Thursday, June 26, 2014

New friends and old - what matters to you?

By Mary Jane Maffini (aka Victoria Abbott) and friends




I am sure you have heard our excited squeals as the amazing Duffy Brown has joined the Cozy Chicks this week. Welcome, Duffy. Our joy is mixed with sadness that Deb will no longer be posting weekly.  Why can’t we have an eight day week? Huh?

Duffy brings a surprising amount of energy and enthusiasm to everything.  She writes two series, is a supportive colleague and a lively conversationalist. She puts her shoulder to the wheel. Best of all, she is the kind of person you like the minute you meet her. 

All this has caused me to ponder the nature of friendship.  When we were kids, many of us had tons of friends. Most of those school yard friendships are long gone, but the special ones endure. I met my friend Janet in Kindergarten an alarming number of years ago.  She was my maid of honor and the model for Camilla MacPhee in the Camilla mysteries.  She did make me laugh in church on my wedding day.  Someday over a drink, I’ll tell you that story. She’s still my friend and we still pick up our conversations where we left off, even if that conversation was three months earlier. She doesn’t care to be introduced as “my oldest friend”.  Not sure why not!

Once we leave school we meet friends through spouses, work, neighborhood and common interests.  I have friends who found themselves widowed or divorced and many people they thought were their friends fell away. But the good ones didn’t.  They stayed the course. That’s what real friends do.   

Have to mention, I do think of my husband and my daughters as friends too. A lot of time and a lot of talk!

I would be lost without my mystery writing friends. Yes, sometimes we kvetch.  And sure, they all know 147 ways to kill someone, but they don’t put that into practice. Instead they’re warm hearted and full of life.  As are the members of my book club and the Ladies Killing Circle and the Pink Bra Society. The list goes on.

So what makes a friend?  At the heart of friendship, I believe is the spark of liking someone. Then that spark can thrive when the friends are good listeners, helpful, enthusiasm, fun, positive thinkers and have some common interests (say mysteries?)  They’re there when you need them.

Hey, that pretty well describes ‘the Chicks’! Someone once said that for any relationship, you mustn’t take out more than you put into it.  Words to live by.  

So tell me, what’s important to you in a friendship?  Got a great story about your friend?


19 comments:

Mark Baker said...

Some of my best friends have come from the most unlikely of places - watching the TV show Babylon 5. I've always gone through that show with friends, and by the time we are done, we have spent time together and gotten to know each other so well that we stay friends. The only wedding I've been a groomsman in was for someone I watched Babylon 5 with. The only exception being my brother's wedding. (And yes, I consider him a close friend, too.)

As to your question, friends are people who are there for you. Who you like spending time with. Who you can lift up when they are down yet lift you up when you are down. Who you can call on at a moments notice and who you'd drop everything for. Who you can laugh with one minute and be seriously discussing something important the next without it feeling weird.

And yes, someone who knows 147 ways to kill but doesn't even consider it when you have an off day.

Rachelle21 said...

One of my newer friends I met through a chat group. We "talked" on line first then started using the phone. When we finally met it was like we had known each other forever. We treat each other as sisters.

Karen in Ohio said...

Duffy and I both live in Cincinnati, and we met at a wonderful little book festival in my hometown of Hamilton, Ohio. Turns out that she grew up less than a mile from where I live, and Duffy invited me to have lunch with her one day.

So Duffy knows how to be a friend! I've very much enjoyed the Savannah mysteries, partly because my daughter also went to school in that part of the country, although she graduated from the Citadel, up the road in Charleston. But also because her books are fun, well-crafted reads, full of fun details and plenty of romance!!

mary kennedy said...

MJ. What a great post!! Duffy and I were "e-mail" friends and then we finally met up at a conference, where we both gave workshops. It was so much fun to finally meet her in person--she is incredibly warm, engaging and energetic with a wicked sense of humor. All this comes out in her books, she writes the perfect cozy. And like all the writers I know, she is a big-time animal lover, so that was another bond. Duffy and I are so much alike, I think we were separated at birth. I'm so honored to welcome her as a "sister Chick."

Diane LaBrie Leverson said...

My best friend and oldest have been friends for 57 years One another's Maid of Honor and Godmothers to her first born and my only. .. I have so many stories that I could tell but can't seem to think of one really good one.. Oh, Maybe when we were driving back to New England from Myrtle Beach.. I usually do the driving but was tired so she drove. I fell asleep and when I woke up, we were not on I 95 but in Baltimore and going the wrong way on a one way street. She didn't know how she got off the highway. I quickly took over and don't let her drive on vacation anymore. Then there was the time, and so on and on. A lot of them, I wouldn't want to put into print. LOL By the way, she is two years older than me and I don't let her forget it. Her Mother always said we were like sisters. I have a few more friends from grade school on up but not as close as Mary.

Maggie Sefton said...

MJ, great post. Friendships are like flower gardens. We have to nurture them with sunshine, water, and care. Spending time. I make time for lunch/dinner/coffee whatever for friends close by. Out of state, I call. Old friends are a treasure. That's why I always stay with childhood friends I grew up with in Northern VA (ages 5,6,4) whenever I return. You pick up conversations where you left off. And I'm fortunate to keep making new friends. I met great people when I bought the river house near the Potomac in VA, just outside DC, 1 1/2 hours away. Wonderful neighbors. So, I've got two sets of great neighbors. Yesterday I visited my Colo next door neighbor who's back from hospital & sudden surgery. Last week, some Colo friends drove up to visit & meet at Lambspun. Great place, BTW. :)

Duffy Brown said...

Thanks so much, Karen, for the kind words about my books. You’re so sweet. The very best part of writing is meeting new wonderful friends like you and the Chicks along the way. We must do lunch soon. :-) Hugs, Duffy

Duffy Brown said...

When I was thinking about writing cozies I contacted Mary. Go for it, she said. She was an enormous help, don’t think I would have published without her. Now that’s a wonderful friend indeed. Thank you Mary for everything.

Duffy Brown said...

Thank you so much MJ for including me in the Chicks. I love being part of the gang, meeting new friends and chatting with those I’ve met along the way. I still cannot believe I’m here.

Diane Vallere said...

I met my first best friend when I was 4 and she was 3. We don't see each other as often as we like, but when we're together, we're instantly changed into those two girls who shared Trixie Belden books and went for walks in the woods looking for stray kittens (we found them more times than not!). She's the basis for a friend in the series I'm starting to write now, and just writing about her makes me feel like she's in the room.

And my other best friend is--you guessed it--a mystery writer too. Met on a Yahoo loop 5 years ago and now we email several times a day. You're right about mystery writers being warm hearted and full of life!

Mary Jane Maffini said...

I love this answer, Mark! And I agree with you list of what friends do.

Cheers,

MJ

Mary Jane Maffini said...

That's lovely Rachelle! I have made some wonderful friends online, including a couple I haven't met face to face yet, but hope to.

Hugs.

MJ

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Karen and Duffy - this little exchange shows how friendships grow when both people are terrific. Thanks to both of you for this.

XO

MJ

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Thank you, Mary and Duffy, you both exemplify good friends. We're lucky here at the Chicks to have a place that nurtures these friendships and people who fit the bill. I am happy to have you in my life.

XO

MJ

Mary Jane Maffini said...

That story is a hoot, Diane! I love the story of your longstanding friendship. Someday maybe you'll tell those stories


Hugs,

MJ

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Thanks, Maggie! You sure do have great friends and also good times and fun. Thanks for your comment.

Hugs.

MJ

Mary Jane Maffini said...

My pleasure, Duffy. You bring a lot to this friendship 'table'. So glad to have you here.

XO

MJ

Mary Jane Maffini said...

I love the story of the two little girls you were, Diane! That's great. And how much fun to meet another mystery writer online and become such good friends.

Hugs.

MJ

Karen in Ohio said...

Aw. That's very sweet, Mary Jane. And Duffy, any time, starting mid-July.