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Friendship: Lessons Learned In The "A Friend A Day In May" Challenge

Last month, on May 1, I launched the A Friend A Day In May Challenge, urging you to join me in contacting at least one friend a day throughout the month. Based on the emails I received, Tweets, Retweets, and Facebook "likes" and "shares," the Friend A Day (AKA "FAD") challenge sparked a lot of interest... I hope it was a successful and fulfilling experience for you!

Circle of people around one person graphic
I'd like to share what I learned, AND was reminded of, regarding friendship from this experience:

1. While the challenge was a bit time intensive, the rewards reaped from the connections and re-connections outweighed any minor time issues. LESSON: Never be too busy for the people in your life.

2. True friends can pick up where you left off as if not a day has passed (let alone months, and in some cases, years). LESSON: Recognize these priceless relationships and cherish them.

3. New people who want to be friends with you will reciprocate any gesture you make. For example, if I emailed a new friend or acquaintance, they emailed back, if I called, they returned the call, and so on, always saying they were happy to be part of my FAD list. LESSON: Small gestures can have a big impact.

4. In sharing your life, and learning about others, many things are instantly put into perspective. LESSON: Life is life, and we are all the same.

5. On some days, because of upcoming time constraints, I had to contact two or three friends. On the days when I had to skip the FAD challenge, I discovered that skipping the "daily" connection made my day less complete. LESSON: Friendship is good medicine... Think of it like an apple a day!

6. In my approach to the FAD challenge, I didn't base the order of my outreach on length of friendship, distance, or any other qualifying circumstance, I just contacted each person on my list as the opportunity presented itself. By placing the same level of importance on everyone, whether I knew them for a few months or many years, the process never seemed awkward or forced. LESSON: Approach everyone with the same openness.

7. With local people on my list, I accepted and planned many an outing, AND I enjoyed every minute of: Luci & Doug Before The Raceattending a chic private party at a NY club; a catch-up luncheon that produced a Master Mind group; an über-thrilling ride in a race car (see picture); a marathon shopping experience filled with laughter; a Labyrinth walk followed by a leisurely lunch served up with a side of calmness and clarity; three great dinners with three different friends over platefuls of boisterous discussions; several coffee dates; hours of phone conversations; and a handful of detailed emails. LESSON: Plans are moments in time, your participation is an opportunity to have a new experience, then a memory.

On May 1, I had more than 30 people on my list; and it grew as more people popped into my mind. Since I tried to average "a friend a day," there are many more people to contact in June. I look forward to continuing this daily to-do (it's the best to-do on your list, truly!). 

Ultimately, whatever you are doing in life, you get what you give. I gave a lot and received so much more than what I expected from a simple phone call, email, or letter. Thank you to everyone already contacted, I look forward to keeping up with you... And to those who are still on my FAD list, I look forward to catching up! 

Did you take the FAD challenge? Let us know how it worked out, what you learned, and any suggestions for keeping these important relationships active.