Time for Friends – Friendship #6


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The Napkin Kin

I do a lot of live streaming video. I have a regular group that views and contributes. They are called the Napkin Kin.  New people come in every day as well. Many of them become part of the group.  But there is a particular brand of person who comes in to the broadcasts who never become part of the group. Who are they? They are the ones who demand I connect with them immediately. They tell me to follow them on Instagram and on Snapchat and on Facebook and on whatever other social media site they can think of.  The insistently demand I go take a look at their portfolio or pictures or stories and get back to them.  They also might be the type who wants to know my opinion on something like the recent election.

Self, Self, Self

I am immediately put off by these people. I will be nice to them but if they continue I call them out.

I speak directly to them and say, “You haven’t taken one second to get to know me or the others in this broadcast. You haven’t contributed to the conversation. You haven’t asked questions or listened to what is being said. You have no idea who we are or what we are about and yet you want me, and the rest of the group, to immediately drop what we are doing and go look at your sites.  You want us to be your friend and yet you haven’t done anything to warrant us wanting to be that for you. Let’s start over. You come in again and pay attention. Find out what is going on in this broadcast, introduce yourself, and in general get to know us.  Then, as that is happening, we will naturally get to know you as well. It won’t take long since we are a friendly and curious bunch.”

And that little speech actually works sometimes.

Mutual, I’m Sure

And isn’t that true in our in-person lives as well?  I certainly am wary of someone who befriends me just for the purpose of getting something from me or wanting some attention from me. But, as just happened this morning while I was writing this, if someone I already know comes to me requesting a favor or asking a question, I am enthusiastic about helping them out. I am not talking about helping a stranger. I am talking about investing in someone who is obviously only pursuing the friendship for their own gain.

Building mutual care and concern is how friendships grow, not by sucking a virtual stranger’s attention for selfish ends.

Drawing and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by Ethel Barrymore,  1879-1959, American Actress


Making and Keeping Friends – Friendship #5


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The Other Thing I Did

While I was drawing on napkins for my daughters back in the 90s I also was doing something else. I was saying goodbye to them at the door. Each day I would say pretty much the same thing. I would say I love you then I would say “Don’t forget, Make good friends and keep good friends.”  Why I came up with that particular phrase, I don’t know. But I would say it every day.  And I meant it.


What I wanted for them was a growing, vibrant community. A community doesn’t happen without friendships, a growing community doesn’t happen without new friendships and a vibrant community doesn’t happen without diverse friends. That is why I said that to them.

The Purpose of Diversity

When I say diverse, I don’t mean you have to have a rainbow of skin colors to prove it. I think that would help but only insofar as it’s an outward visual of what is an internal diversity. In other words, the important thing isn’t that your friend has dark brown, red, orange, alabaster or freckled skin. What is important is that you are experiencing, at least some of the time, a person with a life experience different than yours. A life experience you can learn and grow from knowing AND that your friend can benefit from by knowing you.

Courage Over Fear

How do you gather such friends? Yes, by going out into the world. But that isn’t enough. You have to go out into the world with courage and an open heart or else you will simply be carrying your fear around with you and will miss meeting those new friends.

Drawing and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by Yours Truly


Fate and Choice – Friendship #4


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One of the reasons people are xenophobic (fear of foreigners, people of other cultures) is because they only have friends who are exactly like them. Maybe they are the same color, maybe the same economic status, maybe from the same town or city, maybe the same religion, maybe the same age or the same gender.  They may look a little different on the outside, one is bald, one like bright clothes, etc. But in truth, their friends are actually just themselves in other bodies.  People who are outside this homogenous group are the ‘other’ and since you don’t know them and they seem so different, they are feared. This can easily be the case with the refugee or immigrant, the person from the north side of the city, the person who speaks another language, the retiree, the person from another religion.


The question is, how do you get to be friends with those people?  Astonishingly, one of the best ways is online. You can find everyone online, and if you join groups, chances are the group will have all sorts of people. Get to know them.

One of my favorite things about doing live streaming on Periscope app is I never know who is going to come into my broadcast. Sometimes it’s a dreadlocked African-American from Chicago, next moment it’s a Putin-loving person from Russia. Then in comes an Australian housewife living in Germany, a Latina actress from LA, a stay at home dad from St. Louis, a single mom from Paris with a bi-racial son, a teenager from Spain, a hardworking artist from Philadelphia, a famous blogger from the UK,  an intellectual from Hawaii, a Native American from Oklahoma.  They may be online, but they are all my friends and I get to know them and do my best to understand them.

Of course that is not the only way to know people different than you are.  Joining an interest group in your town might be a way to do that. Volunteering for a cause could work as well.  There are many ways, but it takes a decided effort in many cases to make it happen.


The point is, we live in a diverse world. It’s more interesting and fun to embrace it. It is healthier to embrace it as well.  Because when you have friends who really ARE different than you, then you will come to see them as multi-faceted people, just like you are.  And that in turn will allow you to think about all other religions, races, ages, genders, orientations, etc. with the sensitivity that comes from seeing them as real people, just like your friends.


Drawing and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by Jacque Delille, 1738-1813, French writer and poet


The Blue Woman and the Red Bird – a Friendship Story


The Blue Woman and the Red Bird 

One day the blue woman was walking to the edge of the volcano so she could jump in and kill herself. On the way she came across a red bird standing on a dead branch near the trail she was on. The red bird started talking to the blue woman and what she said made her cry. They weren’t tears of sadness but tears of joy because what the red bird said was that she was lonely being the only red bird in the area and wanted someone to talk to who would understand her. She saw the blue woman walking by and since she had never seen a blue woman before she figured she had to feel pretty lonely as well. She was right. The blue woman felt very lonely.  But thanks to the red bird noticing her and saying something she didn’t feel that way anymore. The red bird and the blue woman became great friends and accompanied each other everywhere together until the end of their days. And they were never lonely again.

The End

Drawing and story © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com


The God Complex – Friendship #3


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Being God

You know what is great? To have a friend who will fish you out of the water when you fall in. That is great. But what is not great is if they threw you in the water in the first place.

Have you ever had a friend like that?  I call this the God Complex. They thrive when they are helping someone but to do so they need to get that person in danger first. So they set up a scenario where they nurture drama in a person’s life, maybe by encouraging them to date someone they know is not right for them, or maybe to take a job they are not suited for. It could be anything. All that matters is that they work it so they are able to come to the rescue and seem to be the hero or shero.

My Hero Fantasy

I have known one or two in my time. And even though the quote refers to a woman (Mme De Stael), I have noticed it just as much, if not more, in men. I think this might be because men grow up told it’s the highest accomplishment to be a hero.  I remember in Jr. High I had my first and only hero fantasy. I imagined the bus I took to school getting in a crash and me coming to the rescue of Julie, the most beautiful girl in school (in my opinion). I helped her out of the bus and took care of her as she lay on the ground.  As an adult I respond as best I can to circumstances where my help is needed. But I don’t ever want to desire or cause something bad to happen just so I can do good.

Here’s the point. It’s not wrong to be a hero or shero. It’s a good thing. But it’s not if you are manipulating people and situations so that you can be one.  That’s a bad thing.

Drawing and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by Charles Maurice de Talleyrand, 1754-1838 French diplomat and politician


The quote refers to Mme. De Staël (Anne-Louise-Germaine Necker, Baronne (baroness) de Staël-Holstein), 1766-1817, French-Swiss author and politician.  She is definitely worth reading about!



Friends Through Life – Friendship #2


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The New Friend

Last year there was a woman who came into our running group. She was enthusiastic, positive, friendly and caring.  I thought from the first that she must have already known a number of the other runners. But no, she told me she had just moved here by herself only recently. She told me she had done it many times before and had learned that if she was to enjoy her life as a single woman in new locations she would have to make a deliberate effort to go out and meet people. She did this by joining groups, in this case our running group. And sure enough she gathered a group of good friends in short order.

The Gone Friend

Then she moved.  Just like that she was gone. Now, in the social media world people aren’t really ever gone, right? So, neither is she. I read her Facebook posts from her new location and guess what she is now enjoying?  She is now a hiker and a climber in the Rocky Mountains outside of Denver. And there is photo after photo of her with new friends she met in a hiking group she joined.

The True Friend

One other aspect of her appearance on the scene that I noted. She did not join our running group just to make friends, she also joined so she could be a friend. It wasn’t just her getting her friendship needs met, it was also about what she could offer others. In other words she gave as much as she got.

The Courageous Friend

Now, she is an extrovert and makes friends easy. I know not everyone is like that. But everyone still has a need for friendship and everyone still has to take responsibility for finding those friends, now matter what your personality type. If you move to a new place, get a new job, or enter a new phase of life, chances are people are not going to come out of the woodwork to befriend you. Even if they do, you have to decide to accept and contribute to that friendship.

It takes some courage to go out and make friends, but the results are worth the challenge.

Drawing and commentary © 2016 Marty Coleman | napkindad.com

Quote by me, adapted from one by Samuel Johnson


The Comfort of Friends – Friendship #1


That Friend Feeling

I used to think I didn’t have many friends. I used to think I was sort of like the typical male, a lone wolf sort that had friends here and there but no close friends. At least not like many of the women I know.

But then I thought back and I couldn’t remember a time when I didn’t have them.  They weren’t always of the same intensity of feeling, and they weren’t always of the same frequency of interaction, but I have always had them nonetheless.

I tried to make a list of my friends over the years and realized I couldn’t always remember their names. But, I could always see their faces in my head and, more importantly, I could always remember the feeling I had being with them.  

Church Friends  vs Work Friends

Long ago I lived in California. I worked at a restaurant (among other places) and I went to church.  I moved away and a year later came back to visit.  I visited both my old workplace and my old church.  It was nice seeing my church friends.  But when I went to the restaurant I was REALLY excited to see my work friends. Why was that?  The people at church were great. We had raised our kids together. We had done a lot of things, had a lot of conversations, been through a lot. Prayed a lot. So why was I so much more excited to see my work friends than my church friends?

The Comfort Spot

It came down to comfort.  At work I was completely and utterly who I was, good and bad. My funniest, most serious, most stressed, most helpful, most sober, most drunk, most angry, most peaceful, most happy, most sad, most moral, most immoral, most ethical, most unethical, most creative, most boring.  All of me was on display at that restaurant but only part of me was on display at that church.

And my work friends? They were the same. They showed every part of themselves to me.  So, when I came back a year later, I yearned for that comfort of seeing those who knew me so well and still loved me.  The church friends knew the best of me and love me. But the work friends knew all of me and loved me.

They were my comfort spot. They were my cushions of life.

Who are your cushions and where can they be found?


Drawing and commentary © 2015 Marty Coleman

Quote by Kimberley Blaine – Therapist, writer, blogger, brand ambassador


Kimberley (left) and her sister, Jammie

Kimberley is a friend of mine from the world of blogging and social media.  She wrote the words above in a blog post many month ago and I loved it so much I stole them (sorry Kimberley!)

She is well worth following because of her incredible honesty and insight into what it takes to be a mom, a spouse, a woman, a professional and yes, a friend.

You can find her everywhere but here are a few platforms that you should take a look at:

Website – The Go-To Mom

FaceBook – Kimberley Blaine

YouTube – The Go-To Mom

Amazon – The Go-To Mom’s Parents’ Guide to Emotion Coaching Young Children


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