the kind of friend that makes the extra stop

I dropped two little people off at preschool.

Rushed to Target to pick up a needed item. Had to be fast. Chris was at home waiting for me to return so he could go to work.

I really wanted a nice hot caramel macchiato, but the line was long. Not enough time to wait. Bummer.

I fast paced walked through the store, got my items, checked out.

As I looked up, a saw a good friend just getting her coffee and about to leave the store. I waved and said hi.

She was surprised to see me and then handed me the coffee and a pumpkin muffin.

“These are for you. I was going to drop them off at your house on my way to work.”

She didn’t have a coffee for herself. She was on her way to work. She made a special stop with me in mind.

I want to be that kind of friend.

The kind that thinks of others before I think of myself.

The kind that goes out of my way to be thoughtful towards others.

The kind that makes the extra stop.

My friends are teaching me how to be a friend. Especially in the last year.

I want to not be so self absorbed. So distracted. So in my own little world.

I want be the type of friend that my friends are to me.

What about you? What kinds of thoughtful things have your friends or family done for you? What are some simple ways others have expressed kindness to you or ways you’ve expressed it to others?

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  • LeeH - We went to a local community fundraiser last night that has lots of food booths from local restaurants and lots and lots of wine booths, all outdoors at a lovely shopping center with walls to sit on, fountains, and live music. With your ticket, you get a wine glass and can sample all you want. Having gone before, I sure wished I had one of those little cocktail party plates with a slot to hold a wine glass. So I went out and bought some, and knowing 2 friends were joining us.. I bought 2 more for them.
    What a nice evening with friends and wine, music and lots of food to try. A little of this, a little of that.. and friends.

  • emmybrown - Love it, and it’s true in my life. My friends have taught me how to be a friend. 🙂

  • Victoria / Justice Pirate - That is really wonderful that you have such a thoughtful friend like that! aw.

  • Angie K - That actually made me tear up a little. I have a lovely friend I met almost two years ago who has taught me many lessons on how to be a great friend. She is extremely thoughtful. I find myself having to remember to be thoughtful beyond the obvious. I have to remind myself to think about my dearest friends and what they might need from me, or what little things I can do that would make a big impact for them. It has made a big difference in my friendships, and I couldn’t have done it without that friend who was an amazing friend to me first.

  • Caroline - That’s so nice of your friend!

    I bought a Gratitude journal for my best friend on a random day because I hope she could start taking notes of happy things that she is grateful for daily.

    I also had a friend who bought me a starbucks mug when he heard me saying that i wanted it so much but couldnt bear to pay for it. I totally didnt expect it because I just mentioned it very casually. 🙂

  • Liene - Once in a while drop a bouquet of flowers on a friend’s doorstep 😉

  • Jamie - I love this post. I needed this post today. What you wrote about today has been on my mind lately. I want to be a better friend.

    In the last couple of weeks I have been doing small things for others- and I can NOT believe how it makes me feel inside. Amazing how you feel when you do for others.

    I sent my Great Aunt some pics. of my daughter and a picture she drew for her. My mom said it made her day. I had to drop off some clothes my daughters friend had left at our house. I left them in a gift bag on her familys porch, with some coloring goodies and stickers for her. I let my little one pick them out for her friend, because I am trying to teach her, by example. I also sent my girlfriend a text about how she is a great mom.

    Little things- but they go a long and I never expected how good it would make me feel. Win, Win.
    Happy Friday!

  • Melody - This post touched my heart today. Thank you.

  • Debbie C - Ashley, you have the best friends ever! And they are amazingly talented and creative too. Such a blessing! And yes, I’d like to learn to be that kind of friend too.

  • sarah - These exact thoughts have been running through my head the last few weeks; and not just how to be a better friend, but how to be a better family member: wife, mother, daughter, sister; and a better person in general. lovely words this morning ashley!

  • Brooke - I love this post! You definitely have a special friend. I too hope that I can be that kind of friend to others.

    I like to send gift cards in the mail with a cute note or some M&M’s to my sister. She’s currently in school, doing clinical hours and working on one of the oncology unit at Sick Kids hospital. Money is tight and time is even tighter. If a $10 Starbucks card can make a hard day a little brighter it seems the least I can do 🙂

  • Dawn Nikol - I think your friends are also helping us all be better friends through you. Thank you for sharing.

  • Cheri - I have 3 friends who have done and do wonderful things like this for me. When I was waiting to hear if I had cancer last week, one was ready to shave her head full of beautiful curls if I lost my hair in treatment. These friends are amazing, and are teaching me how to be a friend.

    I am loving following your family, and adoption story.
    God Bless.

  • Lyn - I have a great set of friends. When my son was in the hospital they brought food. They help take the care of my boys when I have to work. They bring Pinkberry when needed and Starbucks. I love my friends dearly and are truly best. I do my best to repay them with kindness. It’s not always easy but I do it when I can.

  • Alma - This is sweet. I am currently trying to practice kindness and think of others. Its gets easier. Even when faced with unnecessary mean comments from those people. What I make sure to do every day is send my mom pictures to her phone…she suffers from Alzheimer’s and it feels like a good deed. She loves pics of my kids and their shenanigans. It takes a second but it feels good. That is really all one needs, a small act of kindness is big

  • andy - That is so sweet. I have a friend that did something like that for me. I had spent the week taking care of my sick baby girl and a friend of mine text me to see what my fave sonic happy hour drink was and dropped it off. I too want to be that kind of friend.

  • Jennifer - Remember that “To everything there is a season.” This is your season to receive. You do already give to so many in lots of ways, and there will indeed come a day when it will be your season to give to those girlfriends who are showering you with love now. Enjoy it — we’re all cheering for you! xo

  • Angela - We wanted to move esp after my best friends moved but the Lord had something else in store. I felt convicted to get out and make friends and build some relationships. It has paid off and I am so blessed because of it. Due to circumstances I don’t feel like I can be of much service at this point in life but have found purchasing small gift cards or flowers for random gifts to those struggling makes a big difference to them. If only for the extra love. We especially have some fantastic people that I’m not close to struggling in our church. I’ve always wanted to be better friends with them but haven’t had the opportunity. I am finding that through service, love and periodic cards expressing that and support. The Lord blesses those that serve.

  • Seriously Sassy Mama - A really dear friend of mine is creating a space in her home to craft and work on her art journal. The last time I was at Ikea, I bought her a pink vase and some floral napkins. I also had some pretty pink candles at home that i knew she would love.

  • Kathi - I have been going through a very hard season, and my friend brought me a cute little pumpkin from her garden (I LOVE fall). Not just the pumpkin, but pictures of it through all it’s stages of growth. She wrote me a very tender note about my growth through my situation as well and her prayer for me. My heart remains full from her gift. We are blessed to know such beautiful people aren’t we!? 🙂

  • Lisa M. - I’ve never been a person that goes out of my way to do things for others. Growing up, I never witnessed my parents doing things for others so I think I naturally bent that way as well. Until I found Jesus. Having a walk with the Lord has taught me so much, serving others being one out of many things. But I struggle with it. Like one of the other commenters said, “I have to remind myself to do things beyond the obvious”. But I’m getting better. My best friend has also played a huge part in this and makes me want to be a better person.
    Thank you, Ashley, for this post. I needed it today. You aren’t a “friend” that I know personally, but I am inspired daily by your words. I just baked some chocolate chip cookies andf I think I’ll head next door to my lonely neighbor and share!

  • Brittaney - What a great friend! And I completely agree with you. Sometimes I think about this myself- how I can and should be a better friend. I do some things, but I know I could do more.
    Every few weeks, I pick my best friend’s son up from school. We go get ice cream or do something simple but fun. This gives her a little bit of “me” time. She doesn’t have to rush from work to pick him up. She can go get a pedicure or something she couldn’t normally do. But I have to admit- it’s not all about her. I love her little guy and love to spend time with him. So she is also helping me by letting me get my “kid fix.”

  • Sundee - I moved an hour away from home, church, family, and friends last year. I’ve been feeling challenged where friendships are concerned. I have so many great friends at “home” that I have been really fortunate to continue to foster, but I am so used to being surrounded by friends…one to go for coffee, one who just needs someone to listen, one to shop with, one who loves spontaneous trips to the ocean…always someone to do something with. Now I’m in a new community and it is lonely. I keep thinking I’ll go paint at the pottery shop, or take a class at the scrapbooking store south of me, or find a new church and while I’ve tried a few churches, I keep getting drawn home. I’m at a point in my life that I know I’m good company and I enjoy time spent alone. I also enjoy the time I get to spend with my +1…but you can’t talk about the same things in the same way with a boyfriend that you would a group of girls.

    Christmas present for myself…new group of Christian minded women who like to craft, talk about books…well, really just enjoy talking…and enjoy coffee. Do you think I should take out a Craigslist ad = )kidding!! But finding a group of friends after 40…I think it’s statistically easier to get married after 40 than it is to find a new group of friends in a new community!!

  • Sharon - No joke… I have a friend who helps me me EVERY WEEK with my laundry! She comes and picked it up and drops it off, folded and sorted. For real! And another friend helped me and my sister plan her wedding? I’ve been SO blessed with amazing friends! I totally don’t deserve them!

  • Niki - Earlier this week my husband was diagnosed with a pretty advanced stage of cancer. It has been hard. The day after we found out a dear friend sent a package. It was filled with gifts for my girls and hundreds of dollars of gift cards. She told us to build as many memories as possible. Spend the days hour by hour. Trust in our Lord. We have had so so so so many people reach out to us this week. We are living in fog right now but I pray that I will be as selfless as the people that have blessed our family this week.

    Thank you for your blog. I love reading your stories.

  • Kristin S - I want to be that kind of friend too!

  • Beth - Inspired by the “mug swap” I created a scripture and scarf swap among the ladies I was facebook friends with at our church. 36 Ladies have signed up!! The idea is to pray for your secret person for two weeks and write out a scripture you find meaningful and send it to them (with a cute scarf too) Since announcing the plan I have had so many ladies THANK me and express their excitement over being given the opportunity to be a part of it. I think sometimes we just need a little help in learning how to go out of our way to be kind.

  • Paula S. - Um…is it weird that I think of you kind of as a friend even though I only know you from your blog? Seeing the world from your eyes (and lovely heart) fills me up a bit, inspires me and helps me to cherish my own sweet life. Oh, and also I feel less alone in wanting to be a better friend to others! So, thank you for sharing!

  • Bri - Ashley, lately I’ve been in the same position as you. I have been so busy and stressed and I feel as though I’ve been taking my friends and family who do so much for me for granted lately. I know I couldn’t do it without them, and your blog post reminded me to take a deep breath and show them my appreciation today. Thank you!

  • Lynn - I had a friend purchase a rather expensive gift for me because I had mentioned that I wished I had it. A week later she had purchased it and said… “I was going to wait to give it to you for your birthday, but I just couldn’t wait anymore”. All gifts are wonderful, but the ones that catch you by surprise are so nice! I hope that I can remember to be that kind of friend from time to time.

  • Corrie Anne - I can’t wait to have friends like… and till I can am a friend like that in Denver. I’m a little tired of moving around and making new friends. But I had a new friend from church bring me flowers on my birthday. It was so sweet. She hardly knows me (yet), but she delivered them on her bike. So cute!!!!

  • Carrie // cue the confetti - Thanks for this reminder! I want to be a good friend!!! Sometimes I just get so wrapped up in ME!

  • Mrs Mike - I have a friend like that!! I moved 1500 miles away, but we talk several times a week. Recently I was having a “blah” week. Nothing particularly bad, but was feeling a little down. She sent me the best card ever, that completely cheered me up. Another time I was hunting for “the right” earrings for my brother’s wedding. She looked up things I’ve liked on Pinterest, and had a friend make me a custom pair in the exact color I was looking for. She is an amazing friend and the best example of what I want to be in return. 🙂

  • Lindsay - This has been on my mind lately as well. I have a dear friend who lives in AZ and even though she is states away (I’m in CO) she always finds a way to show me she cares. Her little boy’s first bday is coming up as well as their anniversary so I have been thinking of fun gifts to send them. I have found some cute ideas to make for her little one, but still coming up short on the anniversary gift. Hope inspiration hits soon!!

    Oh- and my hubby is great at this. I am pregnant with our first baby and have had complication after complication. Most recently found out I have gestational diabetes and will need to go on a strict diet to manage it. I cried and cried- cooking and baking have been what soothes me! Being an awesome husband- he offered to do it with me so it won’t be so hard. Love him so much.

    Thanks for reminding us to take time out of our day to do something nice for the ones we love.

  • Kate S. - Wow. There’s some merit in wanting to emulate a friend like that, but what do you think it already says about the kind of friend YOU are right now that inspires such gifts of devotion? Reading this, I want to be the kind of friend someone thinks of on their way to work and thinks on kindly enough to make a special stop just for them. That’s amazing. Truly inspiring.

  • Eva - You are so so blessed with amazing family and friends. For real. God rains down His blessings upon you.

  • eRin @ Growing Up Senge - What a great post, and what a great reminder to look outside ourselves and be thoughtful and giving to our friends. How lucky you are to have such a wonderfully sweet friend to brighten your day with love!

  • Mrs. Saukas - How to be blessed with great friends? I believe the recipe is to work in be a good friend. And i think if you are blessed with those lovely friends, it’s because you’re also a good friend and touch their hearts too.
    I’m blessed too with good friends. Recently, a old high school time friend was in a europe tour and sent me a postal card from Paris. And i loved more her kindness, cuz she remembered of me.
    God bless.

  • Debbie - Your friends are angels.

  • Jane Dickens - …. but you are that friend, the one that inspires so many others…. even those you don’t know! I’ve never met you but you are a blessing to me, an inspiration as a mother and Christian. I so love watching your walk and the simple JOY you share each day is so sweet. Happy weekend!

  • Robyn - I recently had emergency surgery and I am so overwhelmed at the thoughtfulness of those around me! Quite honestly, there were people I wasn’t quite crazy about that were kind beyond measures. I often have good intentions to do for others- I THINK about delivering a meal or a snack or treat- but so often get wrapped up in my own world and quickly forget. I have learned so much from those around me in recent weeks! Pay it forward!

  • Pip - I recently had shoulder surgery and while I was spending my night in the hospital my friends came over and cleaned my house..even my bathroom. I was both horrified that people saw the condition I’d left my house and bowled over that they would do such a nice thing for me. They also left a gift basket of “recovery” treats.

  • Amy - Love this post. 🙂 Thoughtful things others have done for me:

    snuck into my college apartment at 3am to post up encouraging notes collected from my girl friends; sent boxes of cookies and flowers when we had our baby; bought little gifts in foreign countries to send to us afterward; never made me feel unwelcome; sent random texts and song lyrics and emails my way; raved about a movie and then pretty much booted my husband and I out of the house to go watch it while she watched our baby, which was perfect bc I didn’t have the presence of mind to imagine or ask for a date night… (Ashley, this is a really good exercise in gratitude). I can’t wait to read the other comments.

  • Nicole C - My Dad heard my struggles to eat healthy the other day and showed up at work with a new blender for me. Melted my heart.

    I am like your friend, I do those little things for my friends and family all the time. It makes me happy to see them smile. Thanks for sharing your story, what a great friend you have!

  • Laura - I love that – a perfect reminder that the smallest of gestures can be signs of the biggest hearts.

  • Mish - Aw, love this post. Good friends are the best. I’m pretty sure you are just as good of a friend – we all have our seasons when we cannot give to our friends as much as we like. That’s why there is grace.

  • Jessica - One of my dearest friends kept my little guy today for about an hour when I called her unexpectedly right after carpool drop-off, so I could go to my kindergartener’s classroom and take pictures of her and her classmates reciting the nursery rhymes they had memorized…their first “performance”. She did this on her day off and while prepping for her son’s 5th birthday tomorrow. She was a ray of sunshine on my day!

  • Josephine - That’s a beautiful thing. You seem to have a rather awesome set of friends.

    Baking/cooking is my jig. If I want people to know I’m thinking of them, they get homebaked goods from me. I don’t do it nearly as often as I would like.

  • Alice - I am that friend! I’m running around crazy at work all week and brought my girlfriend a scone! I did stop to buy myself a latte, and she gets in later than I do, but I bought it and got into her office (by borrowing a master key) and left the surprise on her desk!

    I just wanted to make her day a little sweeter!

  • Jocelyne - Love this. This is the kind of friend I want to be too. It has been a very hard year for me when it comes to friends. In fact just this week I had a ‘friend’ tell me she didn’t appreciate the cookies I left on her door this past Monday (her hardest day of the week). It was very shocking to say the least. But your post reminds me that there are good friends/people out there. I guess I just need to keep looking …

  • Tammy - I have a friend who’s a very talented professional baker. A few days ago, I was telling her how much I adore macarons but never treat myself because they’re so expensive (understandable given how labour intensive they are). Today she was making a huge bunch of macarons for a wedding tomorrow, and she made some extras just for me. I was so shocked when she dropped them by this afternoon. I didn’t even know she made them for her work! I thought she only baked cakes!

  • AliceL - I think you have to let go of wanting to be a perfect friend, I think that seeing all that your friends give you already you must be NOW a pretty good friend… If you were a crappy self centered person you would not get all the support & love & special gifts from your friends… I think you already give tons to other people just by being youself & letting others love you just for who you are!!! You share your whole beautiful family & life with strangers, that is so very generous.
    I don’t know you from Adam & Eve, I live in Europe, miles & miles away from you, & I love you & your amazing family, you inspire me to be a better person everyday…
    I think that you are an amazing friend & I think that many many others also think that!!!
    Keep it up, no more no less.

  • Leanne - I think sometimes just being who you are is enough. We can’t always be the one that does make the extra stop, but the time we do will be the time it is perfect and needed by that person. God puts us where we need to be! Blessings to your friend for being there today for you xo

  • Alisa Biggs - I had so much fun on my birthday in doing 37 random acts of kindness to celebrate each year i have been alive. My girls went with me & was having fun & it taught them how to give without even knowing someone. Some people looked like u was crazy & some were very grateful.

  • weekends are for joy en masse » A Holy Experience - […] on the Weekend:  This read so encourages, yes? Couldn’t it change the whole weekend into amazing? {See […]

  • Annie - Ashley—-

    Ive known of your blog for quite sometime……since you posted your darling bedroom with the chicken wire….:)
    I haven’t followed many blogs in the last few months, but i clicked on yours last night and spent an hour crying and laughing and in total awh of your strength and goodness. What a cute little family!
    You are so blessed!
    I sure hoooope you don’t mind that I mentioned you in my blog post last night on my page. I just had too…lol
    I wish you and your family all the best in the WORLD!!!!

  • ellen patton - I never say “call me if you need anything”. I just do things for people. I have a friend who is a young widow and when she travels I give her “3 wishes” for things I will do while she’s gone (ex., clean her kitchen, water her plants, put her addresses on her computer, drop things at Goodwill, etc.). I once saw an old woman dragging her luggage up the stairs in the subway station in Boston. I ran by her on my way to work, got to the top of the stairs, and then ran back down and said, “LET ME HELP YOU.” She clearly needed help but didn’t have to ask for it. When we got to the top of the stairs she said, “God bless you!” It was one of the sweetest moments of my life.

  • Bethany - My best bud showed up at my work one day with a frappuccinco and some owl themed office supplies. We share your love of happy office supplies. Made my day, week, year!

  • Mindy - Hi Ashley ~
    I don’t know how to email you directly, so I will just post a comment even though it doesn’t have anything to do with this post.

    I’m not sure if you have ever come across this blog – but it is awesome!

    this post in particular might help in the future

    anyway – i love your blog. keep posting more pics of little one.

    take care

  • Nataliya - Gosh this is just so beautiful. Your friend is awesome but I’m sure you are too. Because she wouldn’t have done this for you, if you hadn’t been the kind of friend that she wants to keep:)

    I have been thinking about this a lot recently. When I had my daughter, my first priority was her and my husband as it should be, but I started neglecting my friendships more than I probably should’ve. I had stopped investing time in my friendships as much.

    Then early this year my dad passed away after a short but traumatic battle with cancer. When that happened, I was expecting a lot from my friends, I thought they’d be there every day, they’ll help me get through it. I was expecting a lot from them, and needless to say, I got hurt and disappointed.

    However later on in retrospect I realized, maybe I hadn’t been making them a priority in my life since becoming a mother, maybe I hadn’t shown them that they were still important to me. Maybe I hadn’t invested in my friendships enough. That was eye opening for me, and I want to be a better friend now. Because only when we spend good times together and make memories are we able to cry on our friends shoulders when something sad comes our way.

    Thanks for sharing this little reminder. We all need good friends!

  • kiley - I completely agree with your sentiments about becoming “that kind of friend.” We live about two hrs. from any immediate family, but we are so blessed to have “in-town, adopted grandparents.” Our beloved, Miss Libby, gives me a whole day off once a month while she cares for my four children. In recent months, she’s been helping out weekly on dr. appt. days while we anticipate the arrival of our fifth little one who could arrive at any time. Squeal!!! I can only pray that I’ll be the servant-hearted, Godly mentor to another young mom that she is to me. In the meantime, I often pray that my heart and eyes will be open to see other’s needs and have a desire and willingness to show them love.

  • Gena@BakeAllTheThings! - My mom taught me to be this kind of friend and it’s the friend I try to be. I enjoy giving little gifts, running needed errands, helping with mundane tasks, anything that helps bring a little joy, lift a bit of burden, soften a tragedy, encourage a little smile.

  • Jedidja - Amazing post! I will be such a woman as your friend!

  • Megan - My husband is deployed to Afghanistan for 9 months, and my mom and many others have been so amazing to us by doing big things and little things. I had my third son in the middle of this deployment, and my mom stayed a few MONTHS (my sweet dad, also sacrificing by not getting to be with my mom many miles away), to help us out during this time! Friends randomly come snag my kids, or bring us a meal. They have ALL taught me so much, and have shown me the way I want to be for others!!

  • Jen - That is lovely! I have a friend that lives far away, but knows that a certain time of year is particularly rought for my and she always manages to send me the most thoughtful card at the most perfect time. Unexpected joy.

  • Mary B. - Approximately one hour ago, the last of 5 couples left the party. The party was at our house for a dear friend who is battling cancer. We called this a “Life Party”. We served her favorite foods and had a custom made cake that said, “Celebrate Life”. We told story after story of times a 38 year friendship holds. We laughed, prayed, cried & sang. It was sweet fellowship , sweet friendship, and sweet worship.

  • Angie - My birthday was on the 21st and I was stuck at home as my little one just had lip surgery (cleft lip revision). Two friends stopped by with Starbucks gift cards and one brought a latte and cake pop. The next day we received an unexpected meal. I have wonderful, kind friends too. I am glad you are being taken care of!

  • Sarah (SophieBugsMom) - Friends are the best! Even better when they live in Target with us!!

    Glad you guys are settling in and getting used to being a family of 7!

    I was following you on instagram but somehow, your feed is no longer showing up… I believe you are following me, however, as of this past weekend. Is there a way to re-follow you? I can’t request it via the follow button.

  • Chantel - I love this. Great friends are so special! Thank you for the reminder to go above and beyond for my friends!!

  • Stephanie Charest - this gave me tears in my eyes. i want to be that kind of friend too. and it may sound weird, coming from a complete stranger…but i really like you. i think you are so lovely. and i’m very happy that your daughter is home.

  • Brooke - GREAT POST!!! this warms my heart to no end!! Great people do great things! 🙂

  • Beck - Such a beautiful reminder!

  • girlfriends | - […] want to be this kind of friend – […]

  • erin kirby - i linked back to this post on my blog with my own little story of an act of service + a free printable. 🙂

  • Erica - This post literally brought tears to my eyes because 1) I am lucky enough to have good friends, and 2) I totally sympathize with you wanting to be that kind of friend. But you know what? You must already be a great friend and not even know it because your friends care about for a reason. So don’t worry about what you aren’t doing as it seems you are already doing enough 🙂

  • Katy - It’s hard to be that type of friend…but I’m working on it. I think it ebbs and flows, too. When you need it, they’re there for you, and vice versa. You’ll have your chance to be that type of friend when it’s your turn.

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