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Friendships don’t happen by accident.

Good friends - the kind who stick around when life dishes out ugly - take time and nurturing. They come to your rescue without complaint or question. They love you through bad relationships, bad jobs and bad judgment. They know the real you and still love you, warts and all. If you are lucky enough to have friends like these, then you are blessed indeed.

I’ve been thinking a lot about friends. When I moved to Black Mountain three years ago, I found myself pretty much friendless. I didn’t know one single soul in this town. And the thought of making new friends to the level of “good friends” was daunting.

Not unlike my garden ... (stick with me here).

My new home came with a garden in need of TLC. So I spent days pulling weeds and planting over 60 flowers, thoughtfully arranging, fertilizing and watering, tenderly placing them into their new home with a word of welcome for each. With continued care, my garden flourished. It didn’t happen overnight or without effort.

My life and my garden have a lot in common. Both fertile ground full of opportunity for friends and flowers.

And just as a garden is more appealing with a diverse array of flowers, so it should be with friendships. I read somewhere recently that there are five kinds of friends everyone should have in order to grow as a person. I like this list and can think of friends I have in every category. I hope you can, too.

The loyal friend

This is the friend that you trust with every bit of intimate information about you, because you know they will take it to their grave. This is my friend Cheryl. She doesn’t judge me, and I trust her thoroughly. She also owns a huge Celtic sword and would use it to protect her family and friends. Her loyalty is lethal.

The honest friend

Everyone needs at least one friend who will tell you what they think without pulling punches. I don’t recommend more than one of these friends, though, especially if you have thin skin. This is my friend Hilary. I’ve come to anticipate and appreciate her honesty. I need it. Honestly.

The funny friend

I have several of these, I suppose because humor is important to me and has helped me through so many sticky and sad situations. This is the friend you call when you need silly over substance.

The giving friend

For these friends, it’s as natural for them to give as it is to take their next breath. Whether it’s advice or time, these friends give without thinking twice about it. My giving friend is Jonna. She challenges me to look outward.

The different friend

I’m blessed to have a large group of diverse friends. I have friends who are atheists, agnostics, Christians and Jews. I eat with vegans and vegetarians. I have friends who are older and younger. I have friends who are gay, straight, single and married, Democrats and Republicans. I have friends who wear kilts and friends who wear overalls. I have friends with Mohawks and body piercings. My friends are as diverse as my garden and no less colorful. They have made me more sensitive to others.

Did a friend or two come to mind as you read this list? Did you see yourself?

Neither friendships nor beautiful gardens happen by accident, but both are worth the effort. So whether you are looking for friends or flowers, be patient. I’ve no doubt you’ll eventually have both.

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