Permission-Based Friends


I had a friend die last week. I’ve had a hard time digesting the fact he is gone, but he is. I will never talk to him on the phone again. I will never receive a special Facebook message telling me to cheer up. I have questioned myself every single day, “Did I make sure he knew how much he mattered to me?” I will never know the answer to this question.

On the day I found out my friend passed away, I sat listening to Marie Forleo interviewing Seth Godin and although Seth was talking about permission-based marketing when he shared his definition of “permission” I couldn’t help but wonder how many permission-based friendships I currently hold dear to me? Who do I look forward to each day? Who would I miss if they were gone? It spawned a time of needed reflection.

Who do you look forward to each day?

My first question was, “Who do I look forward to each day?” and it’s easy to say my grandkids, children, and my husband, Ahmad. They are my entire foundation and one crack and the whole thing would come crumbling down.

However, I look forward to the elderly lady who sprint-walks in front of my house each day as she inspires me to get fit. I look forward to seeing Tristy who does my nails every other week because she makes me laugh and puts up with my obnoxious nail requests. I look forward to my Tuesday email from Marie Forleo even though she has no idea I even exist. These people all matter in my life; they make my life have balance.

My takeaway is I need to tell more people they matter. I need to use my voice and tell them why they make my days better just be being in them. I must honor what they bring to the table (or salon or sidewalk or online) to touch me and help me be a better permission-based friend for someone else in the world.

Who would you miss if they were gone?

Setting aside my family who if they were to depart, I would be derailed and disjointed in a variety of crazy, yet depressed, ways, but I’m thinking about so many others whose smiles, laughter, and kindness I would miss at a depth I didn’t realize was there. People who come in-and-out of your day and you find yourself talking to them, looking for them, laughing with them, but you’ve never said to them, “You really matter to me. I appreciate you so much.” What those words might do for someone…and when they are gone, you can’t get the time back to make sure they felt them. It’s too late by then.

So make this about righting wrongs, deflating egos, whatever you must do to tell someone who matters to you that they are important. We all just need to do it. If you are going to miss someone when they are gone, they need to know today they are in your heart and they are loved.

He mattered beyond measure.

For me, I’m sad to have lost a sweet friend. He mattered to me and countless others. He touched  more lives than I could even begin naming in this blog. My last time with him was a mixture of fun and pride. He did such an amazing job of setting up a conference of young advisors and all was accomplished through selfless amounts of hard work. He made fun of my peeling face (I had just returned from a week of skin-diving, parasailing, and spending way too much time in the Jamaican sun). I made fun of his push-up challenges on Facebook.

We were friends and yet, I never once took the time to tell him I looked forward to his calls and emails and that I would miss him if he were ever gone. You never get time back.

Jeremy Price was the epitome of a permission-based friend. Rest in peace, JP.



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