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Friends: No Strings Attached

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A neighbor called and asked if she could come over. I was surprised since I had just seen her and her husband the night before. But she was such a delightful and bubbly person that I quickly and enthusiastically said yes.

When she arrived, she held in her hand a large carton of heavy Costco cream – the kind I enjoyed using in my coffee.

I invited her in, and she handed me the box of cream. “This is for you.”

The look on my face reflected my surprise and confusion. As she declined my offer to sit down and have a cup of coffee with me, I went to get my purse to pay for the cream.

But she quickly said, “Oh there is no cost – this is just a gift. I know you like this cream and last night at dinner you said you were out of cream.”

I had invited her and her husband over for dinner, and in serving coffee with dessert, realized I had no cream to offer with the coffee. So, when her husband went to the store that morning to pick up some groceries, she asked him to pick up the cream for me.

Overwhelmed was an understatement. I still wanted to pay for it, but quickly realized that she wanted this to be a gift – no strings attached – just a friend being a friend.

“There is no cost – it is my gift to you.”

Never was cream so tasty. Never did the coffee it was poured into taste so good.

To refuse a gift would be like refusing the person. For with the gift comes an extension of that person – their kindness, concern, and appreciation.

To refuse would be hurtful. And the most important gifts we receive come in the simplicity of cartons of cream and a bouquet of flowers brought because someone is hurting. These say, “I am aware. I know. I care. I can’t change things, but I can help make it easier.”

Friends. They are truly one of God’s blessings to us.

Who can put a value on friendship? True friends are more valuable than gold. They can be neighbors; they can be people we have known for some time or recently met. They can even be part of our family.

Over the years there have been many people who have moved in and out of my life. Some have simply been nodding acquaintances or associates I have worked with professionally.

Others came into my life when I needed someone I could rely on or when they reached out for support. Common needs, concerns, or life situations brought us together for a short period of time as we worked on projects or agendas.

Travel introduced many people with common interests, where, within a short period of time, we became friends

But friendships that remain over many years are friends on which no price can be put.

These are the friends whose loyalty, tolerance and genuine caring have helped me over the many bumps and tragedies of life.

Like the friend who flew home from England to help me when my husband became ill. No hesitation – no concern other than to be there to help. No matter how far apart we moved, no matter how seldom we connect, there is a bond that goes beyond distance or time that remains in place despite the years. These have become more than simply friends – they have become a part of my family.

What does it mean to be a friend?

A friend is loyal and faithful through the good times and the bad times. With unconditional love, I am accepted with all my faults as they reach out with support even in the toughest of times.

A friend will believe in me and hold confidences. We share similar values and feel free to discuss even the most contentious and opposite of views. As a friend, I listen and respect our differences. I feel free to give constructive and honest criticism when needed or asked for.

My friend will stand up for me when others are intent on tearing me down.

Perhaps there have been friends in your life that you not only remember with fondness but wish you could connect again. Reach out – call – inquire. Rekindle that deep friendship that was so important to you at one time in your life. Share old times, the concerns of today and laugh over old stories.

Distance, different paths, and life circumstances may take us in different directions. But for those who are true friends, neither time nor distance can shake the friendship we share.

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