I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship lately. And I’ve decided to put my thoughts down for you, my friends, to read.
friend: noun 1. one attached to another by affection or esteem. 2. one that is of the same nation, party or group. 3. a favored companion.
As a writer, I often turn to the dictionary for the root, or true definition, of a word, just to see if it’s the word I’m looking for. Does it feel right in my mouth when I say it? Does it really represent the emotion I’m trying to relay? According to Webster’s, to be a friend is to be a favored companion. Okay. Sure, that makes sense. But isn’t friendship so much more than that?
I’ve got friends all over the place—South Carolina, North Carolina, Louisiana, Maryland, Kansas, Virginia, California, Nevada.
Some of my friends are related to me, some of my friends are related to my husband, some of my friends aren’t related to us at all. I’ve got friends from elementary school, high school, college, and beyond.
I’ve got friends that I’ve known longer than my husband, who are solely mine. I’ve got friends who were friends with my husband before they ever knew me.
I’ve got friends from different backgrounds, different ethnicities, different religions, different histories. I’ve got married friends, single friends, divorced friends. Each and every one of them has something unique, special, wonderful to bring to the friendship table.
Naturally, I’d like to be surrounded by my friends all the time. But I don’t get to see many of you as often as I’d like. Some of you I talk to on the phone on a regular basis, some of you I only keep in touch with via facebook and email. Some of you I get to see occasionally, and that’s okay with me. Because I’ve learned over the years that I’d rather spend an hour with a real friend than have to suffer every day of the year with a faux friend just for the sake of having someone around.
“The deepest friendships have nothing to do with proximity; they aren’t based on how long we’ve known each other but on how well we love each other.” —Paige Williams, author
I’ve learned a lot of lessons about friendship over the years. The hardest was realizing that not all friendships are worth the energy they drain from you. I’ve mourned the loss of those friends, but always felt like I made the right decision. I’ve lost a few friendships along the way due to my own confusion and lack of understanding for the true Art of Friendship. Some of those I’m glad to say I’ve rekindled, and a few of those friendships are so special and priceless to me now–even more so because of the time we spent apart. (You know who you are!)
The most fulfilling lesson I’ve learned about friendship is that, with my true friends, I never have to wonder where we stand with one another. I can talk to you once a week, once a month, once a year and still know that I can tell you anything and know you’d never belittle me, judge me, think less of me, gossip about me, write me off as lost cause, or even use my childishness/selfishness/ pettiness/insecurity against me in any way. And in all honesty, over the years I’ve probably relied on some of you too heavily in my moments of vulnerability–for your honesty, your advice, your support and clarity in those moments But the balance is always restored. Reciprocity. What you put out into the universe comes back to you. I firmly believe that.
Friendship is about love. It’s about laughing together, learning together, supporting each other, and enjoying life together. It’s just as much about being there through the good times as it is the bad times. It’s about that shared bottle of wine, the occasional dinner party, the memories created. It’s about knowing when to listen, when to act, and when to lay low. Friendship is restorative, a foundation for happiness that, if paid attention to, can flourish in a way that is life-affirming.
“Life is partly what we make it, and partly what it is made by the friends we choose.” —Tennessee Williams
So thanks to each of you for being my friend, for teaching me what friendship truly means, and for helping me to become a better friend. Each one of you brings something very special to my life, and I’m grateful for each of you. Know that I send happy thoughts and good vibes your way each day, and that I look forward to any time we may spend together.
All my love,