And you say you don’t have any “Friends”. Wow! Several years ago I hosted a “Girls Night Out” with some of my closest friends. At that time, we ranged in age from 30 to 50. We have varying levels of education and job titles; we also varied in our marital statuses. In this group, there is a mother of 4, as well as a mother of none; some I’d known for 20+ years and others less than 2 years at that time. We were all on a spiritual journey but not all at the same place on this journey. Each of them hold a special place in my life and they are women that I love, trust and depend on. For young women who think that people are only in your life because “they want something”, you are right. Everybody wants something, but your perspective of what someone wants may be distorted. In my case, I have a friend who offers me the needed reality check, another a shoulder to cry on and a different friend offers a laugh just when I need it and then there’s the one who offers an uplifting word, and yes, I want all of these things. Each of them offers me something that I need and I pray I offer them something in return. I learned a long time ago, that in order to have a friend, you must be a friend. You can’t expect that someone will be a friend to you without reciprocating that action. Have we failed the next generation of women? I hope not. Are their challenges different than the generation before them, not really, but perception is reality. They perceive that they do not have true friends and that makes it true for them. What can we do to help mentor these young women? How can we show them that the women they think they don’t trust, can be great assets to their lives. First, we have to acknowledge that this is what they feel, discounting their feelings will only perpetuate the problem. Pulling the sheets up to our necks won’t cover up what they are experiencing. We may not understand it, but should be open to listening. Next, we need to ask why they feel this way. Some of us have not experienced whatever it is that placed them on this path, but we can be a listening ear. Then, teach them that in order to pick a gem, they have to ensure that their jewelry is shining. Again, you can’t expect to have a friend, if you’re not willing to be one. Finally, teach them to LOVE themselves. Self-preservation is the first law of nature. When you learn to love yourself, the journey to loving someone else doesn’t seem so far. This is not a one size fits all, but I feel we need to start somewhere or our next generation could truly be lost to the world. To All of my Friends, thank you in advance for whatever it is you have to offer. May the Son and sun always grace your life.