I am grateful for my hard-won friends. It hasn't been easy to build such a strong network. Making friends gets harder as one gets older, plus many of us have had to figure out how to be a good friend through trial and error. I think my parents were part of a generation that tended to keep its personal relationships in-family. Anything that you needed emotional support for was too important to tell anyone you weren't related to. That kind of thinking didn't make for a good model for friendship.
But I've done it! Through careful effort and nurturing, I have some excellent friends. When I identify someone who seems like they might be a good friend, I ask them to coffee or lunch. If I have a dinner party coming up, I invite them there. If things go well, I don't wait more than a few weeks to follow up with another invitation. I never wait for the other person to make the first move and I don't wait for them to ask me back. If I haven't heard from them for weeks or months, I contact them with an invitation to get together. I always assume that if they've faded out on me, it's because they were too busy and need a reminder that I still like them. Of course, I can also take a hint if someone is really uninterested in being friends with me, but takes a good while for me to finally stop trying.
So maybe what I'm really grateful for is my perseverance and courage in solidifying friendships. I take the time and I let people know I want to stay in touch. I create social opportunities for us to see each other, such as my regular dinner parties. I'm grateful for all of it!