Prior to the pandemic, a business buddy and I had been talking about forming a small group to get together and shoot the breeze on a regular basis. The intention was to share wins and losses, fears and problems, and provide strategic advice on business growth. We’d meet once a month on Zoom, then quarterly in person as we were in different parts of the country.

We found another person, whom we knew, but not well, to join us. We were looking for another when COVID hit.

Like many, we were shell shocked at losing all our business for the foreseeable future and decided to have our first Zoom meeting.  Three hours later it was unanimous we meet again the week after and now, more than a year later, my weekly two hour Zoom of the Three Experts: No Idea – is a treasured time of my week.

This friendship has been the best and most unexpected gift to spring from 2020.

Our friends offer different types of support depending on their own skills.  Some are great listeners (Limes), some are solvers (Apples), some make us laugh and see the positive (Mangoes). And some are best at hugs, (Bananas).

This little trio was originally formed to bounce ideas around and has evolved into a unique and special friendship. Originally, because of the pandemic, our conversations sprung from confusion, fear and common issues – how would we move forward, how would we survive financially? As the group evolved we’ve worked our way through business problems, debated global issues and virtually hugged over deeply personal challenges.

These two tell me what I need to hear. They provide honest, loving feedback. They let me rant and slap me round when I need it. They offer sage professional advice because they have the knowledge of our common industry. We share stories and I’ve learned about the ways in which they impact the world. We’ve ventured way beyond the everyday and have intelligent, stimulating, thought provoking conversation which makes me consider the world, and the way I play in it, in different ways.

It’s made me ponder how different friends from different stages bring different gifts. Old friends are irreplaceable. They know your history and have seen the way you’ve interacted with the world, for better or for worse. You have nostalgia, from shared school teachers to getting drunk for the first time or being godmother to their children. They have laughed and cried with you through everything from expansive dramas to miniscule wins. They are family.

New friends don’t come with any prior history or knowledge so there is no historical bias on which to judge you. They don’t know your past or the events and experiences that have shaped you and so the friendship begins like an empty treasure chest, waiting to be filled with precious experiences. They meet you just as you are, today.

Old or new, no matter whether you see them every week or only on a computer screen, I am reminded to respect and honour these relationships which nourish me.

I do not detract in any way from the severity of this disease or the tragedy it has inflicted. But in order to cope, many of us have looked for the silver lining. My unexpected gift is the Three Experts: No Idea. What’s yours?

Find out your preference for Apple, Mango, Lime or Banana, do the short Fruit Quiz.

Lynne’s new book, Pick Me! Loving and Living with People You Just Don’t Get. Through a series of hilarious, and relatable relationship stories constructed from real life scenarios, Lynne Schinella will share why and how we are different, the impact this has on our personal relationships and how to navigate the frustrating but delightful mess that is living with someone we just don’t get.

Available to pre-order now at https://lynneschinella.com.au/shop

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