Every December I spend time working on my goals, dreams, and aspirations for the up-coming year. Ironically I was also finishing up a coaching certification and was asked to do an assignment on friendship. I was dreading it! I felt like an adolescent kicking my feet and resisting heavily.

The assignment:  Develop 5 Ideal Friends. I was instantly reminded that one of my goals the previous year was to do that very thing… maybe not develop 5 ‘ideal’ friends but 5 none the least.

My heart sank as the past year flashed through my head.  I knew I had not attain this goal. The year was challenging resulting in my days spent  head down, focused, and pushing through, versus making time for friends or fun.  As I contemplated the exercise, I realized my resistance was fear. I was fearful of facing the fact I had not attained my goal and even more afraid of acknowledging a bigger truth that lurked in the shadows – I was feeling the lack of connection.

Staying true to form, I decided to buckle down and push through. The outcome was an awakening for me.

Step 1: list the name of 5 people.

UGH! FIVE? REALLY? I know a lot of people, but when I think of ‘friendship’ I think of people who are close to me, who know me, and a mutual exchange and investment into each other’s lives exists… Who would I list? The first name came easily, but what about the others?

Before I knew it, I had 5 names. What I noticed was 3 out of the 5 were completely new people in my life. One was an existing ‘pseudo friendship’ that really blossomed this year and the other was my closet friend of many years. In reality, I was not far off from my goal. I had developed and grown 4 ‘real’ friendships this year. I was beginning to feel much better.

Step 2: Describe these people.

This was the fun part. I started listing the qualities and characteristics I saw in each of them.  When I had finished, I noticed that each description was different. Each person was unique and brought something different to my life. My heart was filling with love and gratitude for my friends and the role they had played in my life this past year. After allowing myself to appreciate each one of them I was struck with another reality. The list of words I use to describe them was either a quality I had already developed personally, or a characteristic I admired and wished I had.  (I also noticed a couple I did not particularly like.) It was as if my friends were holding up a mirror for me to look into. They were mirroring back to me who I am and who I can become.

I can honestly say, I do not know what I would do without these friends. Most people are lucky to have 2 close friends. I had just listed 5. I don’t know why I thought I was lacking… my close friendships fill me and add so much value to my life. We learn from each other, encourage each other, which causes us to sharpen and refine our character. The only thing I would change is to have them live closer so that we could spend more time together.

Do the exercise yourself. Share with me what you learned about yourself and your friendships. If you are discovering you need a change… let’s talk.


Step 1:  In column 1, make a list of the 5 people you hang around with the most.

Step 2:  In column 2, add words that describe what you like and/or what you would change about this person.

Step 3:  Describe of the average of these 5 people.  (This is a description of you)

Step 4:  If a change is desired, contact me. We can work together to create goals and a plan for what you desire.