Yes, I do know how to spell. And, no, I’m not having a “senior moment.” But I did recently discover a fun list in a book (Friends of the Heart: Growing Friendships that Last Forever by Emilie Barnes and Donna Otto, p. 26) that connected friendship with the letter C. Just can’t resist sharing some of these C words with you.
Caring, Catalysts, Celebration, Cherished, Chocolate, Chumminess, Coffee,
Collegiality, Comfort, Commonality, Communication, Concern, Connection,
Consistency, Continuity, Contribution, Counsel, Courtesy
Perhaps one of those words jumped off the page at you. I landed on the word collegiality. Word-nerd that I am, I love the way it sounds as it rolls off my tongue. And I love that I had to look up what it means because I don’t use it every day. Here is what I discovered from yourdictionary.com:
- the sharing of authority among colleagues
- the principle that authority is shared by the pope and the bishops
- considerate and respectful conduct among colleagues or an atmosphere, relationship, etc. characterized by this
I can’t pretend to have the expertise to address the authority shared by the pope and bishops, but I do want to muse a bit about the definition of the word collegiality as it relates to friendship. I must be all wrapped up in C words because I immediately think of two of them that help clarify the meaning of collegiality by defining what it is NOT.
A collegial (considerate, respectful) relationship between friends seems to leave no room for another C word: Competitiveness.
Collegiality suggests, “Let’s build something, do something, together” rather than saying, “Let’s both do this and see who can do it faster and better.”
A collegial (considerate, respectful) relationship between friends also seems to leave no room for another C word: Control.
Collegiality suggests, “Let’s talk this through and come up with a solution we can both embrace” rather than saying, “You need to do this my way. It is the best way.”
Enough of the word-nerd musings. Let’s make this practical. What does collegiality look like in flesh-and-blood relationships?
I think back to my days of sitting at my mother’s bedside and watching her “700 friends” surround her in her last days on this earth. They did not need to prove who cared for her best. They did not demand to run the show and tell doctors and family what needed doing. They listened to Mom and tried to honor her desires. They listened to me and my brothers and tried to honor our wishes for mom in her dying days. They made dying a group effort—a beautiful, choreographed dance of sorts.
No wonder I’m drawn to that word: collegiality. I lived it.