November 3, 2023

What is a True Friend?

I started watching friends when I was living in New York, and working at Morgan Stanley. Since the show took place in New York, I was quickly drawn to the show. All six characters on Friends were unique in their personalities, interests, families and sense of humor – and yet together had a special bond. As we all mourn Matthew Perry’s untimely and tragic passing, I can’t help but reflect on the friendships and relationships that I have been blessed with in my life.

To be honest, when I was little, it was really hard for me to make friends. I saw myself as different and nerdy. And in my mind, I did not think I was “friend-worthy”. Over time I was lucky enough to have people come into my life that helped me realize that friendship is about sharing experiences, helping each other, laughing, and crying together, and learning from each other. 

In elementary school one of my closest friends was Laura Riddle. We tried to spend every weekend together. We did what normal elementary school kids do on sleepovers and I learned about loyalty and commitment to a friend. And in middle school and high school I established some of my closest relationships that still exist today. Shanti Hall, Bekki Haggard, and Sarah Acton, where then and continue to be some of my best friends. We shared our teenage angst and woes. Prom, football games, AP classes, boys, and more. 

It was during high school that my parents lost everything and we moved from our 10,000 square-foot house on the ocean in one of the nicest neighborhoods in Miami to a small rental a block from our high school. I don’t think I realized then that sometimes people only want to be your friend because of what you can do for them. Luckily, I had true friends who stuck by me.   But, my parents’ experience was different. We quickly learned that there are people who only want to pretend to be your friend, but actually don’t really care about you. When times are tough and you are at your lowest – it is the true friend that sticks by you and helps lift you up off your feet.  Others will choose to walk away and show their true colors.

Throughout my journey from high school to college to law school. From professional experiences with Morgan Stanley to Miami-Dade County to my own law firm. From community involvement and board work with Miami Fellows, Catalyst, Switchboard, Dress for Success, OYC or Womens Fund – I have found my constellation of stars. Amisha, Rekha and Naren, Subha, Josh, Dana, Meredith, Toni, Dave, Tina, and countless others. From family to friends to mentors…I am truly blessed.

Having lived through real loss, both financially and professionally, I have leaned on my inner circle every single day. I learned that people are very forgiving when we give them the chance to be. If we are vulnerable and hold ourselves accountable to each person in our lives, I believe we create friendships that will last a lifetime.

I know that my approach to opening up to people is hard. Like Chandler Bing on Friends, I choose to be authentic and loyal to my friends, and have created truly incredible relationships over decades. Thank you for everything Matthew Perry. May you rest in Power.

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