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Friday's Inspiration Weekly
Keeping Company

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Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
Endeavor, as much as you can, to keep company with people above you. Do not mistake, when I say company above you, and think that I mean with regard to their birth; that is the least consideration; but I mean with regard to their merit, and the light in which the world considers them.
What influence do my associations have on me? Are they making my life better? 

Entrée:  The Company You Keep by Kristen Pasculli
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The people in our lives say a lot about who we are, and who we want to become. That’s why choosing a positive support system of friends is crucial. But we didn’t know that when we picked many of our friends. Many of us sort of "fell" into the people with whom we got along with well.

When it comes down to it – do you have people in your life that you can really count on? New studies are providing strong evidence that friendships are vital to one's health and may prolong our lives. Knowing that, it seems only natural to focus on our friendships.

Yes, you're busy. Yes, you have a lot going on. Yes, romantic relationships are hard enough to find and maintain. But if you're anything like me, there's more to you than your significant other or your career. There's you! And a good way to improve you and have fun in life is to make good friends.

But the relationships with family, kids and spouses can't and shouldn't take the place of friendship, according to Sandy Sheehy. She is the author of Connecting: The Enduring Power of Female Friendship. Sheehy's book focuses around the premise that friendship plays a vital role in society. Its power comes from the fact that friendship is voluntary, unlike family ties that can be broken.

Personal Insight
I recently spoke to a friend who was going through friendship changes much like I have been. I said to her, “I thought you were supposed to just have the people in your life from childhood on.” “No way,” she said, explaining how she was always a drifter, a part of different cliques. Her zest for life amazed me. So I’ve set out on a search to find some ways that I can meet new people and make lasting friends in my life.

Finding Friends
Simply put, the best way to meet new people is to put yourself into new social situations. Join that book club, take up a new sport, or hook on to a friend’s hobby with him or her. That way, you’re meeting others and maintaining a friendship. Don’t rely completely on the Internet, although it is a usable resource for meeting and connecting with others.

Much like your car needs an oil change, your relationships with friends need maintenance. If you’re lucky enough to have some people in your life that you know you want around forever, don’t let that person go. The best way I’ve found to keep the spark alive is to surprise your friends. And how easy is it?

For the Internet savvy, it’s just a click away with sites such as, which offer free online greeting cards. Still into paper and pen? Postcards are an inexpensive way to say hi to a long-distance friend. Or, you can surprise a friend with an impromptu movie or dinner date. If you regularly schedule visits with a friend, keep at it.

About the author:

Torn between her passion for words and her love for the environment, Kristen Pasculli decided to follow her heart -- and write.

At 26-years-old, Pasculli is an accomplished freelancer eager to bring fresh, realistic content into the world. Using her interests and professional backgrounds, she has the ability to provide a wide array of writing styles and documents to suit individual publishing needs. Her topic specialties range from the music industry and the environment to self-help and health issues. She is an apt writer of human-interest features, and has a fond appreciation for the genre of creative nonfiction.

Currently, she is a technical writer at a small environmental firm in New Jersey. Previously, Pasculli worked for Gannett as a reporter, contributing news and feature articles. Her articles regularly appear in College Bound Magazine, The Forum and Currents. She also contributes a monthly column in Night and Day Magazine. In addition, Pasculli is the editor at, creating all content on the site. Her work has appeared on,,, and, where her e-book "Conquering Anxiety" was translated for Spanish markets. She has contributed to Culture and Leisure Magazine and Hatch Magazine as well.

In her spare time, Pasculli enjoys going to the beach, traveling throughout New England, spending time with her family and friends, reading, painting and frequenting Starbucks to fuel her coffee and tea obsession. She is currently working on her first memoir, a personal account of her early 20s to be titled, The Silver Daughter. Please visit Kristen's website for more information and further reading.

Main Course: My Valuable Friends
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The popular TV show Friends is filming their last episode today. Ten years have passed! What brought them together? What kept them together? If you have watched the show, what did you learn from it? Yeah, a few good belly laughs from Joey's sheer stupidity, Ross's ineptitude, Chandler's gullibility, Phoebe's eccentricity, Rachael's innocence, Monica's compulsiveness. But there was more to the popularity of the show than that, certainly. It was the example of quality friendship that made the show what it was. Superb.

Friends round out my life. Adult friendships should provide situations in which I can learn and grow, opportunities for fun and excitement, a refuge of understanding when comfort is needed. Who knows me better , or is more able to give me support, than my close friends? What more comfortable place is there than to be thought of as someone's "best friend?"

Giving and receiving friendship and support provides an enduring quality to my life. One can forgive an injury done by a friend, but must never forget a good turn. One is more inclined to quiet, rather than aggravate, difficulties with a friend - less rash and hasty, not as swift to take offense, not easily angered. Sarah ban Breathnach said, "One of the reasons we love our close friends so dearly is that they allow us to complain, knowing that we'll return the favor."

A friendship is a comfortable place to be myself. That I can be a friend, that I  can have a friend, though it were but one in the world; that fact, that wondrous good fortune, I may set against all the sufferings of my social nature! That I can reveal my true self and still be loved, that I can speak my true thoughts to my friend and still be respected, amidst the controversy of opinion; that fact from within outweighs all facts from without.

It is vital that I choose my friends carefully. In the process of recovery, it was necessary to distance myself from those who were more like "drinking buddies" (were I recovering from alcohol abuse, this would be the case) than friends. It was necessary to redefine my understanding of the term "friend." In some cases, the parting was not hard at all, realizing that they were not necessarily friends at all. In other cases, it was challenging - but sorely needed.

In recovery, one must do three things to have a measure of success: giving up an addiction requires that I remove the addictive substance from my life, that I remove myself from places and situations where the addictive behavior was practiced, and that I remove myself from associations that promoted the addictive behavior. Giving up friends, letting the association with them wane because I was outgrowing it, might have been the most painful part of recovery.

But, it was vital to do so, that I might make room in my life for more productive and positive associations. Today, I count many among my "valuable friends."

Someone I dearly love is in jail today, simply because of his associations - he was with his "friend," in the wrong place, at the wrong time. What kind of friend is that?

Michael Rawls, Friday's Inspiration © 2003

Second Helping: Friendship & Unhealthy Relationships by Scott M. Gallagher
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Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.

When we happen upon a person who will be a friend, we recognize that person immediately, not only because of the instant and easy rapport, but also because of something unnamable, something intangible, like the birth of a star that says this is a kindred spirit, a brother in the wilderness, a lamp in the house of Usher.

With a friend all things are possible. We can argue, laugh, cry, and even act the fool with no one quite so often and so well as we can with a friend. Our friends are our selves in a different guise, integral pieces of the maddening puzzle.

A day without friends is no day at all, but a lonely, anguished night.

Hold fast to your friends, for without friendship the world would perish.

Unhealthy Relationships

We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.

Everyone comes with strings attached, but some come with ropes, nooses with which, if we are not careful, we may just get hanged. If you're so inclined in love to repeatedly play the knight in shining armor or the nursemaid, you may wish to reconsider the consequences of trying to be Cupid's defender and savior. the hopelessly neurotic and needy beloved may yet be more than you bargained for.

Your healthy chivalry or your proclivity for mothering - whichever the case may be - may not be equal to rescuing your loved one from troubles. In other words, your assumed strength may not be as strong as his or her obvious weaknesses. And in such an affair, you may just end up as aggrieved and disordered as the one you so nobly tried to save. So take care that you don't willingly confuse pity with love and defiantly set out to resolve another's neuroses, for this type of arrogance can exact a heavy price.

About the author:

Scott M. Gallagher is editor of The Mind, Body, and Soul Network. Along with writing the Daily Meditations for MBS, he also writes the bi-weekly newsletter. I highly recommend Scott Gallagher’s book, Search Your Self: 365 Meditations for the Mind, Body, and Soul (©2000 Harper Collins/ William Morrow).

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