Parenting Blog

I Get Better With A Little Help From My Friends

freindship story

My definition of a friend was as rigid as glass when I was young.

It all started with a song lyric from the album that changed my life when I was an impressionable 17 year old kid:

“Your ideas, your image, your definition of a friend”

Before this song, before that lyric, I had never considered defining the word friend for myself. After, I put a strict construct around what it would mean to be my friend, as if friendship was some kind of golden chalice I was in charge of awarding to a worthy few.

The result? I was pretty darn lonely for a long, long time.

If you would have come to rescue me from a terrible situation at 3am, and if I would have done the same for you, we were friends. Full stop. That literally was the one and only parameter I had for true friendship. It made sense to me at the time, but seems awfully ridiculous in hindsight.

Things have changed for the better in the years since as I loosened up my definition and opened my heart, mind and arms to at least a dozen guys — fellow dads, fellow writers — who I now proudly call my friends. Oh, I’d still help them out of a pinch at 3am, no doubt, even flying across the country to be by their side if they needed me, but I don’t expect that from any of them.

I no longer hold the bar of friendship up so absurdly high so as no one is able to get over it. I’m in a good place today for having really good friends in my life. I wish I’d done this years ago.

freindship story

A couple weeks back I flew west to take a music-themed road trip with a couple of those guy friends. Over the course of 72 incredible hours, we three friends shared stories, drinks, hugs, music and food. Both of the fellas I was hanging out with are vegetarians and like good friends often will, they encouraged me to expand my horizons and try new things as we laughed and broke bread together in restaurants from West Hollywood to Las Vegas.

Nobu Las Vegas

During dinner at Nobu in the Vegas Hard Rock Hotel, my friends gave me a gentle nudge to try eggplant, a food I swore I didn’t like, and, even though they couldn’t indulge in the bluefish and cod sushi, they also pushed me to overcome my inherent reluctance to let raw fish pass through my lips. Oh man, all of that haute cuisine was delicious and all of it would have passed me by if not for my friends.

They didn’t have to save me from certain doom at 3am but my friends helped me discover new foods, flavors and textures at the more sensible hour of 7pm.

I said goodbye to my two friends with a big loving embrace the next day, came home to my family, and sought out some new vegetarian recipes to try and share with my daughters because my friends had inspired me to never stop evolving. That’s what real friends do. They challenge you to be better, to grow, to take on new ideas and run with ‘em. That’s #ThePowerofFriendship right there.

Next weekend, my girls and I will make a cheesy eggplant casserole using a recipe featuring Friendship Dairies cottage cheese which, like eggplant, is another food I would never have though to try if not for my friends pushing me to be more adventurous at the table. Afterward, I’m going to share the recipe with my two vegetarian friends and encourage them to step out of their comfort zones and try the cottage cheesy concoction for themselves and their families.

We’re not on our road trip anymore, in fact, we’re about 2000 miles removed, but we still have the power to use our friendship to make a positive influence in each others’ lives.

This post has been sponsored by Friendship Dairies. All opinions expressed above are honest and unbiased, as always. I really do have some great friends now and my life has been improved immeasurably as a result. And that eggplant at Nobu in Vegas was AMAZING.

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joc