Jody Vance

The Friendship Garden

Image: GettyImages

Image: GettyImages

You know the old saying: “Friends are for a reason, a season and a lifetime”?

Everyone goes through stages in life when we “find out who our friends are”. It’s rarely pleasant, to be slapped in the face with the reality that someone you considered your friend….really isn’t. I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to hurt, it really doesn’t.

My Mormor (my mentor) had a very tight circle of friends, a “family first, and always” sort of person, every couple of weeks she would sit down at her kitchen table — with her translucent airmail blue paper, envelopes and stamps — and would handwrite letters to her friends back in Scandinavia and Yugoslavia. Often, I would sit alongside her as she wrote, in multiple languages, and she would tell me, “I don’t feel like this today, but if I don’t write to them…they will think I’m dead…so I will write. True friends are the most important thing in life, finding them is hard – keeping them is easy. It is quality, over quantity, more friends isn’t better.

Never a Fake Friend to a single human, Mormor knew that her real, small, circle of friends loved her and waited on those letters. They. Loved. Her. The miles didn’t matter, the wait for correspondence didn’t matter. Life Friends.

How do you define a Life Friend? Likes on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat does not = Life Friends.

Your wing-man on the piss-ups, not necessarily a Life Friend .. unless that guy is also the one who drops everything to sit in a “dark room” – for hours on end – when you have something in your brain go off, that’s your guy. The woman who you text at 5:30am: “I’m in St. Paul’s emergency, not sure what is going on, jacked on morphine, can you take care of my child?” — instead, in 7 minutes flat, she is sitting by your bedside in emerge — refusing to leave, even though she’s phobic about hospitals. That’s your girl.  Life Friends.  Catch my drift?

It’s a blessing to have Life Friends, and even the 2016 brand of “pen pals” who genuinely look forward to your email, posts or likes – they are cool, but, they may just be superficial. They might just like to show that they are your friend.

You know the “Lifers”, those who you need not see for days, months or even years … and can trust they are true and always there. Life Friends. Think about yours for a second here.  It’s really easy to list them, isn’t it?

When the opportunity arises to weed out the fakes, don’t flinch.  You find out who your friends are when you go through intense times, whether happy or sad. You find out who your friends are when you embark on a new journey, leave a long-term job, go through a major break-up, or start anew. It’s a healthy process.

The upside of having Fake Friends revealed is that after the initial sting (ego?) comfort settles in — better to know — Fake Friends are a weight on your life.

Today, it takes much less to prove your friendship — just a couple of swift key strokes. A green button on your iPhone – voicemail, even.

If you are like me, I basically live at work. More often than not I’m juggling two jobs. Life friends from work are a gift, and you basically can identify them immediately.  It’s amazing when a relationship born out of career opportunities becomes part of the foundation of who you are.

Fake Work Friends, however, are quite the beast, they are stealth, the worst…they can mess with your financial security. They are often threatened and viciously back-stabbing.

Who hasn’t been tossed into a social environment where the over-use of the word “team” is nauseating? Team building “exercises” — outings to “bond”…. forced Fake Friendship in the name of “synergy”.  Do you feel the pressure to assimilate? Do you fear being the outlier? Don’t. Please don’t.

This brand of management is an epidemic of epic proportions in 2016. Why can’t we just do our jobs, and be professional, without being Fake Friends? This culture of forced faking friendship is mind-boggling.

I once was asked “what’s your favourite job of all time?” — I answered honestly — and was told “ya, we are going to need you to say it’s this job… the name of the team.” Are. You. Kidding. Me?

Authenticity should supersede this culture of fake-ness. Fake Friends are the ultimate betrayal — so, this is your wake up call to weed that poison out!

Life Friends say the hard truth when others tow the line. Life friends are there no matter how busy they may be, they will drop everything/anything to support you. Life Friends need not say a thing when all you need is the comfort of companionship. Life Friends listen to your heart’s worries, without interruption, trust you with their most vulnerable selves…it’s a give-and-take. Fake Friends are all take.  They show up with ulterior motives – when they need something – then pretend to listen…when they are rarely listening while actually just judging your hair/weight/what you have, whatever.

Whether a kid, teen, young or seasoned adult, we are all better off when the Fake Friends are weeded out.

Tend to your garden and make room for those who deserve your loyalty.

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  • Reply Tina September 27, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    People that are fake or beat us down just aren’t worth the energy. Life is too short. One of my fave quotes : “You should save the best part of yourself for the person that deserves you.”

  • Reply Jody Vance September 27, 2016 at 10:47 pm


  • Reply Ben Lu September 27, 2016 at 10:50 pm

    Ditto that.

  • Reply Phil Williams September 28, 2016 at 7:15 am

    yup.. truer words never spoken..

  • Reply Julie September 28, 2016 at 7:28 am

    So true!

  • Reply Chelsea A. September 28, 2016 at 9:06 am


  • Reply kim September 28, 2016 at 11:56 am

    thank you for sharing. internal peace of mind comes from giving to someone else less fortunate thn u ….with no thought of reward. your friends are special and should be treated with love and honesty.treasure your friends above all…. they will be with you till the end.

  • Reply Colleen September 28, 2016 at 12:48 pm


    • Reply Jody Vance September 28, 2016 at 12:53 pm

      You know it!

  • Reply Boni September 29, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    Great read. But…. every single one of my Life Friends (except my husband John) I’ve met… at work 🙂 🙂

    • Reply Jody Vance September 29, 2016 at 5:50 pm

      Not ALL work friends are fake!!! A great many of my Life Friends are work friends (See Sarah and Claire for exhibits 1A and 1B!)

      thank you for reading Boni,


  • Reply Eva Sereda September 29, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    Ok I figured it out, found the yellow chair button. Love this post, authenticity!

  • Reply Jay Nicol September 29, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    Nicely said Jody.

  • Reply computercrash October 6, 2016 at 8:16 am

    “True, that”

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