I seem to have an obsession with topic of friendship. When I searched this blog for the word friendship, I ended up with 11 posts than answered the call. Yet I feel compelled to further explore the subject as it is one that is such a big part of my life — personally, professionally, and for inspiration and guidance.

Being a freelance writer who lives in a somewhat isolated rural setting can be a solitary life if one doesn’t establish strong networks. I think that’s why I belong to a rather large number of professional organizations that provide me with opportunities for growth and professional development, leads for projects, and a pool of wonderfully vibrant people to invite into my life.

I think that friendship is also incredibly important to me because I was one of only two children in a family whose mother passed away when I was very young, followed by the loss of most of my close relatives in the years that followed and the death of my father more than 20 years ago. That leaves my nuclear family with few survivors and increases my need to find love, support, inspiration, guidance, laughs, and travel companions through friendship.

Suzanne Boles and Doreen in London

Suzanne Boles is a wonderful travelling companion and friend whom I met via the Professional Writers Association of Canada. We are also both Toastmasters, but in different cities.

My life is busy right now,  marketing Chocolatour, being involved in the “Toastmasters in the Arts” club in the Interlake, keeping the home fires burning, fulfilling other volunteer obligations, and planning future research trips for my chocolate travels.

But I always make time for my friends, and am extremely grateful to have them in my life. Whether we’re in the same room, or communicating across the airwaves, the bonds are there if we continue to nurture them.

What do you do to keep your friendships alive and well in this busy time in which we live? I’d love to hear from you and truly appreciate the conversations we have following each post.



Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

49 Responses

  1. Ah, friendship: the ultimate two way street. Face time is extremely important to me – I’m not big on phoning or Facebook – so I try to see my Toronto friends in the flesh as often as possible. But not everyone feels the same way, and those friends tend to drop off eventually. My motto: a friend in the home is worth two (or five) in the bush.

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Love your motto, Virginia! It is indeed true that in-person face time is preferred in most friendships.

      But when we live across the miles, we do our best to keep the friendship alive. With you and I, it’s the occasional getaway. Those are truly wonderful, and a way to enhance our friendship. With other friends I have where holiday/travel time away is not an option, we use Skype and try to set aside time for long, meaningful phone calls. Whatever works!

  2. Catarina says:

    Agree with you completely about the importance of friendship. Where would we be without friends?

  3. Mary-Anne says:

    The most beautiful thing about friendship is that we can grow separately without growing apart.

    Do not know where this saying if from….but is sure expresses my friendships.

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks for sharing that, Mary-Anne. Lovely sentiment. The best friendships indeed, are where we can appreciate each other’s differences and love one another for our strengths and attributes.

  4. Great post. I went from a very active social life with family and friends in urban Nova Scotia to packing up and moving 4000 kms to rural Manitoba a few years back. My social life took a hit, but I find social media and phone calls really help bridge the gap with family and friends “back home”. I also make travel plans to meet up with friends in vacation destinations and every time I’m home in NS I arrange special days and new activities with my family and with my friends so we get to do something new and exciting together. It has really helped keep us close despite the distance in kilometers. I actually started blogging as a way to keep in touch with my loved ones, so they could see what my new life in Manitoba is like, and that has been very well received and helped strengthen friendships. I am also now on my second community in rural Manitoba so now I have new Manitoban friends that I am now apart from too. My Manitoba BFF and I schedule 2 hour plus “catch up” phone calls with each other every couple of weeks where we laugh and cry, act silly and generally carry on as though we are sitting beside each other. My BFF recently went through a very scary and difficult health issue (you can read about it at and I find our phone calls are also great for the healing process and a way to show her my support and friendship. It is wonderful to schedule a phone date with your BFF – really helps keep us close despite the distance. Skyping and facetime is also great and we use that often.
    Little Gray Bird recently posted…campfire songsMy Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Hi LGB and thanks for your comment:
      Yes, my friend and I in Vancouver regularly schedule time to talk by phone. I wish we had more time for that, but I make a point of setting aside an hour every 2 weeks or so and it really helps keep our friendship alive and well.

      Sounds to me like you’d be a wonderfully supportive and caring friend to have. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Friendships are dear to me too Doreen and I value all of them. Thankfully, social media has made it so much easier to keep in touch with people who we’ve lost contact with. Thanks to Facebook, I’ve reconnected with several of my closest friends who I had lost track of through the years. It seems that when my children were young, I focused on them and lost touch with people who I shouldn’t have. As I grow older and my children have families of their own, I’m thoroughly enjoying reconnecting and making new friends as well. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Sherryl Perry recently posted…How to Use SEO to Improve Your Website Ranking in GoogleMy Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Isn’t that the truth, Sherryl. We may neglect our friends thru various stages of our lives. We know who the true friends are because they remain with us … regardless of the times we unwillingly or unknowingly neglect them.

      Social Media has indeed made it possible and easier to reconnect with people we’ve lost touch with. And has also enabled us to make new friends. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Truer words were never spoken – or written. Friendships are the rock of life, they are as crucial to our existence as food and shelter. I’m fortunate to have good friends that are there for me, some of whom I’ve known from high school days. There’s always room for more friends! Since joining PWAC, I’ve made a few new friends who have been marvellously supportive and helpful. Aren’t we lucky?!
    Krystyna Lagowski recently posted…Automakers ante up in wake of stormMy Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks so much for that vote of confidence, Krystyna. Always nice to hear from a fellow PWACer. ๐Ÿ™‚

      We are indeed lucky to keep adding to our roster of friends. If we close the door to new applicants, we miss out on oh-so-much!

  7. Hi, Doreen,
    When my Dad was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, we really learned the power of friendship. For his 77th birthday, over 55 people came to the open house. With true humbleness, he said to me, “I didn’t know I had so many friends.” It’s because of the friend he always was; that’s what I want to be.
    Rose M Griffith recently posted…ConsumerismMy Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Right on, Rose, and welcome to the blog.

      It’s great when we have a mentor who can truly teach us the meaning of friendship and forming strong bonds. Even though my mother didn’t live a long life, she lived long enough to teach me how important friendships were. She made such an impression on everyone she met with her warmth and open door attitude. I hope that I have carried forward her legacy.

      Your Dad sounds like he was a similarly wonderful guy. He and my Mom would probably have been great friends had they met!

  8. Jeri says:

    Moving 2,400 miles away from friends and family plus working from home has been so much more isolating than I ever could have imagined. Bit by bit, I’ve met a few people, but I can see why it would be such a great thing to join some professional organizations. Now I just gotta make myself do it… or maybe take a class (not online) since I would hate for my teaching certificate to expire.
    Jeri recently posted…Writer’s Workout: Loop WritingMy Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Right on, Jeri. Joining professional orgs has been my lifeline.

      You might want to look into Toastmasters. It really can be all things to all people. LOVE it!

  9. Sarah Park says:

    Hi Doreen,

    Wonderful article. Friends will always be friends, and we all need one or more. I once read a quote that says, “Not all times that family can be friends, but a friend will always be family.” And I believe so.
    Sarah Park recently posted…10 Income Tax Saving TipsMy Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Hi Sarah! Thx for joining the conversation.

      Wow! I can’t imagine thinking in terms of just one friend! I’ve always had at least 8 very close friends in the inner circle, about the same in the next circle out and so on. I’ve found that as I’ve gotten older, each friend touches a different piece of my heart. And the whole, makes me complete.

      Neat line about friends always being family.

  10. Doreen, what a lovely post! You are an inspiration! I agree with you and everyone – family and friends do come first.

    It’s interesting how you were influenced by the small size of and the far too early deaths in your family. I had the opposite situation (2 siblings, 3 dozen first cousins and my parents survived until 2009). I have to remind myself to make more effort to expand my social circle beyond relatives. I envy your Gemininess – I am a Taurus and need to get kicked out of my rut regularly, especially before I get into the granny phase ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Do be careful driving this winter – it looks like we’re in for a lot of snow!!
    Margaret Ullrich recently posted…Light Fruitcake by Margaret UllrichMy Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks for your comment, Marg. It’s always great to hear your perspective.

      Remember one thing … you can never have too many friends!

  11. Tope Olofin says:

    Just like you Doreen, I value friendship so much. But what I find funny is that I found my very best friends when I started my business.

    Like you I lost both parents. One walked out and the other I feel died of a broken heart. My grandma, who was my baby too went. She never got over the loss of her baby boy(my dad) and we are 3 girls. So my need for love, inspiration and guidance is quiet high. I am just grateful that my path has led me to some of the most phenomenal friendships.

    Thanks for this post. It brought back precious memories!
    Tope Olofin recently posted…To be or not to be: An E-book on Blogging and Social Mediaโ€ฆGREAT or LOUSY idea?My Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Hi Tope: Yes, sometimes, a new turn in our lives (such as starting a business) can indeed open the door to meeting new people with whom we share a lot of common interests. With luck, some of them will become friends and truly enrich our lives.

  12. I went through a stage where I realized how many old friends I have lost touch with. I was lucky to reconnect with a few of them, after realizing this was something important I should have been investing more time in. Thinking it over, especially with long distance friends, we always take for granted the little things that make us bump into each other when we are close and if someone moves to a new town all that evaporates and has to be replaced by something. Finding those little somethings is key. With me, being a guy, comparing sports teams during the season, or playing a round of a vide game online is a great way to have a casual conversation that occurs within those sort of natural rhythms, in these cases the rhythm being established by the sports season, or the new game you both like being released. Or it can be something else. But finding these little touch base type items is important.
    Hola BackGrinder recently posted…Henry Hill Must Be Proud!My Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks for your comment, Scott. Nice to have another fella join the conversation.

      Yes, it seems that guys are more interested in activity-based relationships. (i.e. you need to be doing something together) whereas often women just get together and chat/share thoughts while having lunch, sharing a glass of wine, (some chocolate) etc. They’re focused more on the words and feelings as opposed to the activity. Thanks for addressing that distinction between the sexes. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. WizardOfWords says:

    Right on, A.K.

    The giving of ourselves and our time is the greatest gift of all.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts (and your time) with us here. ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. A.K.Andrew says:

    Friendships are SO important, and it is indeed very hard to keep up with people. My health issues leave me with very little energy, so it is a constant problem to find the “energy time”. But then other people work 50 hrs a week so we all have constraints. Thank goodness for the internet, because I too would feel very isolated without my online friends who are a huge support to me.
    It really is a case of share the wealth when it comes to friendship.
    A.K.Andrew recently posted…Receiving a Sunshine Award for BloggingMy Profile

  15. Linda says:

    Friendship is a deep subject. I have struggled for years to balance friendships with other things going on in my life. More detrimental to sustaining friendships than work, I have found that being in a relationship is what really saps my time and energy and pulls me away from old, long established, and valued friendships. In the last 10 years, I have been adamant about not letting that pattern continue. Guess what? The relationship is out! I’m delighted to be able to nurture my friendships better. Although, the more friends one makes, the more difficult it is to balance time among them. My friends tend to be an eclectic bunch with not much in common. Therefore, I tend to spend time with them individually.

    I try to at least maintain contact with my friends through social media and emails even when we don’t share quite enough face to face time.
    Linda recently posted…Four more years!My Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Hi Linda and thanks for joining the conversation.

      Yes, the other relationships in our lives definitely factor into the time we have available for our friends. Because I have no children, I have/make more time for my friends. I find my friends with kids (and grandkids) always put them at the top of their priority list and sometimes we childless ones are left to fend for ourselves.

      I have a friend who has always been good at nurturing her friendships. She is in a new relationship. It will be interesting to see how she juggles it all.

  16. Harry Hobbs says:

    Doreen – you and others have said it well – when family are scattered across a continent friends are even more important. If you don’t mind me using this site for a plug I cherish my long time membership in Toastmasters. On the Linked in site to which I belong the question was raised as to why people remain for so many years. Time and again the answer has been for the friendships that are made and sustained. I remember people I worked with ten years ago in District functions and we are still friends today.

    Like anything else friendships have to be worked and have to be a two way street It is hard to keep a friendship going if it is only one sided,

    Bless you for your blog and bringing up so many important issues.

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks you SO much, Harry for your friendship and your wonderful comment. (It gave me goosebumps when I got to the last line.)

      Yes, Toastmasters is indeed an amazing place to meet fabulous people. I have several friends who met their spouses/partners at Toastmasters.

      I’m very sorry I will be missing the D64 Fall conference this wkend. But I have 2 TM events next week, and with writing my book and a blogging conference the following wkend, I’ve really got to limit my time away from the computer until the book is done (except for the research trip to St. Lucia next month. And yes, … that is work!) ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. Doreen – what a beautiful post. My friends — and family — are the most important aspect of my life. I cherish them so much. I’m very lucky because I not only have an intimate circle of very close friends but I have a large family. I don’t have children but my brothers do. I am very close to them all — they have made me part of their families and I am now also good friends with THEIR children who are in their 20s. We chat on the phone and I have dinner with the ones who are close to me. Who could ask for anything more?
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…Why CEOs Think Differently Than We DoMy Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks for the comment, Jeannette. You are fortunate that your brothers have kids. My brother is childless as I am. I bet you make a terrific auntie! My Auntie Florence was one of the most influential people in my life. I miss her so very much. Enjoy the holidays with your family and friends. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Nice post Doreen. There’s a reason you probably keep coming back to this topic…it is because friends/relationships are SO important.
    I read somewhere recently that isolation and lack of social connections are bigger detriments to our health than smoking.
    I believe that to be true. Though, I am a true Gemini wherein I crave alone time and love social time; both desires often happening at the same time!
    I make an effort to go for coffee, a walk, take in a film, dinner or whatever else I can dream up to keep in touch with my friends. If they’re too far away, it’s Skype, email, FB or whatever we can pull together.
    Thanks for the opportunity to consider friendship. I think it’s a topic you can safely revisit any time!
    Colleen Friesen recently posted…A Good Enough DayMy Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks for the fabulous comment, Colleen. It’s great having you join the discussion.

      I, too, am a Gemini, so can relate to your need for balancing the social and the serene. That’s exactly me, living in the country, but establishing strong networks every way I can. Skype is indeed a great tool to help us keep the bonds alive.

      Hope to see you in June at the TMAC conference if not before. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Kathe Lieber says:

    Ah, friendship! It gives us roots and wings, doesn’t it?

    Like you, I’m extremely social by nature. Because you and I and many of our mutual friends work at home alone all day, we have to make a point of building friendly contacts into our days. For me that means a couple of lunches or coffees a week with different friends, frequent e-mails to and from friends across the country, and phone calls just to “catch up.” I like the mix of working time (alone) and social time (with friends). I think it keeps me balanced. It’s all good.

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks for your comment, Kathe.

      You’re lucky in that you live in an urban setting where it’s fairly easy to get together. In a rural setting, it takes a bit more effort (sometimes a LOT more effort as I experienced driving home from the PWAC mtg in Wpg last night thru a snowstorm!) But thankfully, “getting together” with friends via an online method is sometimes … just as good.

  20. Mark Brody says:

    Very nicely done. Whether you are urban or rural, the importance of maintaining relationships is the key to maintaining sanity. As introspective as I have become, I realize that for a long period, this did not have the value it needed to for me.

    Thank you for sharing!
    Mark Brody recently posted…My Humble ShoesMy Profile

  21. Susan Cooper says:

    My dear friend, My heart softened when I read your post. I feel the same. My core family is now very small. We are flung half way around the country and the world so it take real effort to stay connected. My online friends have been such a gift and one I am so very grateful for. You NEED to get to CA this coming year… just saying.
    Susan Cooper recently posted…Mom & A Thanksgiving Turkey: StoryMy Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks, Susan. I really DO need to come to CA in 2013 for the chocolate research — and to meet you! The wine and chocolate we could taste would be unbelievable! I’ll try and figure out something soon. Does the wine country in your neck of the woods do any special chocolate events in the summer?

  22. I love it! Such a fun time in England. Without PWAC I would never have met you, and so many other friends. But you’ve always held a special place in my heart from the day you asked me to room with you at the PWAC Board meeting. We may live miles apart but thanks to social media – and the odd phone call and usually an annual visit – we are always in touch.

    You are a true inspiration with your positive outlook on life and you share your love unconditionally with everyone you meet. I am blessed to call you my friend. And, like you, I have met so many other friends through organizations I belong to. With friends your life is always full!
    Suzanne Boles recently posted…BlogMy Profile

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks so much, Suzanne. Your words of friendship brought tears to my eyes. We’ll have to do another trip soon!

  23. Lubna says:

    Such a lovely post. Friends complete our world.

  24. Phoenix says:

    More and more I’m using social networking as a way of keeping in touch with friends and other connections. Every year we also make a point of sending out Christmas cards with a newsy letter. Even with a busy schedule, keeping in touch just seems important! ^__^

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Right on, Esther. It does take a little extra effort to keep the bonds alive across the miles, but you do an excellent job in doing so. Thank you for that. ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Cathy Smolinski says:

    I agree with Doreen 100%… you need to keep a solid network/friendship. I work at home and even though I get to go see clients during the day…. I don’t have anyone to go out for lunch with or stand by the water cooler and talk about whatever! In the family sense, growing up as an only child I had no choice but to learn how to occupy my time as being alone. Just like anything, it has its advantages and disadvantages.

    I try my best to maintain friendship/connections when life is busy. Thank goodness for social media and texting! Even when my best friend is thousands of km’s away… she is only a phone call away!

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts, Cathy. I could see how strongly you value your friendships when attending your wedding this summer. You know how to work it, girl! Happy to call you my friend. ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. Janice says:

    Friendship and relationships come first. Period. Perhaps that’s why my business is not as successful as it could be, my house is not as clean as it could be and my errand list is very long. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • WizardOfWords says:

      Right on, Janice! A few dust bunnies never hurt anyone. It’s when they get to be at the dust rhino stage that you’ve got to worry — or solicit a little help from your friends for a cleaning party! ๐Ÿ™‚

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge