take their places. But the good friends, the true ones, remain.

Sadly, not all real-life friendships last, either. We change; we grow older; we grow apart. Distance can play a factor, or jealousy, or indifference. The things you once shared no longer bind you. Friendships evolve. Some fizzle out, some stay the same…and some grow even stronger. But true friends – real friends - can re-connect as easily and naturally as breathing, even after years apart.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve kept the friends who matter most and jettisoned the rest. Friendship is a give-and-take relationship that, like any other, requires a certain amount of commitment. It requires generosity, discretion, and the intelligence to know when to offer your opinion and when to shut up.

So here’s to lasting friendships. Here’s to Lucy and Ethel, Harry, Ron, and Hermione, and Patsy and Edina.

And here’s to a new year, new adventures…and an abundance of new friendships.
 

About Katie Oliver


My name is Katie Oliver, and I love romantic comedies, Jane Austen, characters who “meet cute,” Richard Curtis films, and Prosecco (not necessarily in that order).

I reside in South Florida with my husband, a dog, and two parakeets.

I hope you enjoy your visit to my site. Here’s to love and all its complications…

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5 comments:

  1. This is a very relevant post to me at the moment as last year two lots of husband and wife's that we speak t a lot of time with seemed to withdraw suddenly from our family. I admit we found this very hard as we didn't know the reason why and we missed the friendship group to the extent that hubby and I suffered with depression and our daughter's struggled to accept the change. I now only really have on line friends as my friend dynamic changed when I became disabled and finished work. I am extremely grateful to my on line friends especially Suzanne and Anniek.

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  2. I am grateful for my online friends as well. I love that because of the internet you can find people from all over the world who share the same interests.

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  3. Friendships change so much over the years and few will lst a lifetime. I still get upset when I feel 'dropped' by someone I considered a friend.

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