Friends and Friendship

Forget Jerry Maguire!


She drove 25 miles to meet me for lunch, and somehow though that’s what we do here in the Midwest, it still made me feel treasured. Not a friend yet, we’d only met once when I was still unpacking my things and the snow still sneaked up on us some mornings. It was a Meet-Up group, six women walking on a sunny day telling our stories as only women do when they hike.


I’ll admit complete ignorance really. About this area of the country that I’ve only seen out the windows of airplanes as I crisscrossed from California to Maine and back. Being a lifetime coastal dweller, looking down I’d try to imagine what it must be like to live down there in that flat land only bordered by each other in wide open spaces that go on forever.

I think of the Dust Bowl, of Steinbeck and those election years when whoever lived there seemed to pick our next President.


I didn’t remember much about Gayle except how sweet she was and her beautiful shiny face that looked as if it had never seen makeup. Blue eyes given by the Swedes, they smiled at me when she came through the door. Seems she’d not been to my little town “in years”. Well before this Thai restaurant was on the River.


Right away she wanted to continue the conversation we’d had on the hiking trail. Fascinated by my work with people who are looking for love, she’d told me about her daughter, who at age 30 had given up. About being a widow for nine years, her husband a hard working man who was an alcoholic. It hadn’t really occurred to her that she might want to love again until that morning we met.


The Pad Thai came and I had to pace myself. All I wanted to do was savor it and stop myself from choking from shoveling it down. Gayle was still on her Spring Rolls.


“At first, I was so lonely and I wanted someone really badly but not any more…well, not like that, anyway”, she said. “I’m happy with my life. My kids are near me, I do things I love to do and I’m pretty happy most days with life.” Then she said something that really hit home…”I used to feel as if I had to have someone or I wouldn’t be happy. You know, it was kind of desperate feeling. Now, I feel like I’m OK being alone, but that having a companion would just add to my happiness.” I knew exactly what she meant and that it is a crossroads for many of us who have loved and lost someone, whether by death, divorce or wisdom that it wasn’t the right person for us. That growth from living the movie line, “You complete me.” to the sweetness of saying to someone new that we’re coming to love, “I’m happy you’re in my life. It’s so much more fun to do this with someone.”


This transition from needing someone to make us whole to wanting someone to add to our pretty darned OK life is not a straight line, nor is it easy at times. It takes time and a path that is unique for all of us. Some of us will need another go-round to find that place of serenity. That’s OK.


If you’re feeling like life is pretty darned good, that you’re happy most days and yet, feel that big space in your bed would sure be better with someone there, it might be time to gently move towards that. But remember, much like finding a job, you gotta be clear about what and who you’re looking for to make life richer and more fun. Today, just start opening to the possibility and I can help you find the way to love!


Your First  30-minute Session is On Me

Call me at 510-817-4242 or email me at  and let’s set it up!


Donna Bailey, MS

Coaching, Speaking, Writing and Expert in Dating and Relationships for Grown-ups

Donna’s Big Red Chair




Just Who Are you NOW?

When my babies were young, I was talking with my dearest friend, offering her what I thought was “wisdom” in a struggle she faced. I’m going to blame it on being too young to know better, but I thought unsolicited advice was what friends wanted, and Lord knows I’ve always had plenty of that to offer! Little did I know that advice is often laced with our own poison…judgment. 


The wisdom came anyway and before I could dot the “I”, she fired back, “You know, Donna, you have an image of me that you just won’t let go of. You won’t let me change or be different than who you think I am.” Angry, she got up and walked out the door. In my surprise and my guilt and shame for what I’d said, I still GOT IT. And, I never forgot it, though many many times in my life I have regressed and done it again and again.


Enjoying a lovely evening out this week with a delightful new friend we talked about  our desire to connect, have community and friends who show up and meet us halfway most of the time. She told me a story about a recent disappointment in a friendship very important in her life. The details aren’t important, but what she said took me back to what had happened over tea with that friend “back in the day”.  She said it so well…“Sometimes people won’t let us change. They only see us the way they always have.” 


I owned a tea room once in a little California seaside town. The “ladies who lunch” were often in their late 80’s and 90’s. I often asked them for their secret to life. It was always the same…“Keep moving, don’t sit down in front of a tv, learn something every day, and keep changing and growing.” One woman said, “When you stop growing, you’re dead!”


Are you growing and learning? If you’re reading this, you’re not dead yet! And, can you allow that friend of yours to grow and change, provided she or he is still alive? I hope you will open your eyes to how pigeon-holing yourself will limit the joy of change. I hope that you will allow others around you to change, and notice and celebrate it. And, most importantly, that you will listen carefully, aware of that deadly judgment, and ask questions before you write your own script about someone else.

Now, “Sally forth!” and Live, Love and Enjoy those changes! Take a risk today to see yourself as you are NOW!


Are you ready to look forward and find someone to love?

You’ve changed since your last relationship and when you learn who you are now, you’ll be able to know who you’d like to share this amazing chapter of your sweet life.

I’m honored to be your guide and when you’re ready, I offer a Complimentary Intake Session. Call me or email me.



Donna Bailey, MS

Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for Grown-ups

Donna’s Big Red Chair

There’s No Room for Judge Judy



It’s easy to judge from a distance. Like armchair coaching on a Sunday, we truly believe we know what the next move should be or should have been for one or both of them. Worst part is, we believe we are right!


Love and relationships are never a straight line. Each relationship, whether it lasts four months or forty years is like a fingerprint…as unique and complex as the two people who find themselves together. Why is it, then that people feel their advice and point of view is ever “One Size Fits All”?


I’m a believer that every couple has their “gig” and that nobody but the two of them can understand what that is. From the outside, it may look like a match made in hell. We may wonder what on Earth they see in each other, why they stay together or tolerate that kind of behavior. I’m here to tell you that only they can understand the reasons. It’s when our ego takes over even in the well-meaning name of love we can, without meaning to, damage our friendships.


The next time your friend shares a decision she/he has made about their relationship…to stay in it, go back to it, leave someone…unless you know they are in imminent physical danger or truly in an abusive relationship, please stop before you open your mouth and say to yourself, “I’m here to support my friend now. It’s not my job to tell them what to do, but simply to be there and love them as they take the next big risky step into an often dark room where outcomes are yet unseen.” Go ahead…feel your doubt, your anxiety and even your love for that friend who may have sat on your sofa weeping more than once. Commit yourself to being there the next time they need Kleenex, or perhaps need you to hold that bouquet while they place a ring on his finger. You see…always, more will be revealed and it may just surprise the hell out of you and maybe even them!


Trust that we all have a different path to loving someone. No path is the right one, simply the courageous act of loving another as best we can. Most of us have survived hairpin turns and crashes, yet resilient as we are, we rebound, heal and get right back up and do it again. We don’t die from heartbreak and feel more alive when we brush ourselves off and deign to do it yet again. Praise your friends for that courage! Show them that you will be there no matter the twists and turns and if you simply HAVE to say something, ask first if they want to hear what you have to say.


Hooray for the courage to love again and again. And, thank God for friends who will love us through it yet another time.


Are you ready to find love again and share those sunsets with another? No matter what your friends say, it’s worth what it takes to find someone to share this next amazing chapter of your life. Sunsets are more beautiful, travel more fun, and the holidays more beautiful than ever. I’m here to show you the way to love.

To Schedule Your Complimentary Session call me at 510-817-4242

or email me today at

Donna Bailey, MS

Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for Grown-ups

Donna’s Big Red Chair   510-827-4242



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