A dear friend of mine is in the process of opening a new business and I couldn’t be more excited for her! She has the education, skills, motivation, and gumption to be a successful entrepreneur. She also has a mountain of paperwork to get through. One chunk of that paperwork is a set of reference letters. I was proud to be asked to write one of those letters for her.
I’ll be honest, I left completing the letter until the night before – tonight. I had started writing the letter last week but each time I sat down to finish it I found myself rambling then questioning every line. I had so many wonderful thoughts about my friend going through my head I wasn’t sure how to fit them all into one letter.
This wasn’t my first reference letter writing experience. However, it was the first where I felt I knew the person as a co-worker and as a close friend. The personal understanding I felt led to a deeper sense of responsibility to get this letter just right.
After 6 days, several edits, many frustrated sighs, numerous pauses to give my dog belly rubs, and at least 8.5 plays of The Black Keys’ El Camino record, I finally finished the letter. After I e-mailed the letter to my friend I felt silly and guilty for having taken so long to write it. I should have realized sooner how fun it was to trace my relationship with this person whom I met as a co-worker, built a wonderful friendship with, and now maintain a friendship with even though we no longer work together.
Writing the letter reminded me of the experiences we had both professionally and personally that helped us build our friendship. I was reminded of how much I learned from her while we worked together. I was reminded of how fortunate I am to count such an outstanding person as my friend. Perhaps, we should write down the qualities we admire in our friends more often.
I know my friend will be successful in her business venture and I listed all the reasons why in my letter. The next time I’m asked to write a personal reference (and I hope there will be a next time) I won’t leave it until the last-minute. I’ll just remember how great it felt to put into words how amazing my friends are.