FRIENDS

Among the first definitions found in the Merriam-Webster dictionary for “friend” are: a person you like and enjoy being with, one attached to another by affection or esteem, one that is not hostile.

This is my brother whom I gave great affection for and hold in high esteem. But if you Google the definition of “friends”, you’ll find that their definition exclude relatives, so for the purposes of this little note, he doesn’t count as a friend – although for the record he is one of the closest people to me in the world (despite whatever it is he is wearing around his neck in this photo which reminds me of the director & writer Peter Bogdanovich).

 Image

 And this is Kate Moss. And why is she pictured here you might fairly ask. The answer is because that same Google definition also defines “friends” as typically exclusive of sexual relations. For the record I have never had sexual relationships with Kate Moss, nor I have I ever met her. However, if I had met her or had a sexual relationship with her I would like to think that we might have become friends … who am I kidding?

Kate Moss, not a friend either.

Kate Moss, not a friend either.

I am a firm believer that “friends” are one of the most important things that we can have. Over the course of ones life “friends” will come and go – childhood friends, school friends, work friends, acquaintances – but some friendships will stick, they will stand the test of time, they will be those trusted ones that you come to love as if they were family. And that’s the essence of what I’m writing about, those “friends” that stand the test of time and what it feels like to lose a real “friend.” Take a moment and see how many you can count that fit that description – those “friends” that respect you, that hold you in high affection, that call you in the midst of a crisis.

Friendship requires work (this and what follows are purely my opinion which you are free to disagree with or not), they require tremendous listening skills, they require the ability not to be judgmental immediately and they require the ability to forgive. They are found on two-way streets and require more work than most people (my opinion again) are willing to put in. So when you lose a friend it hurts that much more and if you’re smart, you do whatever you can not to lose those friendships.

In the last few years I can count the number of friendships that I have lost, and not a day goes by that I don’t mourn theses losses. I mourn these losses because I can’t just go out and replace them the way I might replace a lost wallet filled with credit cards or set of keys (two examples of things that take some effort to replace and along the way create short-term aggravation). I would like to be judgmental about some of these lost friendships, but I’m not – I’m incredibly sad.

And for those friendships where I did something heinous that was not forgiven, I live with that responsibility. And for those friendships lost for reasons of misunderstandings, miscommunications, or mistakes that someone else made and wasn’t able to come to terms with their part of the responsibility, my heart is open that one day those friendships might be rekindled.

Being non-judgmental is hard and runs counter to most of our instincts. Really listening to someone else is hard too because while we may be taught to listen before we speak, very few people really do that. Instead we are thinking of what we want to say and in doing so we drown out the words of the person speaking to us, and if that person is asking to be forgiven for something, it’s even harder and we might never hear what is really being said.

Friendships are lost for so many reasons, none of which can balance the pain one might feel in losing a “friend,” because shared memories will always be there to remind you of what you had and have lost. And that’s far worse than losing a sock after doing laundry – socks are sold all over the place. Friendships can’t be bought and sold. And I would like my friendships back …

 

A Guide to Interacting with Women (From Esquire’s “A Man’s Guide to Taking Care of Himself”)

                                                                                                                                                                 ALWAYS                                                                                                  

Stand up when greeting a woman on when you’re being introduced to one. Make eye contact, too — that they like.

SOMETIMES  

  Stand up when a woman arrives at a table. If there are only a few people at the table, stand; if there are six or more, stay seated.

 NEVER

Rush into a hug or kiss with a new woman or casual acquaintance. Same goes for touching.

ALWAYS

Help her put on her coat.

SOMETIMES

Hold the door. Whoever gets to the door first holds it for the others.

NEVER

Kiss her hand. It’s weird.

ALWAYS

When greeting a female friend or family member, go for her left cheek. Any hesitation in cheek direction and you might bump heads.

SOMETIMES

Get off an elevator first. If it’s just a few of you, let her go first, but if there are more than five people in there, everyone should exit in his or her turn.

NEVER

Honk your horn. Instead, park the car and go to the door. And don’t sigh if she asks for a few more minutes. She’s dressing up for you.

ALWAYS

Offer to carry something. if she’s overloaded with books or bags, she’ll appreciate your offer, even if she doesn’t take you up on it.

SOMETIMES

Pick up the tab for a meal. Offer to pay, but if she wants to split the bill or treat you, go with it.

NEVER

Leave her alone. If you arrive at a party together, stay with her for the duration of the evening. Be attentive–introduce her and include her in your conversations.

Why Platinum for Wedding Bands

There’s little question that platinum is stunning, and remains a popular choice for engagement and wedding rings sets. Not only it is one of the more beautiful and long-lasting metals, it is a symbol of prestige.  And like true love, it is one of the rarest elements in the Earth’s crust. It has been used by royalty and celebrities for years, as it is often referred to as a noble metal.

The Difference Between White Gold and Platinum

While white gold and platinum may look the same when you’re in the jewelry store, they’re actually quite different. The first thing that sets platinum apart from white gold is the fact that it is naturally a white metal, whereas white gold must be mixed with other alloys like nickel in order to become white. With time, platinum will maintain its natural white color, while white gold will yellow if not cared for properly. Platinum requires almost no maintenance and rarely tarnishes. Of course, it is a more expensive choice than white gold, but when all the benefits are weighed, it is well worth the investment.

Platinum is Hypoallergenic

Many metals, including all sorts of gold, can irritate sensitive skin. Platinum is one of the only fine metals known for its hypoallergenic properties. No one wearing a real platinum ring is going to have a rash or become irritated by it, making it a very nice choice for people who have experienced problems with other types of metals used for jewelry. In addition, platinum will not wear as easily as other metals, so there is less chance of it becoming scratched and aggravating the skin.

A true wedding ring connoisseur knows that being a platinum buyer is the best option in creating nice wedding sets. When you set out on your quest to find the best platinum wedding set, always be sure you know from whom you are buying your jewelry. This will help ensure the quality of the platinum you are receiving, and that you are getting 100% pure platinum and not some variation.

What to Know

As with all precious metals, platinum must be alloyed with other metals in order to achieve the hardness required for jewelry. A ring that is alloyed with 80% Platinum and 20% other metals is worth a lot less the a ring this is 95% platinum.

Federal regulations require all platinum bans to bear a stamp or “hallmark” on the inside of the band. If it says “IridPlat”, or “.90Plat/Ir” than the ring is only 90% pure platinum, and you should pay less for it than a ring that is 95% pure platinum. If the hallmark says “Plat” of “.95Plat”, then the ring is considered pure platinum and commands a premium price.

Ask your jeweler about the alloy used in your platinum ring. A pure platinum ring (95% platinum) should be alloyed with either Cobalt or Ruthenium.

If you’ve chosen a custom ring, ask your jeweler for a wax mold of the ring to ensure that the design meets your expectations before it is cast into platinum.

And always shop at a reputable jeweler. This could be a world-famous name like Black Starr Frost or Tiffany  & Co. or your town’s oldest jeweler. But know who you are buying from and what you are getting.

The wedding band or ring you exchange with your loved one is a token of commitment and love, and a symbol you will share for the rest of your lives together.

(Segments of this post first appeared as a sponsored post on The Plunge Project blog with additional info from wikihow).